30th Annual Philadelphia International Children's Festival Set for 4/30-5/4

30th Annual Philadelphia International Children's Festival Set for 4/30-5/4

Showcasing outstanding children's theatre, puppetry and live music from around the world, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts celebrates the 30th birthday of its Philadelphia International Children's Festival this spring. From April 30 through May 4, children and families are invited to take part in one of the region's most magical festivals - from lively marionettes and electroluminescent ducklings to face-painting and juggling in the FUN ZONE, the Children's Festival is perfect for young kids and the young at heart.

In an exciting collaboration with Philadelphia-based nonprofit PAPAYA (PA Performing Arts for Young Audiences), Australia's Patch Theatre Company brings the quirky, fanciful Me and My Shadow, a visual poem about a girl who finds a way to be friends with her shadow. Using paper, light, water, sound and words, Me and My Shadow seeks to explore the frustrations and joys of true friendship. Another story of companionship, The Snail and the Whale follows a tiny snail who hitches a ride on the tail of a humpback whale. Performed by London's Tall Stories children's theatre company, The Snail and the Whale was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe and The Independent called the production "delightful, funny and imaginative."

Other performances include Lightwire Theater's electroluminescent puppetry in The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise & the Hare; marionettes capturing the beauty of everyday life in The Cashore Marionettes' Simple Gifts; the one-man silent comedy Snowflake by Gale LaJoy; and an exploration of hip-hop and classical music in We Shall Not Be Moved: the Hip H'opera Project, locally produced by Opera Philadelphia and Art Sanctuary. (Full schedule of events follows below.)

Featuring a host of engaging, hands-on activities for the whole family, all ticket holders are invited to visit the Children's Festival FUN ZONE, open at 9 AM on weekdays and 10 AM on weekends. Located on the Annenberg Center's Outdoor Plaza, the FUN ZONE will offer arts and crafts, face painting and a variety of performances, from juggling to live music and more. The FUN ZONE is free to all ticket holders.

Founded by University of Pennsylvania alumna Catherine Marshall, the Philadelphia International Children's Festival was the first of its kind in the country, providing Philadelphia-area families with an easy and affordable way to experience the artistry of international performance and visual arts. Attracting more than 15,000 children and their families each year, the eagerly anticipated springtime tradition aims to build the arts and culture audiences of the future.

Individual performance tickets cost $10 for weekdays and $12 for weekends and include admission to the FUN ZONE; an Opening Night Special ($5) is available for April 30 and includes a pre-show party with light fare (5:30 PM) and performance of Me and My Shadow (6:30 PM).

Also available: special group rates; a $30 Weekend Fun Pass good for three separate performances on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4; and $5 PNC rush tickets available to West Philadelphia residents for weekend shows. For more information, call 215.898.3900 or visit annenbergcenter.org.

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