On-stage baking, body percussion and video game-inspired dance are some of the featured acts at the 2018 Surrey International Children’s Festival.
The 14th annual fest welcomes seven ticketed shows this year, plus a number of free attractions, at Bear Creek Park/Surrey Arts Centre venues from May 24 to 26.
As always, access to the site is free.
New this year is a $15 “Saturday Plus Pass” that offers full access to all arts activities and featured performances, plus a reserved seat for one featured performance on Saturday, May 26. However, the pass is not available at the door and the booking deadline was May 13.
“The $12 ‘Saturday Festival Pass’ is still great value,” notes a release from organizers of the festival, a City of Surrey presentation. “It offers all-day access to all arts activities and featured performances on Saturday, May 26. It is available online and at the door.”
This year’s ticketed shows include Tetris (parkour-style dance from the Netherlands), Baking Time (a U.K./Canada collaboration that features real baking and music), a circus act called The Kif-Kif Sisters, a Plastique puppet show from Quebec, Green Thumb Theatre’s Celestial Being, storyteller David Bouchard and music by Ruploops: The Human Radio.
For festival planners, the arrival in Surrey of dance troupe Arch8 and its Tetris show is especially exciting this year.
Tetris — part dance, part parkour — was awarded “best in show” at Canada’s International Performing Arts for Youth awards in 2016, according to Christina Cafouros, the festival’s marketing and development specialist.
“Audiences around the world have been mesmerized by this high-energy, stacking, tumbling, puzzle performance,” she told the Now-Leader. “Inspired by the Russian video game, the dancers explore how we fit together in the community through highly skilled acrobatics, brilliant team work and lots of audience participation.”
Two “mini performances” of Tetris will be done at Guildford Town Centre, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24 and also Friday, May 25.
Elsewhere, the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award-winning Baking Time is a collaboration between B.C.-based Presentation House Theatre and the U.K.’s Oily Cart Theatre. with live music and real baking.
“A fantastic feast for the senses for 3-7 year olds, and their friends and families,” raves a post on the festival website. “Baking Time finds two playful bakers, aka Bun and Bap, sifting through magical flour storms, with mischievous doughy characters amidst shelves of baking ingredients and utensils. Bun and Bap invite all the young audience members to become bakers themselves and join in the fun. The show involves lots of stirring and opportunities for audience members, young and old, to help out the bakers, as the on-stage oven fills the room with the smell of freshly baking bread.”
With their circus show, The Kif-Kif Sisters are identical twins who “fight giant pink monsters, practice the art of snacking and ensure the triumph of the umbilical cord.” The sisters mix “surprising comedy and audience interaction with enough happiness to make vegetables explode.”
Also from Quebec, Puzzle Théâtre’s non-verbal performance of Plastique involves “a plastic bag world where funny and colorful creatures are born and transform themselves as much as they like. They fill themselves, they empty themselves, they fly, they eat each other, they are bored… They exist. Step by step they reveal their nature. They are primitive, naive and funny and they resemble us a little bit… maybe.”
On the festival’s Leap Frog Stage, Dave Deveau’s Celestial Being follows a girl named Celeste who struggles to make social connections at school, where she meets a new boy and goes on an out-of-this-world adventure.
Billed as a “Human Radio,” Vancouver-based Ruploops (or Rup) is a vocal percussionist and live-looping performer who demonstrates how the body is indeed a musical instrument, with a mix of hip-hop, blues and bhangra sounds.
Elsewhere at the festival, Order of Canada-winning author David Bouchard helps kids get hooked on books with song, poetry and storytelling.
The festival website (surrey.ca/childrensfestival) includes a site map, schedule of show times and a link for tickets, or call 604-501-5566.
The CN Community Spirit Stage offers free performances daily, including the Ling Ling and the Great Marrdini magic show, musical duo Richard Tichelman and Madison Bell, Surrey’s True Stories told by the Re-enactors troupe, Nrityanjali Dance Academy’s Doe a Dear show and some Surrey school bands in concert. Also, the Festival Parade starts there at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, May 26, when young guests are encouraged to dress up and follow a processional band, Asa Branco, “as they take us on a Brazilian-inspired musical tour through the park,” with dancing to follow at the stage.
On the festival site, free activities this year include the Prospera Credit Union Craft Zone, a Celebration of Culture presented by MyZone, chalk arts, a giant sandbox, a Heritage Hangout, a LRT train demo, the Museum of Surrey’s Mobile Museum, an Amazing Cardboard Kingdom and a storytelling tent. Some site activites require a wristband, including Arts Umbrella’s “Be Moved” zone, an art-card station, Big Top Circus Fun, clay arts, a Music Makers station and more.