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EQT Children's Theater Festival Returns To Pittsburgh's Cultural District This May

Celebrating 38 years of high-quality professional theater for all ages.

By: Feb. 16, 2024
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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces the 38th annual EQT Children's Theater Festival, returning to Pittsburgh's Cultural District, May 17-19, 2024, offering three days of the world's best youth theater. Seven outstanding shows – from companies based in South Korea, Canada, New York, and beyond – invite audiences to discover unlikely friendships, stories of freedom, and mystifying adventures where theater and magic meet.

Tickets to the festival's seven featured performances are on sale now at Additional free activities and performances by regional artists and community organizations will be announced later this spring, rounding out a lineup of family-friendly attractions in Pittsburgh's Cultural District that attracts thousands of guests each spring.

“This year, we are excited to welcome an array of award-winning professional theater companies who will create lasting memories for audiences of all ages with their incredible, engaging performances,” said Pam Komar, Director of Programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “We encourage everyone to experience the joy of live theater in the Cultural District, including special sensory-friendly presentations. We also extend our appreciation to presenting sponsor EQT and all our community partners for helping to make this festival possible.”

In addition to, guests can learn more and purchase tickets by calling the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Guest Services team at 412-456-6666 or visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

About the 2024 EQT Children's Theater Festival's Featured Events:

  • $12 tickets per show ($11 ea. when buying two shows; $10 ea. when buying three or more shows)
  • Groups 10+ discounts available ($10 for first show; $5 when buying two or more shows)

Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster

May 17-19 @ 10 am; May 19 @ 3:30 pm

Byham Theater

When the unscary monster Leonardo finds Sam, the most scaredy-cat kid in the world, will he finally get to scare the tuna salad out of someone or will it be the start of an unlikely friendship? Watch it unfold as colorful puppets & props bring the work of Mo Willems to life. Manual Cinema (USA). Ages 3+. Sensory-friendly performance: May 19 @ 3:30 pm. Part of the Cultural Trust's Children's Theater Series.

Sunjata Kamalenya

May 17 @ 10 am; May 18 & 19 @ 1 pm

August Wilson African American Cultural Center

Celebrate the spirit of determination and the love of family despite impossible odds in this participative tale based on the beloved story of the Lion King. Guided by a storyteller, audiences are whisked away to 13th-century Mali as traditional music, costumes, and scenery chronicle the story of a boy destined to be the leader of the West African Mande peoples. Experiential Theater Company (USA). Ages 5+.

Finding North

May 17 @ 10 am; May 18 @ 3 pm; May 19 @ 10:30 am

Highmark Theatre at Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse

The strivings, sacrifices, and dreams of former enslaved man John P. Parker are brought to life in this one-person performance by Daniel Carlton. Drawing on historical research and oral history, Parker's stories blend with other contemporary community members searching for haven, captivating the audience with conversations of prejudice, privilege, and freedom in America. David Gonzalez and Daniel Carlton (USA). Ages 7+. Sensory-friendly performance: May 19 @ 10:30 am. Part of the Cultural Trust's Bridge Theater Series.

Poli POP: May 17 @ 10:30 am; May 18 & 19 @ 11:30 am; PNC Theatre at Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse | Siblings Poli and Pola don't want to go to sleep. While playing with toys to compete for the leader of the room, imagination takes over, and they embark on a surreal and colorful journey of surprise and joy through faraway islands, roaring seas, busy cities, and more. But what they don't know is something lurking in the shadows...what will they do? Brush Theatre (South Korea). Ages 3+.


May 17-19 @ 10 am, 1 pm, & 4 pm

Trust Arts Education Center

Psst… have you heard? The bloom is back — it's time to play! Frolic is meant to spark fun in a sensory-friendly space created for and with neurodivergent audiences ages 5 and up and their families. Grow small with Phoebe the Gardner and her pal Lionel the Glow Worm as they travel from her backyard oasis to a magical garden. Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, in partnership with Jumping Jack Theater and Omaha's Rose Theater (USA). Ages 5+ and neurodivergent audiences. All performances are sensory-friendly. Due a very limited capacity, tickets for Frolic will be available on a first-come first-served inquiry basis to ensure those who may benefit most from this show receive access.

Waves, All That Glows Sees

May 17 @ 10 am; May 18 & 19 @ 10:30 am, 1 pm, & 4 pm

Trust Arts Education Center

Follow a little pathway of shells and stones around a giant tent made of sheets. You can hear someone playing a harmonica. People may be already inside the tent. They want you to come and see, so you go in. When you're inside the tent, it's enjoyable. It's warm, but there's a tiny breeze. A little melody makes your heart beat more calmly. The light is gentle, like that of the setting sun. Inside, a tall man is dreaming of the sea. He makes sand appear, then turtles, seagulls, fish, dune grass, the sky, boats, and time that passes. The man plays at hiding in the depths of the water. He becomes a treasure that waits. And waits. And waits for you. Beside him, another tall man makes music and lets his voice float over the ocean. To wait is to hope, and this happens often. It happens all the time, to little kids and to grown-ups, too. Le Theatre des Confettis (Canada). Ages 18 months through 4 years.

Mr. Messado's School of Magic for the Young and Young at Heart: May 17 & 18 @ 11 am; May 19 @ 11 am & 2 pm; Liberty Magic | Forget everything you know about magicians pulling rabbits out of top hats. Mr. Messado's Magic School for the Young and Young at Heart will have both teens and adults amazed from start to finish. This 60-minute spectacular, featuring a combination of stunning magic and clean comedy, is full of interactive wonder. Whether it be shouting the magic words from the comfort of your seats or coming up on stage to be trained as a magical assistant, every party member will actively participate throughout the show. Part of the Cultural Trust's Liberty Magic Series.

By making a gift to support the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and this year's festival, you help us bring the very best of international children's theater to Pittsburgh. Your generosity helps us keep this festival affordable and accessible for all families in Pittsburgh. Plus, you get some amazing membership benefits to enhance your visit to the festival, and other Cultural Trust activities throughout the year. Learn more at


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