Stage Door News
Toronto: WeeFestival: Arts and Culture for Early Years announces its 2022 programme
Thursday, April 28, 2022
The WeeFestival of Arts & Culture for Early Years, Toronto’s only festival of its kind, will return with live, in-person performances in Toronto, the GTA & Ontario this May 31st to June 12th.
In what will be the 6th edition since the festival was launched in 2014, the WeeFestival will offer over fifty performances and events for children newborn to six years old. The two-week dynamic and diverse program of unforgettable first theatre experiences feature music, dance, and puppetry performances in English, French, and with no words at all!
A feature of the 2022 edition is the number of new works for very young children created by Canadian artists. These include the English and French language premiere of Yassama and the Beaded Calabash by acclaimed dance artist Lua Shayenne, co-presented and developed with the support of Théâtre français de Toronto, The Friendship Star by Cheri Maracle and HauNodi from the duo of Rubena Sinha and Diana Tso.
Renowned Irish theatre maker Anna Newell brings her ensemble to share the transformative I Am Baba for infants newborn to 12 months in performances dedicated to new parents engaged through the festival’s outreach program. For children up to 24 months, the festival welcomes back the dance performance Tricoter (Bébé) from Vancouver’s Foolish Operations.
WeeFestival continues its tradition of featuring inventive puppetry arts with the productions of Wood from Puzzle Theatre, The Sandbox from Tenon Mortaise, Mer Océane from le Chemin qui Marche, and Letters from Painting Town from Valise Theatre, all hailing from Quebec.
The 2022 WeeFestival Spark Arts digital series will reach students in their classroom in Toronto and beyond with four productions, each of which is offered as an inspiration to spark unique artistic projects for the classroom. The Spark Arts series includes Früh Stück from Germany’s Helios Theatre, KACA CAKA: The Mirror from Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre, Doodle Pop! from South Korea’s Brush Theatre, and WeeFestival Yassama and the Beaded Calabash from Lua Shayenne.
Artistic Director Lynda Hill says: “Young children need art now, more than ever and so I couldn’t be more excited to share this edition of the WeeFestival with them. Theatre for Early Years offers such a rich aesthetic experience for its intended audience. Whether it is a story told without words using music, gestures, objects, and images or through songs and stories rooted in rich cultural traditions, I’ve curated a programme that honour the capacities of children to engage with sophisticated artistic proposals while speaking directly to them with themes and content relevant to their present lives.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory has offered warm thanks to WeeFestival for “creating an event that focuses on a child's social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. I am delighted that wonderful events like these are taking place in Toronto.”
The WeeFestival will take place at Toronto’s Factory Theatre, AKI Studio and Alliance Française and The Assembly Hall (Etobicoke), as well as with network partners Theatre Aquarius (Hamilton) and the Aurora Cultural Centre (Aurora).
In partnership with Alliance française and the festival’s francophone programme partner, Théâtre francais de Toronto, the WeeFestival will reach Francophone and Francophile families and students.
In addition to the featured performances, WeeFestival will offer a range of family events, concerts and children’s author and illustrator series. Other activities will include professional development workshops for educators and artists and conference programming for professionals.
Accessibility and Inclusion
All WeeFestival performances are presented in a “Relaxed” format which means there are no loud noises, no blackouts, and while each show is between 30 and 45 minutes, children who need to take a break should feel free to do so. Visual Stories are available to support your child’s visit to festival venues, feature performances and the overall festival experience. ASL and Audio Description are available for select performances. Service animals are permitted. Complimentary companion tickets are available. All WeeFestival venues rented for this event are wheelchair accessible with the exception of the rehearsal hall at Factory Theatre which requires guests to climb a flight of stairs from the second floor which can be accessed by elevator.
Tickets are on sale now at www.weefestival.ca or by calling 416.524-6261.
For general information regarding the 2022 edition of the Weefestival please visit www.weefestival.ca.