Families can set sail on urban seascapes, go to war with fiendish grannies, get their rock on, enjoy a circus spectacular at The Spiegeltent and even do a spot of shopping during a fun-filled April school holidays at Arts Centre Melbourne.

“We are excited to finally be able to welcome children and families back to Arts Centre Melbourne. Throughout the pandemic, families have had to be incredibly resilient and manage a lot personally so it feels like a gift to finally give them the opportunity to reconnect with live performance and for children to be transported to a magical place through theatre. We are also really proud to be profiling Victorian performers and new works made specifically with COVID-19 safety regulations in place,”

said Mary Harvey, Arts Centre Melbourne Creative Producer, Families and Children.

Internationally renowned, Melbourne based company Polyglot Theatre presents Boats – a rollicking voyage for children 3 to 10 years of age and their families to navigate an urban seascape in a colourful vessel.

In this free event, large lightweight boats are moored on Art Centre Melbourne’s main lawn waiting for children’s imagination and energy to take them out on an adventure. Once aboard, the boats are propelled by a flurry of feet, with children working as a crew to find their own path and voyage across the high seas. As they journey, Polyglot artists float as castaways to be rescued or as mysterious elements of the urban ocean. Together they guide the boats to safe harbour ready for a new crew, and the next adventure.

Boats was inspired by the stories of children who have experienced journeys across the sea, as refugees from life-threatening situations, and plays with the idea of arrival at a strange land. This work is a joyous response to how children unerringly find the play in their surroundings, and can lead us all to new perspectives. Children are often forgotten in the huge events of the world and Boats places them firmly and with happy disruption, in urban spaces, to find their own imaginative adventures in the everyday,” said Sue Giles AM, Artistic Director and co-CEO, Polyglot Theatre.

Acclaimed comedian, writer, actor and TV host Alan Brough (Spicks and Specks) presents his world-premiere musical comedy, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. Based on his side-splitting book, this is the story of a constantly anxious 12-year-old boy named Charlie Duncan who only ever wanted a simple paper round. Instead, he uncovers a league of evil grannies plotting to set up a ‘Granny State’ where everyone will be forced to wear brown cardigans, go to bed early and where children would not exist! The stakes are high and it’s up to Charlie and his adventurous best friend Hils to go to war with the fiendish grannies to stop them from taking over the world.

Brough has teamed up with musician/composer Kit Warhurst (Rocket Science) and director/co-writer Sarah Kriegler (Lemony S Puppet Theatre) to create this rampaging musical comedy for children featuring shadow puppetry, live music and some really stinky farts.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival invites families to roll up, roll up to The Spiegeltent Big Top for a trove of comedic treasures including Comedy Club For Kids, The Dumtectives in Cirque Noir, CIRCUS, Don’t Mess with the Dummies whilst The Listies’ Rich and Matt make a return to Arts Centre Melbourne with a season in the Fairfax Studio of ROFLSHALBOWCO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing So Hard A Little Bit Of Wee Comes Out!).

Music lovers of all ages can immerse themselves in digital experiences, watch rare archival footage and see iconic music objects up close at the Australian Music Vault. The free exhibition is open daily. Then, after all that action, young and old alike can enjoy a stroll through the Sunday Market with its unique, handmade goods ranging from arts and crafts to freshly made delicacies on offer.

What’s On at the Arts Centre Melbourne

Arts Centre Melbourne presents Polyglot Theatre’s Boats 9 – 17 April 2021 | Arts Centre Melbourne Main Lawn
FREE – Recommended for children aged 3-10

Arts Centre Melbourne presents Charlie and the War Against the Grannies
Based on the book by Alan Brough – A play by Alan Brough with Sarah Kriegler Commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne – 14 – 24 April 2021 | Playhouse – Duration: 55 minutes – Recommended for children aged 5

Showmen Productions presents CIRCUS
3 – 18 April | The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt

Melbourne International Comedy Festival presents Comedy Club for Kids
3 – 18 April | The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt

The Listies
ROFLSHALBOWCO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing So Hard A Little Bit Of Wee Comes Out!)
3 – 18 April | Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne

Dummies Corp presents Don’t Mess with the Dummies
3 – 18 April | The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt

Dummies Corp presents The Dumtectives in Cirque Noir
6 – 18 April | The Famous Spiegeltent, Arts Centre Melbourne forecourt

Australian Music Vault
Open daily 10am – 5pm | Arts Centre Melbourne Theatres Building

Sunday Markets Every Sunday
10am – 4pm | St Kilda Road between Hamer Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne Theatres Building