Surrey’s festival for kids features award-winning shows for three days in May

The 15th annual fest includes seven tickets performances at Bear Creek Park and Surrey Arts Centre

Surrey International Children’s Festival, billed as “the only arts-based children’s festival this side of the Fraser River,” gets going Thursday, May 23, and continues until Saturday, May 25.

The three-day event is filled with a variety of ticketed and free shows and activities at Bear Creek Park and Surrey Arts Centre.

The mission: “To inspire young hearts and minds to greater possibilities, and to celebrate our rich and diverse cultural heritage through performing and visual arts experiences,” according to a post at surrey.ca/childrensfestival.

This year, the 15th annual festival will feature award-winning performers from Scotland, the U.S., Quebec and B.C., offering theatre, magic, music and more on five stages – three indoor and two outdoor.

CLICK HERE for the full festival schedule.

Among ticketed shows, the 2019 lineup includes Li Liu’s Traditions of Chinese Acrobatics, theatre shows The Man Who Planted Trees and Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, musicians Élage Diouf and Will Stroet’s Will’s Jams, the all-female drumming group Sawagi Taiko and magician Rod Boss.

PERFORMER VIDEOS: Theatre, music and magic at Surrey International Children’s Festival in May.

Also, on Saturday (May 25) starting at 3 p.m., a Fashion Machine is “part installation, part performance and all fun,” produced by Victoria’s Theatre SKAM. The event sees kids “dare brave audience members (among those wearing ‘I’m in!’ stickers) to have the clothes they’re wearing re-imagined while they wait. The stage becomes an open workshop where you can witness the cutting and sewing as old garments quickly become new looks. When time is up, the participating audience members don their newly remade outfits for a fashion show.”

Among free shows, Ginalina will bring “bilingual, interactive, feel-good music and a mini uke jam” to the festival’s library tent on Saturday, May 25, with shows at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. The Vancouver-based singer-songwriter, a two-time Juno Award nominee, describes herself as an independent West Coast Canadian-Taiwanese artist “who writes joyful, playful and inspiring songs celebrating nature, family, community and the value of children.”

The festival’s hands-on arts activities will include nature play, clay arts, face painting, storytelling and music making.

Site access and some activities are free at the festival, while the seven featured shows and other activities are ticketed. Ticket prices range from $7 to $15. Tickets to individual performances are available Thursday and Friday, and Saturday Festival Passes ($12-$15) are available for all-day access to shows and activities.

For tickets and more festival details, visit surrey.ca/childrensfestival or call 604-501-5566.

As part of this year’s event, a three-day “Cultural Sharing Exchange” will involve students from the rural Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation of Alberta to connect with urban Indigenous children attending Lena Shaw Elementary in Surrey.

“It’s about sharing experiences and culture, and building friendships with all Nations in the Four Directions,” Perrin explained. “Close to 150 people – children, students and teachers – will spend one day at Lena Shaw Elementary and two days at the Surrey International Children’s Festival.”


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