Musical Archive Family Day

Inspired by the thousand year history of toys, games and festivities in The National Archives’ collection, join us for a day of toe-tapping celebration of music in the archives!

Embark on an interactive adventure with the Enchanted Cinema, where children help create the sound effects and music to excerpts from much-loved films alongside professional musicians as part of a live FX orchestra using instruments, hands and voices. Together you’ll bring 100 years of animated films magically to life!

Then transport yourself back in time with the enchanting melodies of our harpist as she brings some of the musical tales from our collection to life, explore hidden musical treasures and peculiar Victorian instruments at our family friendly document display, and make and take your own musical instruments with our Craft Club.

Our face painter will also be on hand to turn you in to an classical composer, a pop princess or a sea-shanty singing pirate.

Don’t miss this chance this joyful jamboree for the whole family!

Full schedule to be published soon.

About the enchanted cinema’s new show


Following last year’s sell-out tours of The Snowman + My Neighbour Totoro, join 2024’s #orchestraofwater at The National Archives led by multi-instrumentalist composers, Gareth and Kieron – The Enchanted Cinema.

Each 60-70 min show kicks off with a fun and inclusive warm-up before getting stuck into rehearsals + performances of live scores to 100 years of beautiful animation featuring instrumental scores (harp, keys, viola, guitar, concertina, aquaphone) with YOUR sound FX, xylophone or harp contributions.

Highlights include joining the Xylophone Orchestra on stage, using your voice to recreate the sound of crashing waves, using bird whistles and recorders to mimic birds or other interesting instruments such as our gong or frog guiro to create atmosphere and sound FX you’ll see on the screen & finally creating glissandos on the Harp from Harris after the show.

Inspired by the spirit of lakes, streams, shoreline and sea, we’ve chosen some of the most captivating scenes from 100 years of animation including Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke (1997), Studio Ghibli’s The Red Turtle (2017), Lotte Reineger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), Where the Wild Things Are (1973), Hedgehog in the Fog (1975) & the powerful, poignant Butterfly (1972) featured in our latest trailers below.

The show is ideal for children aged 6+ and grown-ups of all ages. Follow @theenchantedcinema on instagram for more!


The Xylophone Orchestra –  Join Gareth on stage to work on the scores including playing the Harp from Harris! (age 8+)
The Water Choir – 3-4 children use voices on mic to re-create crashing sea, wind in trees and other elemental textures.
The Birds – use bird whistles and recorders to mimic the birds of lake, river and sea.
The FX Crew – audience members are given repurposed/ recycled and world music instruments to create foley FX cues to the animated films
e.g. guiros = frogs
recycled packaging= boat sails
The Wind Gong = mysterious atmospheres
recycled bamboo canes = forest spirits & magical tree chimes


Does every child get to do something?

If they want to – yes! Just make sure we know if you need  a sound FX/ instrument by raising your hand. 

My child might not want to join in.

No problem at all! Many children like to sit back and watch or join in with bits and bobs. It’s very much a team effort so they shouldn’t feel too much on the spot if they do or don’t join in. 

My child has additional needs.

Our shows are very inclusive and kids with additional or SEND enjoy them a lot. Every show has a few noisy parts, in case this helps. 

Can my child try out instruments if they didn’t get a chance to?

Yes! At the end, we invite children up to stage to try out things like the harp or hand percussion. 

Can I take photos?

Phones off and tucked away please, but please feel free take pics of your child with instruments at the end. 

I don’t have / can’t borrow a child – can I still come?

Absolutely! The Enchanted Cinema is for lovers of animation, live music & live foley FX of all ages. 

Is there somewhere to give feedback?

Indeed! We have a public comments book and also a google form. We value all feedback. 

Watch the trailers!


Images:Bob White on behalf of IW Story Festival (#1-12), British Library (#13-17) & The Enchanted Cinema (all others)