A world of fun for kids of all ages

Kids fest

You’ll believe a man can fly—and somersault backwards while drinking a glass of water balanced on his forehead—when Tomás Kubínek performs at this year’s International Children’s Festival.

The Philadelphia International Children’s Festival, the oldest performing arts festival for children in the United States, returns to the Annenberg Center May 1 through 5, featuring more than 70 performances.

The featured events include plays from England, Germany, Canada and Scotland, drummers and dancers from the Congo Republic, magic, juggling, comedy and vaudeville from Canada and folksinging and marionettes from the United States.

In addition, there is the PlayWorks crafts festival, free with a ticket to any festival show, and the free-for-all StageWorks performances featuring local artists on the Annenberg Center’s outdoor plaza. The schedule of featured performers appears below.

For faculty and staff

There’s also a special event for faculty and staff this year—an opening night picnic, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, in the Annenberg Center plaza. The $6 picnic ticket also includes admission to the festival’s special opening night performance, hosted by NBC10’s Renee Chenault-Fattah.

Visitors’ package deals

Your out-of-town friends and relatives can also take advantage of the festival’s “Funtastical Family Weekend in Philly” package, which includes admission to two festival shows plus admission discounts to the Philadelphia Zoo, the Please Touch Museum and the New Jersey State Aquarium.

Ticket prices for festival feature performances are $10 each for the first show and $6 each for additional shows, up to the number purchased for the first show. For tickets and information about all festival events and tour packages, visit www.pennpresents.org or call 215-898-3900.

square.gifCIRCO COMMEDIA: The Canadian duo of John Saucier and Mr. Smythe have wowed audiences around the world with their juggling, acrobatics and clowning. Wednesday, May 1, at 10 a.m.; Thursday, May 2, at noon; Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. and Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. and noon in Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St.

square.gif“MARTHA”: Scotland’s Catherine Wheels presents this tale of an eccentric recluse who zealously guards her privacy in a beach shack, interrupted only by the occasional visit from an understandably nervous postman. Wednesday, May 1, at 10 a.m.; Thursday, May 2, at noon; Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m. and Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, at noon and 4 p.m. in the Harold Prince Theatre, Annenberg Center.

square.gif“MATTHEW AND STEPHEN”: One of two plays dealing with the subject of illness and loss (see also “Walking the Tightrope” below), this Canadian production tells the story of friendship between two loners, one a newcomer and the other a boy taken out of school because of an illness that frightens those around him. Wednesday, May 1, at 10 a.m.; Thursday, May 2, at noon; Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m.; Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. and noon and Sunday, May 5 at 2 and 4 p.m. at the Iron Gate Theatre, 3700 Chestnut St.

square.gifCASHORE MARIONETTES: Acclaimed artist Joseph Cashore has enchanted audiences on three continents with his marionettes, who portray scenes from everyday life with subtlety and precision. Wednesday, May 1, at 10 a.m.; Thursday, May 2, at noon; Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m.; Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, at noon and 2 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, Annenberg Center.

square.gifTOM CHAPIN: Billboard magazine has called the folk singer “one of those natural-born entertainers who, with nothing more than a guitar in hand, can totally captivate.” Wednesday, May 1, at 10 a.m.; Thursday, May 2, at noon; Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m.; Saturday, May 4, at noon and 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 at noon and 2 p.m. at International House, 3701 Chestnut St.

square.gif“SNOW WHITE”: German puppeteer-actor Matthias Kuchta gets up close and personal with the audience in this intimate adaptation of the Grimm Brothers fairy tale. Wednesday, May 1, at noon; Thursday, May 2, at 10 a.m.; Friday, May 3, at noon; Saturday, May 4, at noon and 2 p.m. and Sunday, May 5, at noon and 4 p.m. in Space 221, Annenberg Center.

square.gifTHE DRUMMERS OF BRAZZA: Emile Biayende’s troupe from the Republic of the Congo weaves the rhythmic and dance traditions of the country’s more than 50 different ethnic groups together with modern Western influences. Wednesday, May 1, at noon; Thursday, May 2, at 10 a.m.; Friday, May 3, at noon and Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center.

square.gif“WALKING THE TIGHTROPE”: This new play about illness and loss from England tells the story of the first summer six-year-old Esme spends without her grandmother and her grandfather’s inability to explain Grandma’s death to her. (For another play on illness and loss, see “Matthew and Stephen” above.) Wednesday, May 1, at noon; Thursday, May 2, at 10 a.m.; Friday, May 3, at noon; Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m. in the Harold Prince Theatre, Annenberg Center.

square.gifTOMÁS KUBINEK: This “certified lunatic and master of the impossible” has also been called “the wildest thing to fly out of Canada since geese.” His one-man show features a host of surreal stunts. Saturday, May 4, at 4 p.m. and Sunday, May 5, at noon and 4 p.m. in Zellerbach Theatre, Annenberg Center.

Originally published on April 25, 2002