The Master of LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Back in 2009, Alex Bidolak was a postman from Oldham who could only dream of working with LEGO for a living. Today, his dreams have been realised and he gets to teach about and build LEGO on a daily basis. At the start of 2010, Alex was awarded the position of ‘Master Builder’ at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre at the intu Trafford Centre’s Barton Square. Describing the position as the toughest job interview he had ever attended ”but it has all been worth it as now I get to play with Lego all day long!”
Since then, Alex has been in international press for his take on the famous Ellen DeGeneres selfie at the 2014 OSCARS, his creation of the Coronation Street set, work as a special constable on the streets of Manchester as well as his similarities to Emmet, the leading character in the popular 2014 film, The LEGO Movie!


Alex at Legoland in his Specials uniform and a lifesize Lego Policeman. Alex Bidolak A ëMaster Builderí at the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester was surprised when the hero of the new hit film The Lego Movie was so familiar after he discovered the storyline contained a series of amazing similarities to his life. The main character Emmet, voiced by Chris Pratt, works in Construction before becoming a Master Builder and then The Special.  In real life Alex is also The Special - a Special Constable - and works in his spare time fighting crime in Greater Manchester as a volunteer police officer.





There is no denying that Alex is an incredibly talented and busy man and we’re very excited and lucky to have him with us during Family Festival 2015 where he will be leading LEGO and Live Music! Tickets for this event will be available on Monday 19th at 9:30am.


Family Arts Festival 2015: Get Ready! The Arts are staging a take-over of Salford and Trafford for October half term from Saturday 24 October – Sunday 1 November

At The Lowry we are very excited about our annual Family Arts Festival…and why wouldn’t we be? It’s the only week of the year when you can choose from a loopy day with Snoopy at intu Trafford Centre, a sing-along with Disney’s Frozen characters Elsa and Anna or a day of Lego fun with a Lego master model builder…or do all three!

Family Arts Festival is all about bringing the best arts activities, from theatre and literature to film and circus, to families across the UK. We have been working hard, along with top attractions in the area, to do just that!


So, what have we got for you?

We are bringing favourite characters to life on stage at The Lowry. Get the little ones dressed-up and ready to sing-along to Disney favourite Frozen at Singalonga Frozen.

Be guests at the wedding of Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay at The Scarecrow’s Wedding, a heart-warming adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hotly anticipated new book.

Help the Milkshake! presenters find Milkshake Monkey in time for his birthday party at musical extravaganza Milkshake! Live. Or fearless families can come and meet the T-Rex at Dinosaur Zoo – the show that brings extraordinary life-like dinosaurs to the stage!

playdate.jpg 3

Pop-up performances, crafts, music and Lego!

Outside of the theatre we have a day of Lego & Live Music with the master model builder from LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Manchester. There are loopy arts and crafts with Snoopy and friends at intu Trafford Centre. An interactive musical experience with musicians from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra – one of Europe’s highest ranking orchestras – in Early Ears, and a day of scary critters and creepy crafts in Spooky Seas at SEA LIFE Manchester.


playdate.jpg 2

And for sporty families…?

We are working with Hotel Football; Salford Red Devils and Manchester United Museum to give sporty families some great experiences – look out for these events coming up on the Family Festival website very soon.


The Copley Prize – Inspire your children with LS Lowry

The Copley Prize

An opportunity for 4-11 year olds to see their work mounted next to that of LS Lowry!

Judged by LS Lowry curator Claire Stewart, the annual winner of this prestigious prize each year receives:

• their art work framed professionally and hung in The Lowry Galleries alongside the work of LS Lowry for a full year
• a tour of The Lowry Galleries for their family
• a free set of Derwent Artists coloured pencils
• a choice between a family ticket for a theatre show at The Lowry or a free art workshop for their school.

Get more info here



Metta Theatre Takeover Our Family Festival Blog

and tell us all about their new show, The King of Tiny Things…

Kong OTT 3

We (Metta Theatre) have been making and touring theatre for the last decade – in fact as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations we’re somewhat ambitiously staging 10 plays this year – of which our epic circus and puppetry adaptation of The King of Tiny Things is number three! We’ve only been making family work, however, for the last three years, coincidentally (or not at all) when we started our own family (Noah has just turned three and Finn will celebrate his first birthday a few days before our Lowry performance in August). So making this joyous extravaganza of songs, puppetry, juggling slugs, stilt-walking daddy-long-legs and acrobatic baby bats amidst the chaos of nappies and duplo has been our own personal juggle, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was inspired to adapt the existing story by celebrated writer/illustrator duo Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward over two years ago as we read the book night after night after night to our eldest Noah. Since then it’s metamorphosed from something simply fun and circusy to something with a lot more depth and richness. As a company led by a director and a designer it’s become a bit of a trademark that our work is packed full of images and symbols, layers of narrative creating a richly visual and emotional experience. And it’s particularly exciting to bring that process into family work where I think as a sector we can really be challenging our young audiences more – both in terms of form – making imaginative leaps, filling in the gaps themselves and also in terms of content – telling complex, messy stories and not being afraid to shy away from challenging or provocative themes. So I’m particularly pleased with what we’ve created with this show because it covers all bases – there’s silliness and fun, there’s something more provocative and emotionally challenging – and those narratives sit atop each other making it simultaneously appropriate for three year olds, teenagers, thirty-somethings and grandparents.

On a personal note it’s also been a delight to be able to welcome our children into the rehearsal room and process – singing the songs to Noah when I put him to bed – testing new lyrics and seeing which of the tunes get the strongest reactions. We even held a work-in-progress showing at the end of the first week of rehearsals for him and his preschool buddies – a great opportunity to really respond to the interests and focus of the littlies.

As the production prepares to take flight on stage I hope we’ve made a little piece of magic, with something in it for everyone. So spread your wings and fly with us!

See The King of Tiny Things at The Lowry
Thu 6 August
2pm & 4.30pm

For more info & too book tickets, click here


Tornado in a Bottle

Tornado in a Bottle

Hello world, and welcome to our brand new Family Arts Blog – bringing you exciting activities, interesting stories and guest blog each week. We are kicking off with a very exiting science trick for you to do with your family…..

Thanks to our friends at the University of Salford Science Team, we’ve been having great fun making our very own mini tornado. Take a look at the action ….

If you would like to have a go at making your own all you will need is:

Water, two clear plastic bottle (with a lids that wont leak), duct tape, washing up liquid and maybe a little glitter or food dye.

And here is how to do it:
1. Drill a hole through the lids of both bottle caps, make sure they line up when both bottles are stacked on top of one another.
2. Fill one bottle with water until it reaches around ¾ full.
3. Add a few drops of washing up liquid and sprinkle a few pinches of glitter or a couple of drops of food dye, to will make your tornado easier to see.
4. Firmly attach the lid to the bottle, attach the lid to the empty bottle and place this on top of the one filled with liquid, tie duct tape around the two bottles, make sure they are secure.
5. Turn the bottle upside down so that the bottle with the water is on top. Swirl the bottle in a circular motion.
6. Most tornadoes form anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, so be sure to turn the bottle in this direction.
7. Watch as a tornado will form in the top bottle as the rain falls into the bottom bottle.
So why does this happen?


Well unfortunately it’s not that clear cut: the beginnings of a tornado are not completely understood by scientists. However one way the rotation appears to happen is when winds at two different altitudes blow at two different speeds, this causes a horizontal rotating column of air.

This spinning air then gets tighter and tighter which speeds the wind up, the rain and hail in the thunderstorm cause the funnel to touch down creating a tornado. ….. it’s not actually a tornado unless the tip touches the ground.

Pretty fascinating stuff hey?



Back to Top