The 2024 WeeFestival Starts May 10!

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The 2024 WeeFestival Starts May 10!

Monday 6 May 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 14, 2024
MEDIA CONTACT: Robert Morrison l communications@weefestival.ca

Toronto’s only performing arts festival for very young audiences celebrates its 10th birthday with a special 10-show lineup! Tickets are now on sale for the 2024 WeeFestival, a citywide celebration of unforgettable artistic encounters for early childhood taking place in multiple venues across the City of Toronto from May 10 - June 9. The 5-week festival offers 10 unforgettable productions created for young children from as young as 6 months old and features theatre, music, dance, puppetry, storytelling, and sound art created by artists from across Canada and overseas. This year's lineup showcases a captivating array of productions meticulously curated to ignite the imaginations of very young children and their families.

Puppetry at the Festival

The 2024 edition showcases a dynamic collection of puppetry companies including Quebec’s Puzzle Theatre with their productions of Bonne Nuit!, a hilarious comedy about one character’s efforts to avoid sleep, and Plastique, in which an array of colourful plastic bags come to life in the hands of artists Pavla Mano and Csaba Raduly. Also hailing from Quebec is Graam Soul’s Cuckoo (Coucou) which features a large clock onstage which turns to reveal the inner workings and the life of an over-scheduled young cuckoo clock bird. WeeFestival's own Quest for the Moon which premiered in February, shares the story of friendship between a young fox and the moon using shadow puppetry, music, and storytelling. Finally, a highlight of the festival is the acclaimed Italian shadow puppetry company Teatro Gioco Vita and their moving production of Sonia & Alfred, a poignant story about finding refuge and discovering friendship, based on the children’s books by Catherine Pinneur.

Dance and Physical Theatre for Young Audiences

Dance has a prominent place in the 2024 edition with the return of B.C’s Foolish Operations and their participatory work for children 8 - 24 months Paper Playground, the French experimental dance company a.k. entrepôt's First Words/mOts Premiers which uses multilingual text, Hip Hop and contemporary dance to explore communication, play, and friendship, and finally physical theatre, clown, and object theatre collide as two characters discover and test the laws of gravity with Florshütz & Döhnert's Rawums (:)

Music Theatre and Performance

This festival young ears are opened to complex sounds and music performed in compelling stagings and installation environments. The 24 edition lifts off with a stunning vocal performance by Basque artist Kristof Hiriart’s latest creation Up! in which he honours a child’s journey of growth and discovery through music. Musician Emmanuelle Lizére, or “Tigouli” returns to the festival with Solalie, an immersive object and sound installation and concert which invites the children into collaboration with the musicians and the sounds of the installation. Finally, the acclaimed ensemble devoted to early childhood, Théâtre de la Guimbarde brings their latest creation and collaboration with Senegalese singer and percussionists entitled Walangaan, which celebrates the beauty and importance of water in a captivating Senegalese-inspired performance. Each production promises to spark joy, curiosity, and a lifelong love of the arts in young audiences, fostering meaningful connections and shared experiences for families across Toronto.

Families are encouraged to visit every weekend

This is the second year the festival has stretched out programming over multiple weeks and for the 24 edition, WeeFestival is offering 5-show and full festival passes for families encouraging caregivers and parents to take time each weekend and take a journey through the festival with their young children.

Artistic Director Lynda Hill says: “ *In our 2023 edition, we had a number of families return each weekend with their children and so we’ve scheduled performances and different post-show experiences to offer families the opportunity to experience everything the programme has to offer. Theatre and live arts offer young children new ways of seeing, imagining, and understanding themselves and the world around them. A feast of experiences in a festival can truly enrich their aesthetic education! Further, early exposure to the arts has a profound impact on the social and emotional development of young children and experiencing the arts as a family strengthens the bonds between parents and children and creates shared memories that last a lifetime. I’m excited to welcome children and their families over the 5 weeks, to hear about their experience of the festival, and to witness that spark of a lifelong love of arts and creativity in them! *”

In addition to the featured performances, WeeFestival will offer a range of special events including an opening weekend Baby Rave, Kawennanótha with Krysta -Reading with Krysta, outdoor storytelling and music with Mohawk artist and Early Childhood Educator Krysta Sero, showings of new Seedling Projects, works in progress by Xin Wang with Michael Murphy (The Aria Project) and by Mestre Sérgio Xocolate and Suzanne Roberts Smith (Capoeria Criança).

The festival weekdays offer performances for parents with preschool children, school groups, and daycares as well as Creative Skills workshops for Early Childhood Educators. The 2024 edition will once again offer a professional stream of activity engaging artists, theatre studies students, and researchers over three days. Full details of all special events will be available on the festival website by May 1, 2024.

WeeFestival will take place in multiple spaces at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre as well as The Spadina Theatre of Alliance Française, the Alumnae Theatre, Dance Arts Institute in Regent Park’s Daniels Spectrum, The Assembly Hall in Etobicoke, and on tour to the Aurora Cultural Centre and Hamilton’s Arts for All Kinderfest. Finally, Le Théâtre français de Toronto, returns this edition as the WeeFestival’s Francophone Programme Partner supporting efforts to reach Francophone and francophile families and students.

About WeeFestival and the 10th EditionThis edition marks the 10th anniversary of WeeFestival’s launch in 2014 initially as a biennial event before it became an annual festival in 2019. Other than its Quebec-based counterpart Festival Petits bonheurs, WeeFestival is the only arts festival in Canada dedicated to early childhood and the presentation of sophisticated, contemporary and experimental arts for young children and their grown-ups. A hallmark of the festival is the intimate nature of the experience with performances taking place in small-scale arts venues engaging audiences as few as 10 children and as many as 150.

Funding and Presenting Partners

WeeFestival of Arts & Culture 2024 edition is made possible with the support of The Government of Canada, The Canada Council for the Arts, and The Toronto Arts Council. Presenting partners include the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, le Theatre français de Toronto, Alliance Française, The City of Toronto, and The Toronto Office of the Government of Quebec. Education programme partners include the Toronto Education Workers and the Toronto District School Board Arts Department. Touring Partners include le Reseaux Festival petits bonheurs, Casteliers, Ottawa Children Festival (Sonia and Alfred), Niagara Children’s Festival (Cuckoo and Paper Playground).

https://weefestival.ca/2024-weefestival/

2024 WeeFestival of Arts & Culture for Early Years

Dates: May 10th - June 9th 2024
Venues: The Spadina Theatre of Alliance Française: 24 Spadina Rd. Toronto ON M5R 2S7
The Assembly Hall: 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Dr. Etobicoke, ON M8V 4B6
Tarragon Theatre ExtraSpace: 30 Bridgman Ave. Toronto ON M5R 1X3
Dance Arts Institute (Daniel's Spectrum) 585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON,
Alumnae Theatre 70 Berkeley St, Toronto, ON M5A 2W6
Tickets: $10 - $17 (including ticketing and box office fees)
Passes: 5-Show Passes $125/$200 and limited Full Festival Passes $300
Box Office: https://weefestival.ca/2024-box-office/
Festival Website: www.weefestival.ca