The National Arts Festival is an annual sight to behold, and there is always something for everyone. From visual art and physical theatre to films and dance, no one will be disappointed – and that includes the young ones joining us on this adventure.
While only accounting for a small part of the 255-page #NAF18 programme, children’s theatre has remained integral to the overall experience of the festival, and has continued to serve quality and provocative entertainment not only to its target audience, but also to the parents that attend with them. Is there a particular type of art or performance that the little ones enjoy? Children’s theatre has it all! Music, dance, colors, everything that makes for great family fun and entertainment.
To help you and the young ones find a show to everyone’s liking, here are a few of the family-friendly highlights of this year’s festival:
The Little Prince
Presented by the Kwasha! Theatre Company in collaboration with the French Institute of South Africa, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince is the world’s most translated book outside of religious works, and is regarded as a masterpiece of children’s literature. The Little Prince is a compelling and provocative tale about the relationship between children and adults, exploring themes of authority, adulthood and loneliness, leading up to a bizarre series of events. This story is told through music and circus performance, and promises to be a fulfilling and entertaining experience.
Watch The Little Prince on 28 June to 1 July, at 12:00 at Victoria Theatre.
The Gruffalo returns to Grahamstown for another adventure into the woods. Written by Julie Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo has enjoyed vast success since its publication in 1999, even enjoying a West End musical adaptation. It is from this production that director Tara Notcutt, accompanied by a local cast of talent, uses the story and music to bring this classic story to life.
Watch The Gruffalo on 28 June to 1 July; 3 to 7 July at 10:00 at Memory Hall.
Presented by the Well Worn Theatre Company, Galela is a tale of quest to save and raise awareness for the environment, while also presenting an engaging story for the little ones. A production new to the National Arts Festival, the story follows a group of friends who want to clean their town’s drinking water, only to discover further troubles that they bravely dive into solving their problem.
Watch Galela on 3 July at 11:30 and 18:00; 4 July at 16:00; 5 July at 14:00 at NELM Theatre
Tales my cat told me
Have you ever wondered what your cat gets up to when you’re not looking? This production by Avril Cummins may very well answer that question! Tales my cat told me tells the story of Lucy and her pet cat Fluffy, who suddenly starts talking to her and recounts the events of his previous lives. The show takes inspiration from various animal folk tales, while making use of mask work, puppetry and pictures to tell a story that children will enjoy.
Watch Tales my cat told me on 29 July at 14:00; 30 June at 16:00; 1 July at 18:00; 2 July at 11:30; 3 July at 14:00; 4 July at 14:00; 5 July at 16:00; 6 July at 18:00 at NELM Theatre.
The Flute Player
The Flute Player proposes a performance unique to the festival. Inspired by the musical storytelling of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, the production tells the story of a young girl’s musical quest to find her place in the world, all while discovering her incredible musical talent. Directed by Theresa Dwyer and starring her and Tatiana Thaele, The Flute Player promises to be a magical journey for audiences of all ages.
Watch The Flute Player on 30 June at 12:00; 1 July at 16:00; 2 July at 14:00; 3 July at 16:00; 4 July at 12:00 at Memory Hall.
Florence and Watson presents the Great Pangolin Mystery
Returning to Grahamstown are Florence and Watson, and they’re on an adventure to solve a pangolin mystery! Starring Danielle Bischoff and Rob Van Vuuren, this story is set in the darkness of night as Petal the Striped Mouse and the gang set out to rescue their friend Pangolin. Florence and Watson is fun for the whole family, and is a must-see for this year’s festival.
Watch Florence and Watson presents the Great Pangolin Mystery on 29 June to 1 July; 3 to 5 July; 7 July at 10:00 at Drill Hall.
By Sam Spiller