KidsFest 2014


Kids sprawling around with post-Christmas blues? No fear, KidsFest is here! Kerrie Hui explores what’s on offer during this month of great children’s theatre, featuring actors from London’s West End 

The third time’s the trick in convincing the kids to embrace the cultural opus that KidsFest has to offer. This year, Hong Kong’s largest children’s theatre festival brings to life the beloved characters of best-selling literary works in nine adaptations at the Drama Theatre in The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts throughout January and February. Brought together by international theatre company ABA Productions, this year ‘is the largest ever edition’, according to Matthew Gregory, executive producer. “I truly hope the newly added festive elements can bring better fun to our young audiences for enjoying drama and learning English, while also getting a taste of culture through it,” he says. We’re pretty sure that the kids will get a buzz out of all this top-quality theatre. 


Gruffalo (Jan 29-Feb 7) / The Gruffalo’s Child (Feb 2-16)

Tall Stories take audiences on a musical journey based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning book Gruffalo (Jan 29-Feb 7). It tells a tale of Mouse, who comes face to face in the deep dark woods with the very terrifying creature he created to scare away hungry animals. In its sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child (Feb 2-16) the story continues with a twist – this time it seems the Gruffalo-forbidden deep dark woods holds a fictional Big Bad Mouse. Imaginations will be tested.


The Boy Who Cried Wolf (Jan 23-26)

A boy standing on a hilltop lets his creativity run wild. Seeking the thrill of the unknown, he cries wolf – we all know what happens in the end of this famous Aesop fable, but what happens when you mix in an ensemble of actor musicians? Find out with tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal in The Boy Who Cried Wolf (Jan 23-26), written by Mike Kenny.


The Snow Dragon (Jan 16-19)

KidsFest has some woods, KidsFest has some wolves. So what happens when KidsFest has some wolves in some woods? Tall Stories and Billy the goat will fill youngsters with wonder when he escapes from this tricky situation and meets The Snow Dragon (Jan 16-19), a legend who brings goodies to the nice, not naughty, based on Toby Mitchell and Anna Lewenhaupt’s picture book.


We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (Feb 3-16)

If the kids are feeling a bit more audacious and they’re not afraid to catch a big one, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (Feb 3-16) is the perfect show for the family. Set to Benji Bower’s lively score and Michael Rosen’s award-winning book of the same name, expect to be caught hands on in some cheeky catchy tunes and swishy swashy adventures on this interactive stage quest to find a bear, directed by Sally Cookson.


What the Ladybird Heard (Feb 5-15)

What the Ladybird Heard (Feb 5-15) is KidsFest’s glittery family treat with live music, puppetry and a whole farmyard of fun when two crafty robbers’ cunning plan to steal the farmer’s prized cow go head to head with the Ladybird’s own plan! This new stage adaptation by KW & NB Ltd is of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ colourful farmyard adventure, and will have you chortling like the hairy hog!


Private Peaceful (Jan 15-18)

Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful (Jan 15-18), winner of the 2005 Blue Peter Book of the Year Award, brings a touching, retrospective piece for a change. Scamp Theatre, alongside Simon Reade, regales the story of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier who looks back at his life – from growing up to falling in love – on his final day. The kids learn a thing or two about the injustices of battle and war in this one.


Terrible Tudors (Jan 17-25) / Awful Egyptians (Jan 18-26)

For more history-infused theatre without the heaviness, Horrible Histories (they’re not that horrible, we promise) will entertain and educate youngsters from the Henries to the end of evil Elizabeth. This is the Terrible Tudors (Jan 17-25), which expects you to participate along while they take Henry’s headless wives, the Pope and the Spanish Armada into the audience. But they’re not done with you yet – far from it! The Pharaohs of old, or rather the meanest mummies in town, want to say hello as you pass the Gates of the Afterlife into Awful Egyptians (Jan 18-26). Kerrie Hui

KidsFest Jan 15-Feb 16. HKAPA,  1 Gloucester Rd, Wan Chai, 2547 7150; $395-$195.  

View the full schedule here.


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