Manchester's only dedicated children's library is celebrating its first birthday by bringing two of its most borrowed books to life.
Z-arts children's library in Hulme, Manchester, launched last year with the pledge to put a library card in the hands of every local child. Its mission now well underway, the two favourite stories – both with a library theme – are becoming family theatre shows, one based on I Believe in Unicorns, by Michael Morpurgo, the other Luna Loves Library Day, a popular picture book from current Waterstones Children's Laureate Joseph Coelho. I Believe in Unicorns (October 14-15) follows the story of eight-year-old Tomas, who hates reading and school. His world is turned upside down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library. The performance is suitable for ages 6+ and audience members are invited to bring along a children’s book to form part of the stage set. At the end of the show children can swap their book for another one - so they will have a new story to take home.
Luna Loves Library Day The Musical (October 20-22, ages 3+) will afterwards resume its libraries tour across the country. The story was inspired by Joseph Coelho’s visits to libraries and observing first-hand their power to energise children and adults. It is set on a Saturday when Luna goes to the library with her dad to select books for the week ahead. Luna explores real and imaginary worlds through the books and learns how a library works.
Composer David Gibb said: “I really wanted to take the magic and quality of West End theatre and reproduce it for young audiences and families. In Luna, music and song are at the very centre of the characters and narrative.”
Coelho added: “I want our audiences to be moved by the live theatre experience and excited to visit their local library.”‘
The show's tour includes Tameside Library (October 24), Burnley Central Library (October 25), Darwen Library (October 26), St Helens Library (October 27-28), Bolton Librrary (November 1-2), Sale Library (November 3), Urmston Library (November 4).
The Z-arts children's library is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-4.30pm. A programme of free activities for preschoolers (which must be booked) runs every Tuesday and Wednesday morning during term time. The library is free to join and can be used by anyone with a Manchester library card.
More info and tickets here