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Vancouver International Children’s Festival Announces 2024 Lineup

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A group of people on a stage performing on a hoop.
Photo by Matt Loncar

A Feast of Engaging Arts for Families and Children Over an Entire Week

Vancouver, BC (April 24, 2024) - The 47th Annual Vancouver International Children’s Festival takes place May 27 – June 2 in person on Granville Island where world-class theatre, music, dance, circus, puppetry and storytelling performers come to entertain Metro Vancouver children and families. This year, thirteen professional performing artists from as far-reaching as Australia are scheduled to perform 81 shows.

“The Children’s Festival is a vibrant celebration for the arts, dedicated to captivating audiences of all ages with multi-disciplinary performances that engage, entertain and open us to the joy of artistic expression,” states Katharine Carol, Artistic and Executive Director. “In 2024, our stages will come alive with an array of stunning performances including two international shows, six national productions and five local shows. Join us for a feast of amazing shows and interactive visual arts activities that encourage you to ignite your playful joy.”

Highlights of this year’s Festival include two works from Australia, circus show 360 ALLSTARS by Onyx Productions coming straight from Broadway and Robot Song by Arena TheatreIn addition to the Australian artists, the Festival is presenting artists from across Canada, including local sensation Missy D

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at ChildrensFestival.ca, or during the Festival at our on-site box office located between Festival House and the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island.

Tickets start at $13.50 per child/senior and $23 per adult plus service charges and tax. Each inperson show ticket includes an Activity Village wristband. With over a dozen arts activities, the Activity Village offers many ways to engage your imagination and enhance your creativity all while having fun together as a family. 

2024 Featured Performers

Tree (Motus, Québec) — Share a special moment with your little one. Experience the magical world of Tree in this gentle and intimate show for the youngest of audiences. Tree is a rare opportunity for your baby to experience live theatre created just for them! Settle into mama bird’s cozy nest while she warms her luminous clutch of eggs. Plants, insects, and animals visit, accompanied by soothing melodies and rhythmic music. As evening falls, you’ll rest under the rising moon, stars, and the shimmering Milky Way, gathering strength to spread your wings like a fledgling bird of light. Co-presented by Boca del Lupo, the Micro Performance Series. Ages 0–2.

The Starting Point of Missy D: 1, 2, 3 let’s go, let’s go! (British Columbia) — Back by popular demand! If you don’t know this artist yet, what have you been waiting for? Missy D is a hip hop, rap & soul artist who makes music as a form of therapy. She empowers folks with love and music as a way to express feelings, share a message and connect with listeners. This femcee comes from the 3 corners of the motherland (Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe) and has been rapping since she was 11 years old in French and English in a style she calls Rap & Soul. In a fusion of sounds from her childhood, Missy draws inspiration from French melodies to r&b, soul, jazz, hip hop, rock and rap legends. Missy D will have you feeling all the feels and singing YES MAMA as she embraces diversity in instrumentals, music and most of all, people. In Frenchwith one Bilingual show. All ages.

360 ALLSTARS (Onyx Productions, Australia) — In this high-energy urban circus extravaganza, a phenomenal team of artists pushes the boundaries of physicality to the absolute limit. Get ready for a heart-pounding fusion of BMX stunts, basketball wizardry, breakdancing brilliance, mesmerizing MC-ing, mind-bending acrobatics, and heart-pounding drumming that takes center stage. Featuring an all-star cast of world champions and record-holding athletes, 360 ALLSTARS delivers a spectacular blend of extraordinary artistry and vibrant street culture. As the live-looped soundtrack pulses through the air, you’ll witness the thrill of extreme sports like never before. Brace yourself for breathtaking feats that will send your adrenaline skyrocketing and leave you cheering for more, making this an experience you won’t want to miss! All ages.

One of a Kind (Vancouver International Children’s Festival Society and The Flame. Created and directed by Deborah Williams, British Columbia) — One of a Kind is created around the true stories performed by the people who lived them; a talented, diverse group of extraordinary theatre artists. The storytellers share their one-of-a-kind childhood tales filled with truth, cultural perspective, family languages, challenge, laughter and adventure.  Using physical theatre, puppetry, music, movement and more, they offer an extraordinary exploration of the universal expression of storytelling. Children will recognize themselves and be inspired to share their own stories. Commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Ages 4 and up. 

Tree, a world in itself (Motus, Québec) — In this gentle and intimate show, settle into mama bird’s cozy nest while she warms her luminous clutch of eggs. Plants, insects, and animals visit, accompanied by soothing melodies and rhythmic music. As evening falls, you’ll rest under the rising moon, stars, and the shimmering Milky Way, gathering strength to spread your wings like a fledgling bird of light. Tree, a world in itself, is a multi-sensory, interactive universe enveloped in soft light, music, and silence, where five characters continually adapt to meet the needs of their audience. It was created for Autistic children and adapted for children with intellectual disabilities and/or reduced mobility. Co-presented by Boca del Lupo, the Micro Performance Series. Ages 4 and up.

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 40 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. All ages. 

Nimihitowin!  (Wild Mint Arts, Alberta) — Powwow dance, hoop dance and Métis jigging are beautiful expressions of Indigenous Peoples’ rich history and culture. Translated from Cree to mean “to dance” and “to be in movement”, Nimihitowin! (Knee-me-toe-win) will mesmerize audiences with dramatic dancing, spectacular regalia and the subtle beauty of Cree-composed flute songs. Insightful commentary about each dance will also enhance the performance as kids get the chance to celebrate this rich, cultural treasure with the Cree, Blackfoot, Anishinaabe and Métis dancers of Nimihitowin! Created exclusively for young audiences by acclaimed Calgary-based Cree musician, contemporary dancer and choreographer Jessica McMann, this energetic performance offers an opportunity to experience the stunning vibrancy of Indigenous culture through dance. Co-presented with Talking Stick Festival. All ages.

Robot Song (Arena Theatre, Australia) — Juniper is constantly compared to a robot, but after encountering one on her doorstep, she begins the adventure of a lifetime. Bullies are no match for our young heroine, as she believes in herself and her passion for robots more than anything. In this upbeat musical comedy, we follow young Juniper and her parents as they learn that life is not always predictable, rigid or consistent, no matter how hard we try. Unexpected outcomes are difficult but with the help of her parents, her robot, and a Robot Song, everything will turn out just fine. Based on a true story, Robot Song illustrates the profound, transformative nature of creativity that when combined with unconditional love, becomes an unstoppable force. The Robot Song 2024 Canadian tour is supported by Creative Australia and Creative Victoria. Ages 7 and up. 

Yassama and the Beaded Calabash (Lua Shayenne, Ontario) — Rooted in African oral tradition,Yassama and the Beaded Calabash is the story of a young girl who, with the help of the old Baobab tree, saves her village from drought and delivers a powerful lesson about the importance of respecting and honouring Mother Earth. Kids will love this playful and interactive show where the audience is encouraged to take part in the form of call-and-response, singing and clapping. Acclaimed artist Lua Shayenne weaves rhythmic language, vibrant dance, lively Malinke and Soussou songs, and live drumming into an engaging story everyone is sure to enjoy. Ages 3 and up.

Otosan (Little Onion Puppet Co., British Columbia) — When little Shizu hides in her Otosan’s suitcase and secretly travels to his most dangerous destination, The North, her presence is a big surprise and an even bigger nuisance to her gruff, no-nonsense father. Facing snowy owls, white wolves and grizzly bears in the most remote of locations, Otosan and Shizu must learn to tackle challenges together, eventually learning how to communicate their love. Inspired by Co-creator Shizuka Kai’s real-life experience with her father, a wildlife videographer, Otosan is a beautifully told story that uses puppetry, real wildlife projections and an original score to take the audience on an immersive journey. Created with the support of Deaf Consultants, Caroline Hébert and Ladan Sahraei, to include people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Ages 4 and up.

Jam Side Up! (The Kif-Kif Sisters, Québec) — Flying bunnies, speeding French fries and identical twins?! This show has it all and then some! The Kif-Kif Sisters’ surprising blend of comedy and audience interaction is enough to make vegetables explode! Get ready to howl with laughter at The Kif-Kif Sisters’ out-of-this-world antics. Twice the action and twice the fun, some things in life are just better in twos. This charming, original show is theatre, puppetry, circus, magic and comedy all rolled into one! The Kif-Kif Sisters are masters at drawing their audience into their world of unusual and zany comedy. We guarantee, you’ll never know what’s coming next! All ages.

Tsatsu Stalqayu (Coastal Wolf Pack) Salish Songs and Stories — Tsatsu Stalqayu, started with our Ta’ah’s dream to show the world who we are as Coast Salish People. Just as wolves travel in packs and work together to flourish in life, our group runs with one heart and one mind. From the eldest to the youngest, we encourage each other to stand strong in the face of adversity by consistently practicing our cultural ways of living. Teaching our children the songs, dances, and stories will keep our traditions alive for generations to come. We take pride in who we are and what we do. Our hope now is to continue representing the Coast Salish culture to the best of our ability, within the respected boundaries, so that all nations can enjoy the beauty we have to share. Come see us perform traditional Salish song and dance at this year’s Festival. Co-presented with Talking Stick Festival. All ages. 

The Papa Penguin Play (Carousel Theatre for Young People, British Columbia) — Everyone loves Peaches and Izzy and their daily performances at the Zoo! In fact, these two male penguins are the Zoo’s main attraction. Life’s peachy for the dynamic duo until other penguin couples start laying eggs and having chicks. Peaches and Izzy want to start a family too! With help from the Zoo Keeper, their dreams of parenting come to life. Join these two papas at their penguin chick’s first birthday at a party like no other. The Papa Penguin Play is a musical about celebrating family in all its colours and finding the performer in all of us. Written by Dave Deveau. A Carousel Theatre for Young People ‚the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and Zee Zee Theatre co-production and co-commission. Ages 3–8.

Variety Show — Watch Festival performers cut loose at our annual Variety Show! This year’s tour de force features daring stunts and high-energy feats from 360 ALLSTARS, a dance extravaganza from the dancers of Nimihitowin!, the zany antics of The Kif-Kif Sisters and captivating storytelling from One of a Kind. Plus, sing along with our host, local hip hop, rap and soul artist, Missy D! This fun-filled evening is always a highlight for kids and adults alike. All ages.

The Vancouver International Children’s Festival gratefully acknowledges the following for their generous support:  The City of Vancouver Cultural Services, the BC Arts Council, The Government of British Columbia — Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, CMHC Granville Island, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority proudly representing the Port of Vancouver,  CN, FortisBC, King’s Hawaiian, Amacon, Diamond Foundation, Gabby’s Classroom, Pattison Outdoor, Squamish Nation, Lamar Transit Advertising, City TV, Omni, Stir Arts & Culture Vancouver, WestCoast Families, Vancouver is Awesome, VancouverMom.ca, Postmedia Network Inc. and Fairchild Media Group.

About the Vancouver International Children’s Festival

The longest-running professional performing arts festival for young audiences and the first of its kind in North America and Europe, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival presents the world’s finest music, theatre, dance, puppetry, acrobatics and storytelling, as well as creative arts activities for the entire family. Families come from near and far to experience this extraordinary annual arts festival created specifically for children and families. We are dedicated to providing creative, diverse programming that engages and delights our young audience.

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

About Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts contributes to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and supports its presence across Canada and around the world. The Council is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to “foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts.” The Council’s grants, services, initiatives, prizes, and payments support Canadian artists, authors, and arts groups and organizations. This support allows them to pursue artistic expression, create works of art, and promote and disseminate the arts and literature. Through its arts funding, communications, research, and promotion activities, the Council fosters ever-growing engagement of Canadians and international audiences in the arts. The Council’s Public Lending Right (PLR) program makes annual payments to creators whose works are held in Canadian public libraries. The Council’s Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts through exhibition and outreach activities. The Council is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a future of peace, reconciliation, equity, and sustainable development.