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An arts festival that’s all for the kids

By India 14 Feb 2019

This March, the curtain will lift on an array of magical, entertaining, inspiring performances for little Wellingtonians when the biennial Capital E National Arts Festival returns. Here’s how to pick the right performances for your mini theatregoers.

Capital E National Arts Festival Photo credit: Chris Schreuder

For kids who love dancing

Children as young as two will be thrilled by these high-energy performances. Coming all the way from Japan, GABEZ (9 and 16 March) is a silent comedy show by Masatomi Yoshida and Hitoshi Ono that incorporates mime, slapstick and dance. New Zealand’s Java Dance Theatre presents Treat (17 March), an interactive music/dance/theatre extravaganza about a topic close to every kid’s heart – the search for the perfect treat.

For budding culture vultures

Here’s your chance to brag to the other parents that your little prodigy just adores Mozart and Rossini. Children of all ages will be entranced by Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus (16 March), which reimagines the great composer as a back-flipping, bicycle-riding, magic-trick-performing circus ringleader. New Zealand Opera’s The Barber of Seville (16 March) introduces a new generation to the classic operatic comedy, in an adaptation suitable for ages seven and up.

Photo credit: GABEZ

For kids who love surprises

TRÖLL (9 March) is a darkly funny work by Wellington’s Trick of the Light Theatre. It’s set in 1998 and follows 12-year-old Otto, who has a small problem – there’s a troll living in the wall of his house. This show will appeal to kids aged seven and up, as will Swamp Juice (9 and 16 March), a dazzling shadow-puppet show set in a very … unusual swamp. Young and Cinematic (9, 16 and 17 March) is a delightful programme of short films produced by young people for the Roxy5 Short Film Competition. And, for the toddler-and-up audience, there’s Wind (24 March), a sensory adventure created by Denmark’s Madam Bach Theatre.

Wolfgangs Magical Musical Circus
Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus
Photo credit: Dylan Evans

For kids who love story time

There’ll be a few gasps of recognition from the adults in the audience during these performances. Black Dog (17 March), for children aged two and up, is based on the beloved 1991 book of the same name by Pamela Allen. Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere (9 March) also has literary origins – it’s an inventive prequel to Patricia Grace’s 1982 classic The Kuia and the Spider. This show is appropriate for children seven and up and is performed completely in te reo Māori but can still be followed and enjoyed by non-speakers. The Eel and Sina (17 March) is another spin on a well-known tale – a legend, this time, not a picture book. Suitable for ages two and up, it reimagines the Polynesian creation story from the point of view of the eel, using dance, song, comedy and a mixture of English and Samoan language.

Photo credit: Tom Hoyle

Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere, The Eel and Sina and Young and Cinematic are all free, with koha appreciated, but bookings are still required for Young and Cinematic. All other shows require advance booking and cost $16.50, with under-twos getting in for free – or you can make the most of the festival and get tickets to three shows for the price of two. 

Capital e

Capital E National Arts Festival

Created just for children and young people, the National Arts Festival will see national and international artists take over the city!

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