Lusting for some wandering of a distinctly American nature? Arts education specialists have the opportunity to apply for a Harkness Fellowship, which enables them to study and travel in the United States. Applicants must present a proposal that includes one of the following: advancing the well-being of the elderly; bettering the health of minorities; changing communities for the better; developing the capacities of children and young people; helping people lead productive lives.
Fellowships are offered for between seven and 12 months, starting August next year. Living expenses, return fares, travel within the US and medical insurance are provided by Harkness. For details, send a 26 cm x 18 cm sae to Harkness Fellowships, 28 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3EG.
Good news from Bolton, where the Octagon Theatre has launched a new youth theatre. Sue Reddish, formerly from the Bury Met Arts Centre, is the new director. The youth theatre, which is funded with assistance from Marks and Spencer, will have full use of the Octagon's Bill Naughton Theatre and will be able to accommodate up to 250 young people a week.
London's Unicorn Theatre for Children continues its excellent series "Introducing Young Audiences to the Classics" with Andy Rashleigh's abridged version of A Midsummer Night's Dream from September 16 to November 8. Targeted at over eights, the production in modern dress should captivate and stimulate if the previous show in the series, The Magic Flute, is anything to go by. Bookings: 0171 836 3334.
For the really young, Oily Cart starts a national tour of The Perfect Present from September 25 until after Christmas. Written by Tim Webb, it's the story of a little girl whose journey around a giant game board yields odd presents suitable for even odder visitors. The production, for under fives, tours schools and venues around the country, starting at the Leicester Haymarket Studio on September 25 and 26 and winding up at the Lyric Hammersmith in December. For tour details contact Oily Cart, Gardiner House, Broomhill Road, London SW18 4JQ (0181 877 0743).
Another show coming up for the little ones is the perennial Noddy in New Adventures of Noddy, adapted from the Enid Blyton originals by David Wood. It all sounds vaguely anachronistic. In the first act, Noddy's down at Noah's Ark trying to feed all the animals and in the second, he's flying around in a yellow aeroplane. If the kids like it, who cares? The national tour kicks off at the Wimbledon Theatre on September 27 and ends at the Regent Theatre, Ipswich, at the beginning of December. Touring schedule (send sae) from Clarion Tours, 30 Telegraph Street, Shipston-on-Stour, Warks CV36 4DA.