Family Offer

This year our area for really little ones and our offer for those only slightly bigger will both be inspired by two very important birthdays – Beatrix Potter’s 150th and Roald Dahl’s 100th. Whether young in years or young at heart, come and join us for fun and frolics in Canterbury’s Secret Garden.

The Burrow

Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were
                                                   and Peter

They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree until one day they heard a rumour that there was a beautiful Secret Garden right at the heart of the city. A garden with a river that was home to eels and lots of fish and a meadow full of cowslips and rare flowers. Peter heard that once a year these gardens ring with sound of children’s voices as they gather in the gardens to enjoy storytellers, performances, music and poetry – he knew he just had to go!

Pop in and meet Peter, his family and friends at any point across the weekend. They would love to show you around their new home where there will be all sorts of fun activities for little bunnies.

Little Ones do please come to the festival wearing your best bunny ears & fluffiest tails! 

Don’t forget to preen your ears and bush up your tail because little treats await those who come dressed up as the sweetest of bunnies. 

Twice each day across the 7th & 8th there will be a performance of the Tale of Peter Rabbit. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is produced & directed by Precious Hunter Smith 

Meet Peter, his family & friends HERE

Get tips on making Bunny Ears HERE

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The Most Unlikely of Places

From Dream Jars to Golden Tickets, from Dirty Beasts to Revolting Rhymes, Roald Dahl captures the imagination of those young and old across the world. To celebrate his very special birthday we are creating an area inspired by his books. 

Instead of replicating his stories we have asked young people from across the world to draw inspiration from his stories but to dream up their own characters and these have inspired the Family Area at Wise Words.  

Come and listen to the tallest tales, create the smallest of mini-beasts, dream up your own Revolting Rhymes or create your own peach lantern for our Parade of the Giant Peaches. There will be activities across the day (some ticketed & others free) that will surprise, delight & entertain!

Join us in The Most Unlikely of Places to conjure up characters and dream up worlds of which Roald Dahl would be proud! 


Lantern Making | 30th April & 1st May | 5 + | £3.00 | 10:00am till 4:00pm

Inspired by James and the Giant Peach, this year we are making beautiful globe lanterns from balloons and papermache. Come and make your lantern throughout the festival and then join in our Lantern Parades.

Tickets: This is a drop in workshop – just pop along with pennies on the day.

Wheels on Debussy | 30th April, 1:00pm | Any age | £4.00

The Wheels on Debussy provides a world class classical music experience for parents and their children in a beautiful and relaxed environment. 

Internationally acclaimed solo cellist and singer, Matthew Sharp will fill each little heart with wonder and delight.

This is a wonderful opportunity for young children to experience world class music without the need to sit still and be totally quiet.  Children are welcome to crawl about, dance and singalong to the music.

Tickets: for children and accompanying adults £4 each

Shake Rattle and Roll | Drumming workshop for families | 30th April, 2:00pm-3:00pm | Any age | £3.00

Shaking and banging and crashing and jingling. All the things those little musical people love to do best. Come and make some sweet (or not so sweet) music with the brilliant musician and percussionist Kevin Richardson.

Tickets: £3 per child (accompanying adult does not need a ticket)

A Planet where Puppets speak in Ridiculous Riddles and Rhymes | 30th April, 3:00pm-3:45pm | 6 years old and up | £3.00

The most curious puppets have landed on Earth from a faraway planet where they only speak in Rhyme!

Listen and watch one of these curious puppets share a Ridiculous or even Revolting Roald Dahl Rhyme and then lets work together to create our own rhyming puppet show!

Most Suitable For ages 6+

Every little person must bring at least one big person because mummies and daddies will get to relax and enjoy being the audience for the final show.

Tickets: £3 per child (accompanying adult goes free)

May Day Music and Dancing for families | 1st May, 10:00am-11:00am | Any age  | FREE

Incredible folk musicians Larry Klatzko and Richard Dray will take us around the world in eighty notes introducing us to songs from Ireland, Eastern Europe and further afield. So put on your dancing shoes and join us for a fun morning of music and dancing!

All ages and abilities welcome! Absolutely no experience needed.

Tickets: No need to book in advance, just turn up and enjoy on the day!

May Day Crown Making Workshop | 1st May, 12:00pm-2:00pm | All Ages | £4.00

Come and join our May Day celebrations by creating the most stunning floral May Day Crowns for girls and boys.

Wear your crowns with pride, take them home and before you go pose for a photo in front of some of our beautifully decorated frames.

Tickets: No need to book in advance, just turn up and enjoy on the day!

Good Vibrations | Music Instrument Making | 1st May, 3:00pm-5:00pm | 7+ | £4.00 

Make your own instrument and play with sound in this experimental, ingenious family friendly workshop where you get to blow your own trumpet and then take it home too.

Led by our very own soundsmith Peter Cook

Tickets: £4 per child (accompanying adult does not need a ticket)

TOMMY FOGGO – SUPERHERO | A MUSIC SHOW FOR FAMILIES | 1st May, 2:00pm-3:00pm | Any age | £4.00

Join Tommy Foggo and Destino as they recruit a gang of young helpers to travel with them through time and space and a sea of fire to find the Lost Queen of Atlantis – and save her people from the giant, venomous and cold blooded Kraken of the Deep.

Brought to you by award-winning composer and writer Stephen Deazley and Martin Riley and international cellist, singer and actor, Matthew Sharp.

‘virtuoso of the arts’ The Times.

“As though Tom Waits and Stephen Sondheim had come together with Roald Dahl. Deazley is quite simply a visionary”. The Herald

Tickets: £4 per person 

TALES WOVEN FROM WOODSMOKE | 1st May, 7:15pm-8:15pm | Any age | FREE

 Come and join Wide Eyed Theater for Wondrous tales around the campfire. 

We may even have marshmallows!

Booking: This event is free, just come and enjoy!

This event is followed by the Lantern Parade

A Magical Lantern Parade | 1st May, 8:30pm-9:00pm | Any age | FREE


Collect your lanterns and light up the Secret Gardens as you wind through the meadow, across the river and then back home to bed and sweet sweet dreams.

This is an event that will stay in your little one’s memory and in your heart forever.

The Lantern Parade has brought a tear to the eye of many a parent!

The Tale of Peter Rabbit 7th & 8th May | Aimed at children between the ages of 3 – 6 years | Free

Peter is a cheeky Rabbit who knows that Mr McGregor’s garden is fraught with danger. But who could resist those scrumptious vegetables?

Performances at: 

Saturday: 12:00 & 15:00

Sunday: 11:00 & 15:30

No need to book, just turn up and enjoy!

Stories on the River | 7th May, 10:00am-4:00pm (boats leave at every hour from Waterlane | Any age | £5.00

Float downstream and let the babbling river and cooing moorhens become the soundscape to a world of stories. From folktales and wondertales to myths and legends, Emily Hennessey weaves a new set of stories through the reeds with every journey. 

All ages welcome. 

Boats Leave from Waterlane each hour at: from 10am

Booking essential as these get booked up very quickly.


A John Siddique performance’s for children are a whirl of sound, musicality and joy. leave your ideas of poetry behind and bring your children and your inner child for a tour de force of ideas, inspiration and love all wrapped up in poetic explosions of colour. This performance is aimed at children 7-13, but anyone with a beating heart is welcome.

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Family Offer
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Family Offer
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Come and join Emily Hennessey for tall tales woven from wondrous woodsmoke, seated around a campfire. We may even have marshmallows!

Booking: This event is free, just come and enjoy!



A magical Lantern Parade | 8th May, 8:30pm-9:00pm | Any age | FREE

The Lantern Parade has brought a tear to the eye of many a parent!

Collect your lanterns and light up the Secret Gardens as you wind through the meadow, across the river and then back home to bed and sweet sweet dreams.

This is an event that will stay in your little one’s memory 

THE GIRL AND THE GIRAFFE | 8th May, 10:00am-11:00am & 14:00 - 15:00 | 3-6 years old | £4.00

Half Moon presents | The Girl and the Giraffe | A Floods of Ink production for children aged 3-6

One day whilst Girl is playing in her garden, she spots something peculiar on the other side of the fence. Climbing up as high as she can to get a better view, she is surprised when she comes face to face with… Giraffe!

As their friendship grows, Girl discovers that Giraffe isn’t very well. She tries everything she can to make him feel a bit better; putting on bandages, making a cup of tea, and even baking a truly magnificent cake, but she doesn’t get it quite right. Girl soon realises that Giraffe doesn’t need a plaster for a graze on his arm or
a scratch on his knee. Giraffe is sad. Sometimes we need a different kind of plaster for the things you can’t always see.

Charming puppetry, an enchanting soundscape and beautiful storytelling combine in this sensitive show about wellbeing and friendship, told from a child’s perspective.

Tickets for both children and accompanying adults are £4 each

JOIN THE PERFORMERS FROM THE GIRL AND THE GIRAFFE FOR A CREATIVE STORYTELLING WORKSHOP | 8th May, 12:00pm-1:00pm | 3-6 years old | £3.00 per child (Adults go FREE)


Join the performers from Girl and the Giraffe in a fun, interactive creative storytelling workshop. A chance to meet the Giraffe, play some games with Girl, and act out some stories of your own.

Most suitable for children aged between 3 – 6

Tickets £3 per child (accompanying adult tickets free)

A HEART AT SEA | AN EPIC MUSICAL FOLKTALE TOLD ON MINIATURE SCALE | 8th May | 1:00pm & 4:30pm | Any age | £4.00

Be enthralled by this epic musical folktale told on miniature scale. A Heart at Sea brings to life the story of a young Boy who bottles up his heart and throws it into the sea. Using haunting live music and original song-writing our hero is plunged into a wild journey of discovery and danger to recover his missing heart.

These songs knit together an atmospheric tale using loop pedals, vocals and instruments. A large, wooden, beautifully carved pop-up book on which puppets roam, accompanies these echoing soundscapes. Marvel as these backdrops pirouette and change as the Boy tumbles through a series of challenging events.

This is a piece of stunning visual storytelling and atmospheric musical performance that will resonate with all ages.

A Heart at Sea is the collaboration between indie-folk artist Avi Simmons and visual artist/puppeteer
Peter Morton. Both Canterbury based the piece was grown through a love for storytelling, music and puppets. The piece is set to premiere at the Wise Words Festival 2016.

Puppet Making | Sunday 8th May | 3:00 - 4:00 | £4

Construct your own puppet in this fun hands-on workshop. You will create your own “table-top” sized character similar to those used in A Heart at Sea that premieres at Wise Words Festival 2016. This workshop is led by professional puppeteer and visual artist Peter Morton who has trained National Theatre’s War Horse. Open to all abilities and adults welcome.
Recommended: +5
Duration: 1 hr
Tickets: £4 per child | Accompanying adults ticket is free

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Family Offer
Family Offer

Produced in collaboration with Wide Eyed Theatre

This year we are delighted to be collaborating with Wide Eyed Theatre. A wonderful Performing Arts Company dedicated to producing performance with participants at the heart of the process.

During the first weekend Wise Words will be partnering with the City Sound Project and this weekend will therefore have a strong focus on music. We will begin our programme of workshops that will run across the following week during which we will be working with children and young people to develop the spaces above as jointly inspired and inspiring places – full of wonder, curiosity and magic 

Family Offer