EQT kids’ theater festival draws talent from around the globe
Cyril Lancelin, an artist and architect from Lyon, France, is known for using random shapes in exaggerated proportions to create unique immersive installations.
The world premiere of his “circle circle circle,” a colorful 15-foot-tall cube of oversized rings creating a maze to walk through, will be located on Penn Avenue and Seventh Street in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District to attract attention to the 33rd annual EQT Children’s Theater Festival May 16-19.
Pamela Komar, director of theater, music and youth programming for Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, said she saw another project by Lancelin in Philadelphia and knew she had to bring him to Pittsburgh.
“I was really taken by his work,” she said.
Lancelin has created or is working on other temporary installations, including in Cleveland, an exhibition in Los Angeles and sculptures for public spaces in Krakow and Dubai.
His “circle circle circle” in Pittsburgh will be open during festival hours for all four days, Komar said. The world premiere is made possible by the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment.The EQT Children’s Theater Festival presented by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust will continue its tradition of offering family friendly professional theater performances from around the world, in addition to 50 free hands-on activities, workshops and pop-up performances for kids of all ages from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 16 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17-19 in the Cultural District.
“It’s such a diverse event,” Komar says. “The heart and soul of the festival is the featured events that we’re able to complement with activities related to current or future performances.”
The ticketed performances are by six award-winning theater companies from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark and Mexico, along with two from the United States. Tickets for each of the featured shows are $12, or $10 each for two shows, $9 each for three shows, $8 each for four or more.
The shows include:
• “Emily Brown and the Thing,” Tall Stories (United Kingdom), about Emily Brown and her rabbit Stanley, who find a Thing outside her window and set off to find everything he needs to stop crying — but nothing seems to help.
Performances: 10 a.m. May 16-19, 2:15 p.m. May 17, 12:15 p.m. May 18 and 2:30 p.m. May 19 at the August Wilson Center. Best for ages 3 and older.
• “Murikamification,” Arch 8 (Netherlands), the magical, surrealistic stories of Haruki Murakami come to life with the intensely physical and absurd performance throughout Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
Performances: 10:30 a.m. May 16 and 19, 11:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. May 17, 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. May 18, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 19 at the Agnes R. Katz Plaza. Ages 7 and up.
• “Air Play,” Acrobuffos (United States), a circus-style adventure of two siblings journeying through a surreal world, with flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons and giant kites floating over the audience.
Performances: 11:45 a.m. May 17, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (sensory-friendly performance) May 18, and 12:45 p.m. May 19 at the Byham Theater. All ages.
• “Fly,” Theater Patrasket (Denmark), a poetic journey into a circus universe with strange characters, big emotions and captivating puppet imagery.
Performances: 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. May 16, 10:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. May 17, 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. May 18, 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. May 19 at Trust Arts Education Center. Ages 5 and older.
• “Sky and Stone,” Teatro al Vacio (Mexico), a stone falls from the sky and sparks curiosity, exploration and play for babies and toddlers.
Performances: 10:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. May 16, 10 a.m., 12:15 and 3 p.m. May 17, 18 and 19 at Trust Arts Education Center. Ages 1-4.
• “Sons of Mystro,” Sons of Mystro (United States), the pair use their violins to interpret reggae classics, American pop songs and their own creations accompanied by beats, and sometimes a DJ and guitarist.
Performances: 12:15 p.m. May 17, 3 p.m. May 18 and 12:15 p.m. May 19 at the August Wilson Center. Ages 5 through adult.
Komar encourages families to take in more than one event during the festival.
“It’s a fun way to learn and experience some time together,” she says. “There’s also so many ways to connect with people in the community. It’s new conversations to have, new friends to be made.”
Details: 412-456-6666 or trustarts.org
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.