Wonderland with full child benefits

A journey through a storybook landscape tops this week's highlights from Heather Neill

Arts adventure

Welfare State International is a company that does not do things by halves. Its artists often take over a whole community, organising celebrations, processions and spectacular events that once included sinking a huge model of the Titanic in London's Docklands.

The company's HQ, the Lanternhouse in Ulverston, south Lakeland, is home to exhibitions, installations and arts research, but it is about to acquire a new dimension. A Child's Eye View is an adventure for everyone, but especially for under-fives, who will be invited to explore the transformed ground floor of the Lanternhouse, guided by a narrator.

The storybook landscape will incorporate dens, camps and secret places and provide opportunities for imaginative play. Other events this season include the 20th Lantern Festival, which culminates in a finale in Ford Park, Ulverston, tomorrow, with music, fire sculptures, special effects and, of course, the lanterns, each containing a candle, made in their hundreds by local people. Information: 01229 581127; www.welfare-state.org.


David Greig's Outlying Islands has arrived at the Royal Court in London after a successful run in Edinburgh. Set in 1939 on a remote Scottish island that the government may be planning to use for anthrax experiments, it explores the awakening of three young people - two ex-public school scientists and Ellen, niece of the island's owner. Where does morality come from? Who should make the rules? How soon does "civilisation" drop away and pure nature assert itself? Full of ideas and written in supple and expressive language, this is a play for anyone interested in modern literary theatre. Tickets: 020 7565 5000.

Children's theatre

To celebrate the centenary of Kipling's classic, the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, south London, is to present a new version of the Just So Stories. Prize-winning Indian-born writer Jamila Gavin has written Just So!, set in a Victorian nursery where Uncle Ruddy returns from his travels, full of exotic stories. From September 26. Tickets: 020 8543 4888.

Music exhibition

The art of album cover design, the history of music fanzines, the influence of rock on contemporary artists - all these can be explored in Air Guitar: art reconsidering rock music, an exhibition at the Cornerhouse in Manchester. The galleries will be open until 9pm on Thursdays throughout the exhibition, until November 3. Live music events, talks and discussions include artist George Shaw in conversation with Michael Bracewell on October 17. The final event is a free (but tickets essential) party on November 3, with live comedy, a rock lookalike competition and a chance for everyone to perform. Booking and information: 0161 200 1500.

Shakespeare Crystal clear

David Crystal, who has a weekly column about Shakespeare's language in TES Teacher, will be presenting a lectureperformance on the subject with his son Ben at the National Theatre on October 7 and at Shakespeare's Globe on November 7. Tickets: 020 7452 3000 and 020 7401 9919 respectively.

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