Stage Door News

Toronto: WeeFestival of Arts and Culture returns May 11-20

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

After three successful editions as a biennial event, the WeeFestival returns from May 11-20, 2019 marking its shift to an annual event! Launched in 2014, Toronto’s only international contemporary arts festival dedicated to early childhood, this year’s WeeFestival boasts a fully Canadian lineup from acclaimed theatres dedicated to young audiences.

The 2019 festival offers performances that will delight, stimulate, and inspire the youngest of theatre goers and their caregivers with music, theatre, puppetry, dance and aerial arts. This year, there is truly something for everyone – all designed with the needs and interests of children in their early childhood.  

Highlights of the 2019 WeeFestival Include:

●        The return of the popular Children’s Garden - a space filled with song, stories, and dance including Tricoter, an interactive performance hailing from Vancouver.

●        Accessible and Audio Described programming for children of All Abilities with performances of the aerial/circus performance Tweet Tweet! and Flying Hearts, a sensory-rich dance/theatre creation.

●        Mokatek and the Missing Star and Mwana and the Turtle’s Secret celebrating Indigenous and African cultural perspectives.

●        Holiday weekend and Victoria Day Monday Family programming featuring concerts, theatre, dance parties, and hands on activities for young children and their families.

Artistic Director Lynda Hill says: “Whether it is joining in the call and response songs of an African tale, swaying in the nests of magical birds, popping bubbles and counting stars, or dancing and tangling with a massive ball of yarn-the shows of the WeeFestival will deliver lasting memories for very young children and their grownups.

We have shows to enchant the very smallest of babies, intrepid toddlers, curious preschoolers and thoughtful kindergartners. The majority of performances take place in intimate settings and span in duration between 30 - 45 minutes which ensures a fully-engaging and stress-free arts experience for everyone.”

The festival will feature French language performances of Mokatek and the Missing Star (Mokatek et l’étoile disparue) and The Sandbox (Le Carré de Sable) as well as Audio Described performances of Tweet Tweet! and Flying Hearts which has as its focus, children of All Abilities including children with ASD.

In addition to performances over two weekends, the festival will engage children from daycare and school groups over the weekdays. Finally, on Victoria Day Monday, May 20, the festival will feature free music concerts by Jack and Cosima Grunskyas well as Singalong Tim and the Pacifiers, family dance events, and hands on crafts and activities.

Reaching Neighbourhoods in the East, West, and Beyond!

For the 2019 edition, the WeeFestival will engage audiences in venues located in Toronto’s East End, Etobicoke, and on tour with performances in Hamilton, St. Catharines, Aurora as well as Winnipeg, Kenora, Dryden, and Sioux Lookout.

Venues include the Assembly Hall at Lakeshore and Kipling with performances taking place in the theatre and throughout the complex; the Redwood Theatre at Gerrard and Greenwood, a newly restored former vaudeville theatre circa 1914, the studio of Le Théâtre français de Toronto in the heart of College Park, and the Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy in Thorncliffe Park.

The WeeFestival is grateful for the generous support of Canadian Heritage through the Arts Presentation Canada Program, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. We are also proud to work with our numerous partners to make the WeeFestival possible: the Assembly Hall and the City of Toronto, The Redwood Theatre, CUPE 4400 and The Toronto Education Workers, Prologue to the Performing Arts, and The Little Paper.  The WeeFestival’s Francophone Programme partner is Le Théâtre français de Toronto.

2019 Festival Lineup (in order of appearance)

Performances in English unless otherwise noted.

• Flying Hearts
Theatre Direct and WeeFestival
May 11 – May 15
The Redwood Theatre, 1300 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Ages 2+ and all children of All Abilities

Join four friends as they set off on an imagination adventure through the sights, sounds, and textures of earth, water, air, and light! Flying Hearts is an Inclusive and Relaxed Performance that combines dance, theatre and music in a multi-sensory and interactive dance/theatre creation that promises a rich and stimulating arts experience for young audiences of All Abilities.

May 11 | 14h & 16h
May 12 | 11h & 14h (14h performance with Audio Description)
May 14 | 10h & 12h30
May 15 | 10h & 12h30

• Mokotek and the Missing Star (Mokatek et l’étoile disparue)
Productions Ondinnok and VOX Théâtre
May 14 – 16
The Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Etobicoke
Ages 2.5 – 6

For little Mokatek, counting the stars to fall asleep every night is a real pleasure. He likes to tell his days to the one that shines the most in the sky, the North Star. At bedtime, the night of the summer solstice, the star of the North is gone, it has disappeared. This is the beginning of an initiatory journey to find the brilliant star.

May 14 | 10h & 11h30 (in French)
May 15 | 10h & 11h30 (in English)
May 16 | 10h & 11h30 (in French)

• The Sandbox (Le Carré de Sable)
Tenon Mortaise
May 16 – 19
Théâtre français de Toronto, Studio 21, 21 College Street, Toronto
Puppetry/clown/shadow puppetry
Ages 2- 6

The Sandbox mingles puppetry, object theatre, clown and shadow puppetry to take children on a playful and poetic journey  filled with short stories conceived from the discovery of the five senses.

May 16 | 10h (in English)
May 17 | 10h & 11h30 (in English)
May 18 | 11h & 16h (in English)
May 19 | 14h (in French)

Femmes de Feu
May 17 – 20
The Redwood Theatre, 1300 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
Aerial arts/circus
Ages 0 – 6

TWEET TWEET! is a feast for the eyes and ears. Two little birds asleep in their nests high in a magical tree awake and discover each other and a wondrous world around them. An aerial arts and circus creation for young children performed in an intimate forest-like setting.

May 17 | 10h
May 18 | 11h & 16h
May 19 | 11h & 14h (14h performance with Audio Description)
May 20 | 11h

• Mwana and the Turtle’s Secret
Theatre L’Envers
May 17 – 19
The Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Etobicoke
Puppetry/storytelling/shadow puppetry
Ages 3+

A beautiful story, spun from an African tale told with music, puppetry, and performance about a courageous young girl who saves her village. A theatrical journey about bravery, love and friendship.

May 17 | 10h & 13h
May 18 | 14h & 16h
May 19 | 11h

• Tricoter
Foolish Operations
May 18 – 20
The Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Etobicoke
All ages

Come weave a yarn with us! Tricoter is an interactive dance show for all ages that re-creates the spirit of a knitting circle with colourful balls of yarn, live music, and lots of fun!

May 18 | 11h & 13h & 15h
May 19 | 10h & 13h & 15h
May 20 | 10h & 13h & 15h

Puzzle Theatre
May 20 (multiple showings)
The Assembly Hall, 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive, Etobicoke
Ages 3+

It’s bedtime but sleep is the last thing on this restless fellow’s mind. Besides, how can he sleep when the pillow and blankets have minds of their own and his pajamas want to dance? Performer Csaba Raduly thrills all ages with his puppetry and physical comedy. This inventive and super-funny performance is the perfect way to close our festival before everyone heads home for a snooze!

May 20 | 11h & 14h

• Hare & Tortoise
Carousel Players
School performances only
Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy
Ages 3 – 7

Hare & Tortoise is a whimsical retelling of Aesop’s fable about two friends who have opposite approaches to absolutely everything.

Performances of Hare & Tortoise are dedicated to the students of Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy in Thorncliffe Park made possible by a generous donation from an anonymous patron.

How to Get Tickets

2019 WeeFestival

Theatre and Culture for Early Years

May 11-20, 2019

Presented by Theatre Direct


The Assembly Hall
The Redwood Theatre
Théâtre français de Toronto

Public Tickets: $12.50 to $15