Featuring dance, art and theatre workshops, three world-class children’s theatre performances, a series of 15-minute shows (from clowning to acrobatics), plus hula-hoop classes, a silent disco, and print and sculpture work stations, this year’s Sydney Children’s Festival delivers action packed entertainment for all the kids.

Running September 23 to 28, this year’s show has moved from its previous Carriageworks location to The Seymour Centre where there are exciting performances, workshops and talks running daily in the venue’s main theatres as well as around the Centre (literally, around the Centre) in a series of outdoor spaces.

During 2014’s Festival, there are three major theatre shows – Kapow! about three trainee superheroes, Still Awake Still!, a magical journey into the possibilities of not falling asleep, and Twinkle, a guided exploration of stars, galaxies and the night sky

In the foyers outside each of the main theatres, there are art stations – a fabulous print making station outside the Everest Theatre, where children can do block printing and depart with their own colourful dragonfly, butterfly or animal, and a sculpture making station outside the York Theatre, where children participate in the process of constructing artworks that are larger than life.

We also adored the pop-up Co-op Bookshop in the Centre foyer that kept kids entertained with an almost life-size remote controlled R2D2 as well as fabulous games, books, musical instruments and stamp kits that the kids not only got to use, but could also buy to take home with them too.

With an enticing circus tent – covered on the outside with trick mirrors, frames and show-stopping lights, a Library Lawn made of apple crates and soft cushions and with long tables at the ready for impromptu craft and art creativity, a roving magician, as well as an astro-turf lawn for picnicking between events, this is an excellent option for a school holiday outing with just the right mix of events, workshops and talks to ensure every child will find something to interest them.

The Zones  The Kazador Tent (a glittery circus palace which offers ten rotating performances every day), The Lawn Library (for author talks and signings as well as workshops), The Sound Lounge (where a silent disco takes place), Everest Foyer (for mural and print-making workshop), York Foyer (with a giant sculpture workshop continuously in progress), The Everest Theatre (where Still Awake Still! is running), The Reginald Theatre (where Kapow! is running) The York Theatre (where Twinkle is running) as well as various studio spaces for different workshops

Kid Stuff

  • Mr Gorski the clown, the daredevil juggler and unicycle enthusiast The Great Dave, whip-cracking hula hoop hero Heidi Hoops, and acrobats Kiki and Pascal each perform two 15-minute sets in The Kazador Tent ($5 per performance)
  • Free hula hoop, sculpture and print-making workshops
  • A silent Disco au go-go in The Seymour’s live music Sound Lounge venue, where you can show off your killer moves in ‘silence’ armed only with a pair of wireless headphones!
  • Free children’s book author talks and workshops with different writers/illustrators appearing each day.
  • Still Awake Still! (ages 4+) is a magical journey with Miss Ivory Tinklefinger, the Queen of Sleep, who has been hired to sing children to sleep, but whose piano has a mind of its own. Instead of inspiring sleep, her lullabies awaken a series of magical characters and objects with wild, surreal consequences and the entire show emerges like magic, from beneath the lid of her grand piano.
  • KAPOW! follows Scout and her two best friends on their comical journey to train as everyday superheroes. Featuring skilful acrobatics, clowning and circus tricks, this is an action-packed piece of theatre exploring the power of imagination through the eyes of the three girls.
  • The Twinkle show/workshop where children (ages 8–12) learn songs and a script and become a part of the theatre-making process with The Joan’s Danielle O’Keefe, Nick Atkins and Sophie Cook. The following day, participants join the Twinkle cast for a public performance.
  • Two dance workshops (ages 8+) led by the award-winning Shaun Parker & Company where kids will learn popping, locking, breaking and krumping! Covering hip hop, contemporary, stagecraft, theatre and free movement, each day ends with a public performance so kids can show off their new moves to friends and family.

Chill Out Time Take some time out between shows or workshops on the ‘picnic’ lawn directly outside the front doors of the Seymour Centre, or in the chill-out zones in the foyers outside each of the main theatres upstairs where there are plentiful cushions

Dining Tables The Theatre’s foyer counter has basic sandwiches as well as drinks and coffee can cakes; there is also a cake and coffee stand outside. The Seymour Centre is also a walkable distance from the dining options of either Glebe Point Road or the northern end of Newtown’s King Street.

Most events are free | Kazador Tent performances, $5 | Theatre performances, $22 per ticket (adult/child)

Pictures courtesy of Sydney Childrens Festival | Still Awake Still | Happy Eisteddfod | Twinkle (photo by Dexter Cornelius)