Diversity and Fun Take Centre Stage at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival

Vancouver, BC - The Vancouver International Children’s Festival announces an extraordinary line up of world-class theatre, music, dance, circus, puppetry and storytelling created specifically for children and youth. The Festival returns to Granville Island from May 27 to June 2 on Granville Island to entertain Vancouver children and families. This year, fourteen professional performing artists are scheduled to perform 99 shows in seven of Granville Island’s indoor theatre venues. The Festival expects 25,000 children and adults in attendance.

The 42ndannual Vancouver International Children’s Festival presents one of its most exciting, rich and diverse rosters to date. Highlights include two Festival commissions: Iron Peggy, written by acclaimed Métis playwright Marie Clements and directed by Boca del Lupo’s award-winning Artistic Director, Sherry J. Yoon, weaves two cultures together to tell us a tale of epic proportions; and Parents are a Drag by local theatre company Zee Zee Theatre, presents a drag show for a young audience that celebrates diversity with songs, laughter and play. Two other noteworthy performances at this year’s Festival are: Is this a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth from Scotland and Immigrant Lessons — 101 from Canada. These performances and others tell us new and diverse stories from various cultures all while aligning with the Festival’s reputation of providing quality entertainment.

“In 2019, we are presenting performances that highlight how the performing arts can bring us stories from around the world without traveling a kilometer,” explains Katharine Carol, Artistic and Executive Director.“These unique shows and perspectives bring us closer together for an exciting shared experience and allows the Festival to continue to deliver quality live performances that open a world of creative possibilities.”

As always, the Festival offers shows for all ages, interests and abilities. This year, Festival favourites from years’ past will return, such as Canadian music icon Fred Penner and world-renowned circus artist, juggler and comic acrobat Jamie Adkins. In addition, an exceptional lineup of first-time festival performers, such as the Polar Bears, will grace the Festival’s stages. There truly is something for everyone.

In addition to the many incredible shows being presented, the Festival’s Activity Village make it easy for the whole family to be creatively playful together. With over 20 arts activities, there are many ways to engage your imagination and enhance your creativity all while having fun together as a family.  Each performance pass includes an Activity Village wristband.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at childrensfestival.ca, by phone at 1.877.840.0457, in person at The Vancouver International Children’s Festival office, 301–601 Cambie Street, Vancouver or during the Festival at our on-site box office located between Festival House and the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island.

Tickets start at $12.50 per child/senior and $22 per adult plus tax and service charges. All passes include an Activity Village wristband.

For access to the arts Activity Village only: purchase an Activity Wristband for $6 per person (sold onsite only).  Wristband price includes GST and Service Charges.



Iron Peggy (British Columbia) — Peg is struggling for survival at her boarding school. Three girls take aim at Peg and make her life utterly miserable. When her beloved Grandmother dies she just wants to disappear, but then an unexpected gift arrives. Inside Peg finds three cast iron Canadian soldiers. In despair, she throws them against the floor. How can they help her? They are so small and the girls’ shadow is so big. But, miraculously the toys come to life as Indigenous Snipers from WWI, just in time to wage an epic battle against the girls. Ages 10 and up. World Premiere!

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival is delighted to commission this innovative production by award-winning, international Métis performer, playwright Marie Clements. Iron Peggy is directed by Boca del Lupo’s award-winning Artistic Director, Sherry J. Yoon.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

Ce projet est l’un des 200 projets exceptionnels soutenus par le programme Nouveau chapitre du Conseil des arts du Canada. Avec cet investissement 35 M$, le Conseil des arts appuie la création et le partage des arts au cœur de nos vies et dans l’ensemble du Canada.

Parents are a Drag (British Columbia)- Join local drag queens Peach Cobblah & Isolde N. Barron for a drag dress-up spectacular! Add some rainbow to your day at this fun and inclusive event which reminds young ones, their parents, caregivers and everyone in between that it’s never too early (or too late!) to get silly and dress-up! Parents are a Drag celebrates diversity with songs, laughter and play. With opportunities for the audience to become part of the show, be sure to come dressed to impress or ready for some dress-up time. Ages 3 and up.  Commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. World Premiere!

The Polar Bears Go Up (Scotland)- Get ready to fall in love with these two adorable polar bears! They’ve lost their prized balloon and they need to get it back. Plenty of laughs ensue as the pair come up with increasingly off-the-wall ways to reach their friend. They climb trees, jump on clouds, reach for the stars, bounce and boogie their way to the top, while stopping for sandwiches along the way, of course! With no words, the artists skillfully and playfully tell the bears’ story and create a magical world where anything is possible. Children will be swept away in this charming, visual show. One thing is for sure, the only way is up! Ages 2–6.

Paper Playground (British Columbia)- A playful and interactive dance performance where children are free to join in and explore, because that’s what young ones do best!  A joyous and stimulating experience for the youngest of audiences, Paper Playground is a rare opportunity for the very young to experience live theatre created with and just for them.  Set on a large paper carpet, children are encouraged to explore the theme of water with the moving performers. Dance, drawings, live music and projections are used to create a magical world where boats, fishes, crabs and sharks merrily come alive.  Share a special moment with your little one in a world filled with play, exploration and discovery. Ages 0–3.


Fred Penner (Manitoba)- Sing along with one of Canada’s best-loved children’s singers and four-time Juno winner Fred Penner at this year’s Festival! Fred has been charming audiences for over 37 years with catchy songs that speak to the wonder of childhood such as “The Cat Came Back” and “What a Day.” Fred’s award-winning music and meaningful lyrics have created a lasting impact that crosses generations. His warmth and enthusiasm give him an instant emotional connection with fans both young and old. Don’t miss introducing your children to this Canadian music icon. Ages 1–7.

Élage Diouf — Melokáane (Sénégal / Québec)- Élage Diouf is sure to capture your heart and move your soul with his irresistible joyous energy. His uplifting blend of pop, world, blues, folk and asiko will have kids singing and dancing in their seats. And don’t be surprised if Élage invites you to come up on to the stage to dance with him! The warmth and quality of Diouf ‘s voice, his uniquely diverse sound, and his infectious rhythms ensure he never has to ask twice. This Senegalese-born singer-songwriter, describes his music as, “…sounds that are warm, with good dancing rhythms, sounds that make you want to move and feel great. This is what I want for myself, my family, my planet.” Sounds like the perfect wish to us! All ages.

Will’s Jams (British Columbia) — Get ready to boogie with Will’s Jams, award-winning children’s musician and CBC Kids TV star Will Stroet.  Jam along with Will as he performs his high-energy, sing-a-long tunes with fun actions that kids love!  Will connects with kids through his dynamic and interactive music in English, French and some Mandarin. Kids will be cheering for libraries, loving their bikes and rallying for vegetables all while they’re on their feet and dancing away. Featuring Will’s most popular songs plus new ones from his soon-to-be launched album ‘Rocks & Roots’, that focuses on outdoor adventures and trying new things. Welcome to Will’s World! Ages 2–8.


Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch (British Columbia)- Mr. Hatch cannot smile, he leads a colourless, ordered life, until one Valentine’s Day, he receives a candy-filled heart with the note “somebody loves you.” Mr. Hatch’s world (and his frown) are turned upside down and then he does something he has never done before…he laughs! This heartwarming and award-winning show uses a unique blend of live performance, puppetry and live music. Who is his secret admirer and will Mr. Hatch keep his new-found smile? Whatever the outcome, Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch is sure to put a smile on your face. Ages 3–8.


Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth (Scotland)- By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. Andy Cannon, one of Scotland’s finest storytellers, takes audiences on a thousand-year journey from fact to fiction and back again in his retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tale.  This inventive and clever one-man show is artfully tailored to a young audience. A captivating age-old story expertly told by Andy Cannon in an easy-to-follow, accessible way appeals to audiences both young and old. The perfect introduction to Shakespeare and a wickedly funny ride you won’t soon forget! Ages 7 and up.

Jacky’s Village (Cameroon / BC)- There’s going to be a dance party and you’re invited! Feel the rhythm as you take a trip to Jacky’s Village, featuring music, dance and storytelling from the African countries of Cameroon, Guinea, and Zimbabwe. Come celebrate this beautiful and inspiring expression of African history and culture with the talented Jacky Essombe, accompanied by her friend Yoro Noukoussi. Performed to the music of traditional African instruments including the djembe, talking drum, and shekere, Jacky’s lively dancing will blow you away. Audience participation is encouraged throughout the show in the form of call-and-response, singing, clapping and dancing, giving new meaning to the phrase, “It takes a village…” All ages. Performances are bilingual and will be in both French and English.

David Bouchard: Métis — des histoires, des flûtes, et plus…(British Columbia)- The world is a marvelous kaleidoscope of people with stories that are as unique as each and every one of us.  Gifted storyteller and award-winning author, David Bouchard shares his Métis heritage through inspiring stories and touching flute music. David weaves history and traditions into engaging and vivid tales that provide a path for children to better understand Indigenous beliefs and culture. A small piece of Reconciliation and a beautiful expression of First Nation spirituality, history and culture, this show is sure to enrich and delight everyone. Ages 5 and up. French only.

One of a Kind (British Columbia)- Unique! Exceptional! One-of ‑a-Kind! There really is no one quite like you! We all have a story to tell, what’s yours? One of a Kind is a series of stories performed by a talented group of extraordinary emerging storytellers. Each performer shares a one-of-a-kind tale from their childhood, filled with truths, challenges, laughs and adventures all accompanied by music and dance. A fun and captivating way to explore the universal expression of storytelling, kids might recognize themselves in some of these exceptional stories and be inspired to share their own. Ages 5 and up.


Jamie Adkins: A Fool’s Errand — Circus (Québec)- Tubas, ping pong balls and underpants?! This show has it all and then some! We’ve all had days where nothing seems to go as planned.  In A Fool’s Errand, world renowned circus artist, juggler and comic acrobat, Jamie Adkins is having one of those days.  As he stumbles on stage, he’s determined to give it his all. Of course, nothing goes right and the resulting antics are hilarious. Cirque du Soleil veteran, Adkins entertains and delights using his unique blend of circus arts, acrobatic skill and physical comedy all accompanied by masterful musician Julie Houle.  With the help of his tuba playing friend, against all odds, this sweet and clumsy character perseveres. Whether on the ground, on a ladder or on a slack wire, Jamie Adkins and this show end up winning the day! All ages.


Immigrant Lessons (British Columbia with roots in Tanzania, India, Jamaica, Philippines, Korea, Dubai, Ghana and the United States) — Ka-Boom! Hold on to your seat and get ready for an explosion as Immigrant Lessons hit the stage! They’ll blow you away their fabulous high energy moves and dizzyingly fast footwork. You might even see smoke as this dance troupe is on fire! In 101, the dancers share their personal stories as first and second generation immigrants through the universal language of dance in a performance that also explores deeper themes about social pressures, overcoming obstacles and conquering fears. You’ll be amazed watching this collection of talented professional dance artists showcase their skills and love of dance. Kids will be inspired in more ways than one. All ages.


Variety Show- Watch Festival performers cut loose at our annual Variety Show! This year’s tour de force, hosted by none other than Fred Penner, features the zany circus antics of Jamie Adkins, the uplifting songs and joyous energy of Élage Diouf, a high energy dance extravaganza from Immigrant Lessons, and the captivating storytelling from one of Scotland’s finest storytellers, Andy Cannon. For a special treat you’ll also have the opportunity to sing along with one of Canada’s best-loved children’s singers, as host Fred Penner will be performing! This fun-filled evening is always a highlight for kids and adults alike.

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival gratefully acknowledges the following for their generous support: CMHC Granville Island, Visit California, Port of Vancouver, RBC Foundation, Sea to Sky Gondola, CN, Amacon, Sun Life Financial, Vancouver School Board, Pan American Silver Corp., Long & McQuade, Diamond Foundation, Cheestrings, Granville Island Hotel, Lamar Transit Advertising, Tickets Tonight, CLIF Bars, Apex Event Rentals, Pattison Outdoor, Squamish Nation, Loungeworks, Moonrider Productions, City TV – Breakfast Television, The Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Courier, BCLiving, 96.9 Jack Fm, KiSS Radio, Omni, Radio-Canada, Star Metro Vancouver, CBC Radio-Canada, VancouverMom.ca, Fairchild Media Group, BC Parent Magazine, The Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, City of Vancouver Cultural Services, Province of BC through BC Arts Council and BC Gaming, and Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program.

The first of its kind in North America, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival began as a theatre festival for young audiences presenting international performances. Today the Festival is multi-disciplinary presenting theatre, music, dance, circus, puppetry and storytelling and over the years has been an inspiration to major cities throughout Canada and abroad, where annual children’s festivals now take place.


Media interview requests please contact:
Joanne Da Silva | Communications Manager
Vancouver International Children’s Festival
e: marketing@childrensfestival.ca
t: 604.708.5655