Blog: Festival Director's recommendations

17 May 2020


As life continues in lockdown for many of us and for some taking the first tentative steps out of restrictions, we thought it might be a great time to share some new digital adventures with you from around the world. The online viewing of live performance has become a much more accepted pathway to access the arts. Since March arts organisations around the world have taken to a range of digital platforms to share older productions but also newer creations for these special times. Here are just a few…

Artists Ideas for Children
Ideas Fund is a special initiative in response to the Coronavirus lockdown, to develop artist-led ideas and projects for children, families and schools while supporting artists in the sector with paid work. We are developing a range of ideas until the end of June to offer something for for all age groups including children with additional support needs, and are currently fundraising so we can offer the projects to as many young people as we can. You can explore all the ideas created so far here.

National Theatre of Scotland in association with Imaginate and Starcatchers, have launched a fun digital programme of interactive and entertaining workshops and activities for children, young people and their family, created by some of Scotland’s leading creative practitioners and freelance artists. Over the next eight weeks, a new Play Dates workshop will be released every day on their website and social media channels, for online audiences to access, take part in and enjoy, all free.

White (ages 2-4)
by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company
Thursday 28 - Saturday 30 May (various times)
For those living in the BST time zone White will be screened on Sat 30 May from 5-7pm. All other times listed on the link are Vancouver time.
White is Catherine Wheels Theatre Company's award-winning playful, highly visual show for children 2-4 yrs. A magical, captivating journey where surprises are revealed behind every birdhouse door and through each peep hole. Children will be swept away in this charming, perfectly paced and gentle story about change and acceptance. Watch the film on the Vancouver Festival's Facebook page.

The Polar Bears are turning 10! (ages 2-5)
Friday 29 May 15:00 (BST)
Big Polar Bear and Little Polar Bear invite you to celebrate a decade of fun and adventures at their very own virtual zoom birthday party. 
Join them, and special guest star DJ Polar Bear, for a spontaneous 45 minutes of dancing and silliness. Everyone's invited, just remember to BYOC (bring your own cake) and set a reminder. You don't want to be late to this party! For children and grown-up kids, make sure you follow the Polar Bears on social media where you'll find the link to join in the fun.

Anansi the Spider Re-spun (ages 3 – 8)
by Unicorn Theatre streamed in partnership with The Guardian
The Unicorn Theatre in London have announced their very first entirely digitally created theatre experience. Inspired by their 2019 show about the infamous mischief-maker and master spinner of yarns, the company have adapted these classic West African and Caribbean tales for an online platform. The cast will be filming themselves in their own homes.
There will be three episodes, streaming for free on YouTube and on The Guardian's website. One episode will be released every Saturday at 11am from 30 May, with each available on demand for the following three weeks. This fun online performance, featuring music, song and humour is an exciting new adventure is further supported by free downloadable activities for teachers to use (available by 20 May) and free creative activities for families. 

Papergee and the Spider (ages 5+)
Thursday 28 - Saturday 30 May
Come see Visible Fictions’ stop motion animation film at the Vancouver International Children's Festival. Follow the story of a lost little girl on a journey of epic proportions as she battles her way to safety in an unfamiliar place where everything towers above her. She must traverse the stairs, defeat the vaccuum and avoid the drain, but she’s not alone, an unlikely friend provides four pairs of helping hands and a lot of fun along the way. Watch the film on the Vancouver Festival's Facebook page.

Isolate > Create > Connect (ages 5-17)
Barking Gecko Theatre (Australia) in collaboration with ThinkArts (India) have created a great new digital initiative in response to COVID-19. Isolate > Create > Connect is a weekly video delivered by teaching artists online for 10 weeks. Children aged 5 to 17 are set a creative task inviting them to create a small artwork capturing their perspective on the world right now. Once their creation is complete and uploaded, a digital scrapbook of children’s creative responses will be created to reflect this unprecedented time in history. More information on how to participate here.

The Girl who Forgot to Sing Badly (ages 6+)
by Finegan Kruckemeyer
Theatre Lovett from Ireland
Peggy O’Hegarty and her parents are packers. They squeeze fruit into tins, foxes into boxes, even bikes into brown paper bags. And all the while Peggy sings with the voice of an angel – a grossly unfortunate angel, who can’t sing at all. But one day work stops working, and the jobs stop coming, and Peggy steps outside to find that winter has arrived… and everyone in her city has gone! Louis Lovett is an ingenious performer who leads the audience on an untamed adventure as Peggy desperately tries to save the day. We learn about love, loss, the reassurance of goats, and the courage to sing gloriously on or off-key. This show, which was performed at our 2011 Festival, is part of Sydney Opera House's new Digital Season including productions filmed on location in this iconic building. Free to view here.

A Piece of You (ages 7+)
by and with Greg Sinclair
A Piece of You is a live intimate and interactive performance for up to three people at a time; a private concert for you and your family. Award-winning performance artist, cellist and composer Greg Sinclair will turn your thoughts and feelings into your very own music score played on his cello, in this unique piece all about you. Each session will last 30 minutes. Places are very limited. Book your free place now on Evenbrite.

As The Crow Flies (ages 8+)
by Greg Sinclair 
Created in 2016 by award-winning artist Greg Sinclair with school children across Scotland and Belgium, this exciting performance celebrates human connections and differences between individual people in diverse locations. It features live music, digital technology with children taking centre stage through live streaming from Ghent and Dunoon, and interacting with the actor on stage. It is the culmination of a year-long digital arts project exploring the concept of instruction scores and graphic scores with artists, technical experts and young people all working together.
The performance was streamed live and is available to watch online with additional activities to create your own compositions.

The Great Illusionist (ages 8+)
By Het Filiaal from the Netherlands
Discover the enchanting tale of a young boy who longs to be an illusionist, in this story within a story. A tale of daring and willpower, the importance of a good assistant and of course, a white rabbit! Performed at our 2016 Festival, Het Filiaal are master storytellers and this work is no exception. Free to view here.

Frozen Light (PMLD)
Frozen Light in England who make multi-sensory theatre for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities have put together a list of engaging resources for young audiences with learning disabilities. It is an extensive list and updated regularly. More information here.