Spring school holiday guide: what's on for kids

Leigh Hobbs' humorous tale of a wicked, wild and wonderful girl comes alive in <i>Horrible Harriet</i>, the stage version.
Leigh Hobbs' humorous tale of a wicked, wild and wonderful girl comes alive in Horrible Harriet, the stage version. Photo: Supplied

PERFORMANCE

Arts Centre Melbourne shows

Junk: Step back in time to 1940s rural Australia to meet the play-loving kids who live behind a junk yard in Flying Fruit Fly Circus' new show. An inventive exploration of the changing world of childhood set in a time before kids had access to television, computers and expensive toys. Ages 6+. Sept 22, 6pm; Sept 23, 2pm & 6pm. $26-$39

Loop: Children can contribute to a new dance work especially for kids, inspired by kids, with Melbourne choreographer Nat Cursio. After two workshops, Cursio and her team of four professional dancers put the finishing choreographic touches on the joyful and sensory performance, bringing the children's movements to life. For ages 2-8.

Budding golfers can take part in the Victorian U16 Junior Golf Classic.
Budding golfers can take part in the Victorian U16 Junior Golf Classic.  

Workshops: Sept 25 & 26 (ages 2-5,10.30am; ages 5-8, 12pm; $18, adult free). Performances: Sept 29,1.30pm and Oct 1: 10.30am, 12.30pm & 3.30pm. $22 all tickets.

Horrible Harriet: Leigh Hobbs' humorous tale of a wicked, wild and wonderful girl is brought to life. Families are invited to join Harriet's search for identity and friendship, with songs, humour and fun. For ages 3-8. Sept 27-30, varied times. $26-$39.

The above shows at Arts Centre Melbourne, St Kilda Road. 1300 182 183, artscentremelbourne.com.au

Pop-up Globe: Experience Shakespeare performed in a full-scale temporary working replica of one of the greatest theatres in history – the Globe. This travelling festival presents four critically acclaimed productions: the comedy As You Like It, the rom-com Much Ado About Nothing, psychological thriller Othello and the bloody war epic Henry V. All shows 13+. Sept 21-Nov 12, varied times. Shakespeare Gardens, adjacent to Sidney Myer Music Bowl, King's Domain. Tickets from $20. popupglobe.com.au

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: The Australian Ballet presents Christopher Wheeldon's spectacular ballet, which translates the wit and charm of the original tale by Lewis Carroll into a world of colour, fun and fantasy. To Sept 30. Arts Centre Melbourne. $92-$256. 1300 369 741, australianballet.com.au

Teeny Tiny Stevies: Join the children's alt-folk duo and sing along to songs all about the ups and downs of being a little kid. Sept 28, 11am. Recital Centre, Southbank. $20. 9699 3333, melbournerecital.com.au

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Around the World in 80 Days: Three cast members portray a cast of thousands in this madcap adaptation of Jules Verne's globetrotting classic, bringing to life sea storms, police chases and even elephant rides. Suits ages 7+. Sept 22, 8pm. Frankston Arts Centre. $27-$55. 9784 1060

Sleeping Beauty: A traditional panto by long-running Tivoli Children's Theatre, includes fairy bread. For ages 3–11. 25 Sept–7 Oct, 10.30am & 1.30pm Mon–Sat. St John's Church Hall, 5 Finch St, Malvern East. $20. 0428 397 767, tivolitheatre.com.au

MELBOURNE FESTIVAL

Tanderrum: This ceremony of the five clans of the Central Kulin Nation officially opens the Melbourne Festival, and is a Welcome to Country for local and international artists and audiences. Facilitated by Ilbijerri Theatre Company. All ages. Oct 4, 6.30pm. Federation Square, city. Free.

<i>Fanaticus</i> is a collision of contemporary performance and street basketball.
Fanaticus is a collision of contemporary performance and street basketball.  

House of Mirrors: No doorway, corridor or wall can be trusted in this labyrinth of looking glass – lose yourself inside a mirror with a thousand faces. Suits all ages. Oct 5-8, 10am-10pm; Oct 9-22, Mon-Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat & Sun 10am-10pm. Arts Centre Melbourne, Forecourt. $10.

Dark Circus: Paper, ink, sand and silhouettes burst to life in this riotous work for children and adults. French duo Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet draw and play music as they build a big-top universe live, their striking creations projected onto a large screen. For ages 8+. Oct 5-9, Thu-Mon 6pm, Fri 1pm, Sat & Sun 2pm. Malthouse, Southbank. $49/$39

Progress-The Game of Leaders: Like a giant round of Jenga with Western civilisation as the stakes, this installation invites you to take on the role of building a country. What blocks will you favour: economic progress or military spending? Fun for the kids and a little more interesting for the adults. Oct 4-15, always open. MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, St Kilda Road. Free.

Sharon Millerchip, left, Ian Stenlake and Wayne Scott Kermonde in <i>Around the World in 80 Days</i>.
Sharon Millerchip, left, Ian Stenlake and Wayne Scott Kermonde in Around the World in 80 DaysPhoto: Michael Brasser

MELBOURNE FRINGE

Details at melbournefringe.com.au or 9660 9666, unless noted otherwise. See website for the full range of Fringe shows for children, teens and families.

Kids Club: Transforms ArtPlay into an oasis of workshops, circuses, shows and activities – a safe, creative space where every child can be themselves. It's all completely free and guaranteed to be fabulous. Sept 27-Oct 1. ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, city. Check website for schedule.

Express Yourself: Join Double Denim for a feminist party for girls, boys and everyone who is neither, either, both or inbetween. Sept 28. ArtPlay. Free.

<i>Trash Test Dummies</i> share their slapstick comedy and circus routines.
Trash Test Dummies share their slapstick comedy and circus routines.  Photo: annalisag@pacific.net.au

Kooky Spooks: Step inside the playful and imaginative world of Japanese Butoh. With a smiling shaman as your guide, you'll jump headfirst into a world of transformation, unleashing your inner animal. Sept 27. ArtPlay. Free.

The Fountain of Youth: With Deep Soulful Sweats as your ambassadors, prepare for a unique event which is a little bit yoga, a little bit Jane Fonda, a little bit interpretive dance, a little bit family rave. Sept 30. ArtPlay. Free.

Starting School: A musical education from Andrew McClelland – a dance marathon for kids and adults. Expect smash hits from the Smiths, the Beatles, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, the Supremes, Prince and more. Sept 29, 2pm. ArtPlay. Free.

<i>Much Ado About Nothing</i> is one of the productions at the Pop-up Globe at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Much Ado About Nothing is one of the productions at the Pop-up Globe at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.  

Dinosaur Time Machine: Full of up-to-date science and fun dinosaur facts, this event incorporates circus, puppetry and imaginative play in a unique educational theatrical production, for ages 3-9 years. Sept 23-Oct 1. Wonderland Spiegeltent, Docklands. $24.

Trash Test Dummies: This award-winning, slapstick comedy, circus routine takes the household wheelie bin to new heights, and delivers a dump-truck full of hilarity. Sept 23-30. Meat Market, North Melbourne. $25.

Le Petit Circus: Acrobatics, juggling, hula-hoops, trapeze and stacks of silliness combine in the perfect show for children aged 3+. Sept 27-30 , 10.30am, Sept 30, 2pm. Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park, $23.

<i>Junk</i> is Flying Fruit Fly Circus' new show.
Junk is Flying Fruit Fly Circus' new show.  Photo: Glenn Daniels

Spookmaster: Mixing performance, puppetry and digital projection, Mark Penzak enacts a humorous, touching and enjoyably spooky story about a boy who confronts the Spookmaster in his dreams and learns to master his fears. For ages 7+. Sept 23, 11am; Sept 26-30, 12pm. Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park. $23/$18.

The Man in the Mail: Meet the man who lives in a box and travels the world by mail. Inspired by the outlandish stories of science fiction writer Jules Verne, this show is a mash-up of steampunk and circus. Family friendly. Sept 26-30, 7.45pm. Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park. $28/$24.

Escape From Trash Mountain: Trash Puppets presents a beautiful tale as the puppet hero Bright Eyes escapes the dreaded landfill in search of a better life. Sept 26-30 , 10.15am. Gasworks Theatre, Albert Park. $15 (all tickets include access to a free puppet-making workshop, Sept 30, 11.30am).

I Hate Children, Children's show: Edinburgh Fringe's top-rated kids' show is back with kids the stars, alongside the magicians, creating fun for the family as every child is invited to help create the magic. Sept 16, 23 & 30 , 3pm. The Melba Spiegeltent, Johnston St, Collingwood. $20.

Scott's BMX Trick Bike Show: Scott Hone's story of his first BMX bike and his life touring the world doing BMX tricks on stage with Circus Oz and encouraging kids to try new things. Suits ages 5+. Sept 25-28. Meat Market, North Melbourne. $24.

Fanaticus: A wild and playful public collision of contemporary performance and street basketball. Rawcus transform QVs into a stadium, complete with a pop-up basketball court, DJ and half-time entertainment. Ball till you fall. Sept 23, 2pm & 5pm. QV Square, cnr Swanston & Lonsdale Sts, Melbourne. Free, bookings essential.

WouldMan: An original, funny and dynamic one-man theatre show for all ages from Justin Buchta. Sept 26-28 , 11am & 2pm. The National Theatre, St Kilda. $20.

OUT, ABOUT & ACTIVE

Royal Melbourne Show: Animals galore, farmhouse precinct, animal nursery, live stage shows, demos, freestyle motocross stunt show, plus carnival rides, pavilions, show-bags and a nightly fireworks display. Suits all ages. Sept 23-Oct 3, 9.30am–9pm. Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale. $40/$26, child 5-14 $20, child 4 years and under free. 1300 656 547, royalshow.com.au

The Footy Festival: Head down to Yarra Park in the lead-up to Grand Final day to immerse yourself in the game. Includes a kids' zone including AFL Auskick clinics, an AFL inflatable obstacle course, food trucks, the Grand Final Eve concert (Sept 29, from 5pm) and big screens to watch the Grand Final. Sept 27-30. Outside the MCG, Yarra Park, Jolimont. Free. afl.com.au/footy-festival

Tall Ship Enterprize: Sail on a replica of the ship that brought the first white settlers to Melbourne in 1835. Options include a sleep-on-board overnight sail to Mornington (ages 13+, Oct 6 $175/$125), one-hour daytime sails (Oct 7 & 8, $20-$35) or a four-hour evening sail with dinner (Oct 8, $60-$105). 9621 1294, enterprize.org.au

The Bellarine Railway: Join Benito the Pirate and his sidekick on a journey with circus stunts, games and a treasure hunt (Sept 26 & Oct 3). Or take part in Dan's magic show and workshop, where audience participation and storytelling are woven into the magic (Sept 28 & Oct 5). For ages 2-11. 11am train departure from Queenscliff Station to Drysdale (two hours return). $36/$26/$6 (1-3 years), family $95. 5258 2069, bellarinerailway.com.au

Silvers Circus: Family entertainment includes the wheel of steel, tight-wire, foot-juggling, illusionists, and the globe of death. Sept 20-Oct 15, varied times. Corner of Wattle & Rosamond Roads, Maidstone. $20-$45. 136 100, silverscircus.com.au

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium: Get up close with the sea creatures for an unforgettable holiday experience such as Ocean Rangers (ages 7-12, $89) or Aquarist for a Day (ages 12-18, $149). Sept 23-Oct 6, check program dates online. Sea life Melbourne Aquarium, King St, Melbourne. 1800 026 576, melbourneaquarium.com.au

Australian Sports Camps: Three-day programs in AFL football, basketball, cricket, hockey, netball, soccer, tennis and rock-climbing (three-day clinic, $160) with quality coaching offered across many Melbourne metro locations. Ages 6-16. Sept 25-Oct 6, 9am-3pm, dates/clinics vary depending on locations. $295. 1300 914 368, asc.camp/age

Shaun Brown's Cricket Coaching: Two-day clinics for boys and girls of all abilities, with ex-players such as Merv Hughes and Rob Quiney coaching, for ages 7-16. Sept 27-Oct 6, 9am-3pm. Kew, Kensington, Thomastown, Brighton and Ringwood. $139. 9465 6166, cricketcoaching.com.au

Sportwise & Soccerwise: Multisport half or full-day programs include cricket, AFL football, basketball, soccer and more, while the Soccerwise program focuses on soccer, for any fitness level or ability. Ages 4-12. Sept 25-Oct 6, full program online. Caulfield South and Hawthorn East. $45/$90 half/full day. 9568 5455, sportwise.com.au or soccerwise.com.au

Victorian U16 Junior Golf Classic: Conducted over 18-holes, for ages 6-15. Oct 6, 9am-12.30pm. Australian Pitch'n'Putt, Mulgrave. $20. Online entry only, golfvic.org.au/u16

Skate, scooter & BMX: One-hour lessons at YMCA parks for beginners to advanced, from ages 4+. Riverslide Skate Park, Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne, (11am-3.30pm; 9663 0495); Frankston Skate Park, (1pm-5pm, 9769 6579); Junction Skate & BMX Park, Hawthorn East, (11am-4pm, 0459 988 125). Sept 23-Oct 8. $18.90pp in a group/$51 private lesson. Bookings essential. skatepark.ymca.org.au

Circus: Choose a holiday workshop from any one of these accredited venues: National Institute Circus Arts (nica.com.au/short-courses.php), Circus Oz (circusoz.com/classes/timetables), Little Devils Circus (littledevilscircus.com.au), Westside Circus (westsidecircus.org.au), Circus Spot (thecircusspot.com.au) or Skylark Sports (skylarksports.com.au).

EXHIBITIONS, MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Melbourne Museum: Visit the touring exhibition Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Power (to Oct 15, $14/$28). Become an ant by creating your own special antennae (11am-3pm daily); then wear your antennae and be a bug with Polyglot Theatre's free interactive roving performance of Ants (Sun-Fri, 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm & 2.30pm). Sept 23-Oct 8, 10am-5pm daily. Nicholson St, Carlton. $14, child/conc free. 131 102, museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum

Scienceworks: Be boggled by the free 20-minute show Trick of the Light, filled with illusions and illuminations (12pm & 2pm daily); or try your hand at manoeuvring one of the museum's Sphero robots in the free five-minute activity Ready Steady Rollbot (1pm-3pm daily). Sept 23-Oct 8. Booker St, Spotswood. $14, child/conc free (extra for Planetarium & Lightning Room shows). 131 102, museumvictoria.com.au/Scienceworks

Immigration Museum: Join in the fun of Happy Happy Joy Joy and celebrate the second-biggest event on the Asian calendar (Moon Festival) with specialty workshops and the current exhibition Chinese Fortunes. Book your family into a 90-minute program packed with storytelling, craft and energetic workouts, for ages 4-12. Sept 26, 27, 28 or Oct 3, 4, 5 , 10.30am & 1pm. 400 Flinders St, Melbourne. $8/$14. 131 102, museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum

NGV International: Reptiles, marsupials, and bugs will be live in the Great Hall for children to draw and to find out about their lives and habitats during this program (Sept 25-29, 10am-1pm, free). Visit Fiona Hall: Uneasy Seasons, a large-scale interactive exhibition for teenagers and young children inviting them to consider the significance of the environment and the changing seasons (all ages, to Oct 8, free). Teens have exclusive access to The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture and Hokusai exhibitions, as well as art-making workshops, dance performances and a live DJ at the teens only Art Party (Oct 7, 6pm-9.30pm, $18, ages 13-17 only). Creative teens can take part in For the Love of Paint class and develop their painting skills with artist Nic Plowman (Oct 3, 4, 5, 10.30am, $20, ages 13-17). 10am-5pm daily. St Kilda Rd, Southbank. Free. 8620 2222, ngv.vic.gov.au

Heide Museum of Modern Art: Two-hour, age-appropriate, artist-led workshops in sock puppetry, abstract painting, wall sculptures, flag-making, fabric printing and more (Sept 26-Oct 6, ages 5-12, $35). Templestowe Rd, Bulleen. 9850 1500, heide.com.au

Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman. Take an extraordinary trip from sketches and models through to elaborate sets as these beloved Aardman characters take shape on screen. To Oct 29, 10am-5pm daily. ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne. $24/$20/$15, family $65. 8663 2200, acmi.net.au

WORKSHOPS & ACTIVITIES

Family Sundays: ACMI hosts free monthly family days on the first Sunday of every month, a themed day of drop-in sessions and activities. The October session is Journey to Outer Space – accept an intergalactic mission, take a moonwalk on the green screen to explore and conquer new planets. Oct 1, 11am-4pm. ACMI, Fed Square, Melbourne. Free. acmi.net.au/family-Sundays

ACMI Holidays: ACMI's excellent program offers films (Disneynature Festival, Studio Ghibli film season and Aardman films), virtual reality experiences, creative workshops and family days covering movie-making, claymation, Lego robotics, Minecraft movies, YouTube, coding, virtual reality worlds, green screen effects and more. Sept 23-Oct 8, check online for dates, sessions, age suitability and costs. ACMI, Fed Square. 8663 2583, acmi.net.au/families

The Channel: Take a crash course in comedy from a professional comedian, ages 10-12 or 13-16 (Sept 25, $20); uncover the mysteries of magic with a magic workshop, ages 10–16 (Oct 2 & 4, $24); create a song and make a music video in Instant or Ultimate Rockstar, ages 8-14 (Sept 25 or Oct 4, $22/$24). Arts Centre Melbourne, The Channel, River Terrace. 1300 182 183, artscentremelbourne.com.au

Stage Left: Act, sing, dance and put on a show, all in one week. Five full days for ages 8-16, $405; five half-days for ages 4-7, $195. Oct 2-6, Malvern East. 1300 369 443, stageleft.com.au

Music Theatre Boot Camp: Five-day music theatre program with an emphasis on confidence building and team work, suits ages 6-13. Sept 25-29 & Oct 2-6, 9.30am-3pm Mon-Fri. Carlton Scout Hall, Carlton. $400. musictheatrebootcamp.com.au

A3 – Australian Arts Alive: Two-day program that includes singing, dance and drama, suits ages 5-14. Oct 4 & 5, 9.30am-4.30pm. Genazzano College, Kew. $175. 1800 338 142, aspagroup.com.au/a3

Australian Shakespeare Company: Young performers build acting, improvisation, script, performance and directing skills, culminating in a show for family and friends. For ages 8-12 (Sept 25-28, $330) and ages 13-17 (Oct 2-7, $450). Athenaeum Theatre, Collins St, Melbourne. 8676 7511, shakespeareaustralia.com.au

National Institute of Dramatic Arts: NIDA offers introductory through to advanced courses for children and young people (ages 4-17) in disciplines including creative play, drama, acting on screen, music theatre, singing, acting, public speaking and more. Sept 25-Oct 8. Wesley College, St Kilda Rd, Melbourne & NIDA, Sturt St, Southbank. $265-$540. open.nida.edu.au/holiday-classes

PrimeSCI! Science: Hands-on, one-hour science activities and experiments, for ages 4-14. 25–28 Sept. KIOSC Discovery Centre, Swinburne, Stud Rd, Wantirna. $20 per session. 9210 1969, swinburne.edu.au/primesci

Lego: One-hour appropriate hands-on LEGO building sessions using gears, pulleys, wheels and axles to build machines, for ages 4+. Sept 23-Oct 6. LEGO Education Centre, Docklands. $5 per person. 9602 1116, mooreed.com.au

Gasworks Arts Park: Age-appropriate workshops include dance like Bruno Mars' 24K Magic or Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling, sword-fighting, African drumming, paper planes, circus, junior chef, copper smithing, tutu making and more. Ages 3-15, most workshops are all abilities, check directly. Sept 28-Oct 6. Albert Park. $20-$28. 8606 4200, gasworks.org.au

ArtPlay: Sessions include exploring an underwater landscape created from recycled plastic; weave a giant nest for Bunjil; jungle jam with rainbow families; surviving scary musical adventures. Ages 3+. Sept 23-Oct 8, varied dates & times. ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne. Free-$16 per session. 9664 7900, artplay.com.au

Footscray Community Arts Centre: Choose from a four-day theatre intensive for ages 6-12 (Oct 2-5, 10am-3pm, $300/$230) or Extreme Arts, three days of tasters including circus, visual arts and dance for ages 6-12 (Sept 26-28, 10am-3pm, $210/$100 three days/single day, conc. available). Footscray. 9362 8888, footscrayarts.com

Box Hill Community Arts Centre: Activities include clay sculpting, stencil art, dance, printmaking, musical theatre, ukulele for kids, weaving, family days and more. Ages 5-12+. Sept 25-Oct 6. $10-$93. 470 Station St, Box Hill. 9895 8888, bhcac.com.au

Incinerator Gallery: Artist-led workshops include performance art and storytelling, colour mixing, animation and painting. Ages 4-12. Sept 25-28. Moonee Ponds. $17.50 per session. 8325 1750, incineratorgallery.com.au