Some of the performance groups at this year’s Surrey Children’s Festival include Les Moutons by CORPUS (above), and Mini-Masterpieces interactive comedy theatre and A La Belle Étoile, a puppet performance from Quebec (below).

A time to shine at Surrey Children’s Festival

Now in its eighth year, annual event May 24-26 promises to bring out the kid in everyone.

The largest children’s festival this side of the Fraser is just around the corner.

And according to Coun. Judy Villeneuve, this year’s Surrey Children’s Festival will be the most interactive and hands on yet.

“Kids will have more opportunities to express themselves than ever before,” she said.

Now in its eighth year, the theme for this year’s three-day event is  “Your Turn to Shine.”

Children can expect a full day of fun, as they participate in a variety of games, workshops and performances.

Kids are encouraged to discover and build confidence in their inner artistic skill and creative abilities, said one of the festival organizers, Marie-Soleil Bergeron.

“It’s an opportunity for the kids to showcase their talents,” she said.

New this year is the digital tapestry, where kids create illustrations on digital tablets, which are then projected onto large screens.

“Kids get really excited about the interactivity,” said Villeneuve, who chairs the city’s arts, culture and development committee.

This year’s festival also features world class national and international performances.

À La Belle Étoile is a multilingual puppet show, adapted from Hansel and Gretel.

The award-winning interactive physical comedy group CORPUS will also be performing this year.

Chinese acrobat Li Liu will showcase extraordinary acrobatics, while touching on various aspects of Chinese culture.

Arthur L’Aventurier will present L’Oeil de Cristal, a french musical with an environmental message and Mini Masterpieces will perform their adaptations of several known literary stories.

The Gizmo Guys will perform Objects in Motion, their comedy juggling act and as well, the local youth circus group Cirque Surrey will also make an appearance.

The wide array of performances are “the soul of the festival,” said Bergeron.

In addition to ticketed shows, there are plenty of free performances by local and emerging talent on the Community Spirit Stage. And jugglers, stilt walkers, clowns, mimes, ventriloquists, costumed creatures and more will be roving on site all day, every day.

Workshops include a contemporary dance master class, a movement workshop and a puppet workshop.

Attendees are also encouraged to join the free Festival Procession in front of the Spirit Stage on Saturday (May 26) at 12:30 p.m.

Villeneuve said if the turnout is anything like last year, about 18,000 people will take in the festival, in addition to the 300 mostly youth volunteers.

“The festival is a time for the community to come together,” Villeneuve said. “It really adds to the cultural fabric of the society.”

The eighth-annual Surrey Children’s Festival runs May 24-26 at the Surrey Arts Centre and Bear Creek Park.

More information, including a full schedule of events and ticket prices, can be found at

www.surrey.ca/childrenfestival

Surrey Now Leader

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