The 26th edition of the Ottawa International Children's Festival got underway on Thursday and the next few days promise a great deal of fun and learning for those lucky children (and their grownups) who make the trip to Lebreton Flats.
Ken, Reid and I attended the Children's Festival last year and there are many reasons that we've bought tickets for several performances this year as well. The core of the festival is, not surprisingly, the performances. Last year we saw a play, clowning and drumming. This year, there are plays, dance and clowning.
The Children's Festival program provides good information on choosing an age-appropriate show that will interest your child. One performance is identified as suitable for 1-5 year old children and others bear the “all ages” tag, while one is identified as suitable for children over 8 and others are recommended for other age groups. Some are in English and French or other languages but many are non-verbal. Reid had a bit of trouble understanding why there were no words in the first non-verbal play but once she stopped listening for the words, she was able to easily follow the eloquently-told story. The organizers say that they:
- strive to present work that excites and challenges audiences of all ages, and the festival prides itself on developing and producing award winning programming that comes to us from across Canada and around the world.
Based on the performances that we attended, I have to say that they do this and more.
There is more to the Children's Festival than the paid-admission performances, however. Admission to the grounds is free and arange of activities – such as entertainment by A Company of Fools, Children's Forests of the Future art installation and activity, and the Family Games Pavillion – would warrant a visit. Also, for a very reasonable fee of $5, your child can be transformed into a walking work of art by Kromatik, through face paint and hair decorations. The process is quick and impressive and you'll be at least as sad to wash your little one's face at bedtime as they will be. If you're like me, you might even be a bit jealous that you're not having your face decorated as well.
The first performances start at 9:30 am and the last ones start at 7:00 pm. Single tickets for the performances are available at a cost of $11.50 per person (except for Barbieri and ZooZoo which are $13.60) and a three-show pack is available for $29.00 per person.
Barbara is mom to Reid, a girl who is 6 and ¾ (and takes the fractions seriously). A public servant by day she nurtures her love of writing through social media. She blogs at Tales of Life with a Girl on the Goand Losing it in Ottawa and offers shorter thoughts as @OttMomGo.