EQT Children’s Theater Festival will take place May 12-15

Teatro al Vacio_Peek. Photo by Asoma RicardoThe EQT Children’s Theater Festival will be held May 12-15 in the Cultural District, downtown Pittsburgh. The EQT Children’s Theater Festival features ticketed performances by seven award winning theater companies from Canada, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Scotland and the United States. Festival goers can enjoy over 35 free things to see and do, including hands-on activities, public art and music at a variety of outdoor pop-up green spaces and indoor lobbies located through the Cultural District. New festival event locations in the Cultural District have been added including EQT Plaza (625 Liberty Avenue), August Wilson Center and Trust Arts Education Center.

Air Play by Acrobuffos (United States) – All Ages | 60 minutes – Venue: Byham Theater, 101 6th Street – Air Play performance on Saturday, May 14 at 1:30 p.m. is sensory-friendly.

Air Play is a comic adventure on an epic scale. It’s an innovative and spectacular new show for audiences of all ages. Created by the world famous comedic duo from New York City, Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, Air Play packs small, plays big and successfully merges the high art of Daniel Wurtzel’s extraordinary air sculptures with Seth and Christina’s crowd-pleasing comedy.

Acrobuffos join their hilarious comedy with the beauty of artist Daniel Wurtzel’s air sculptures, creating a wordless spectacle for international audiences that is equally at home in both the circus and modern art museum.

Air Play is an intended pun. Besides physically playing with air, the show soundtrack spins the radio dial creating an auditory “air play”. Drawn from the extensive world travels of Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, Air Play’s music encompasses Balkan gypsy music, Nordic boys’ choirs, symphony orchestras, Italian avant-garde, Appalachian ballads, and more.

Flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons, kites that float over the audience and the biggest snow globe you’ve ever seen will make you gasp in wonder and laugh until it hurts. Air Play is a visual poem to childhood, to the rite of passage in growing up while continuing to look at the world in childlike wonder.

Peek by Teatro al Vacio (Mexico) – Ages 0-3 and their grown-ups* | 30 minutes – Location: August Wilson Center, Studio, 980 Liberty Avenue

Babies and toddlers are welcomed into a space created just for them filled with eye-catching colors and textures. The adventure begins as a game. It is a place from which to discover and understand the world. A space to communicate and connect with others both big and small. A young one’s grown-ups will be delighted by the often unexpected reactions that fill the environment.

*All children require a ticket, accompanied by an adult. Additional adult companions and guests will be seated in chairs surrounding the play space.

Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia (Canada) – 3-8 years old | 60 minutes – Venue: August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue – Goodnight Moon performance on Saturday, May 14, at 11:45 a.m. is sensory-friendly.

Goodnight Moon is a celebration of familiar nighttime rituals, while The Runaway Bunny’s pretend tale of leaving home evokes reassuring responses from his loving mum. Both tales feature endearing rabbit characters, and the soothing rhythms of bunny banter and dream-like imagery never fail to infuse young readers with a reassuring sense of security. Mermaid’s staged adaptation will bring a new sense of appreciation to stories that have delighted several generations.

Egg by Cahoots NI (Belfast, Northern Ireland) – 3-7 years old | 40 minutes – Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, Peirce Studio, 805-807 Liberty Avenue

Egg is all about magic and music and an egg. The delightful story unfolds on a tiny, rustic set, exquisitely constructed out of twigs, feathers and shell. Join 3 madcap birds on an adventure of a lifetime as they grapple with growing up and giving in to their natural instincts to take flight. And then of course they meet an egg!

Lego Derby at EQT Children's Theater FestivalShort Stories by Teatro Hugo e Ines (Peru) – AGES 7+ | 55 minutes – Venue: August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue

With amazing dexterity and delightful creativity, Teatro Hugo e Ines transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary with their unique blend of mime, dance and puppetry. Short Stories include a riot of characters composed of knees, feet, hands, elbows and a handful of props playing out the poetic moments of daily life.

Titus by Red Bridge Arts (Scotland) – Ages 10-Adult | 40 minutes – Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, Peirce Studio, 805-807 Liberty Avenue – Also part of the EQT Bridge Theater Series and Red Bridge Arts U.S. cities tour.

Meet Titus. He’s a boy in a situation that seems hopeless. He thinks the truth is boring. He can choose to take flight or meet his problems head on. Don’t miss this show about finding yourself complete with pigs that fall in love and crows that talk. Titus, originally written by Jan Sobrie, was awarded the Dutch-German Author Prize in 2007 and is considered one of Europe’s most successful plays for young people. This new English version, written by Oliver Emanuel and directed by Lu Kemp, won the 2015 International Performing Arts for Youth’s Victor Award for best theater production.

Corpus_The Sheep_costumeThe Sheep by Corpus (Canada) – Ages 3-Adult | 35 minutes – Location: Outdoors in the Cultural District

Reality meets fantasy in this wordless live installation that recreates a country scene in a typical urban setting. Travel to a strange & hilarious universe and observe a surrealistic overview of sheep behavior and routine activities including shearing, feeding, milking and many more…This truly innovative performance twists reality in surprising ways and takes audience interaction to new heights!

The festival grounds will include a variety of food options and vendors, visual art programming at local galleries, pop-up green spaces, free hands-on activities, and free outdoor performances coordinated with Youth Express. The festival will include street closure and bike lane closure on Penn Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets and provide crossing and security guards, festival guides, volunteers, staff and directional signage to help visitors plan their day and navigate events.

Festival hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday, May 12 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, May 13, Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15.

Tickets are $9 for featured performances. Flex Vouchers from the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series and EQT Bridge Theater Series are honored for all ticketed events taking place during the festival. Multi-show packs are available and offered for as low as $6 per show! Visit TrustArts.org/PGHkids, call 412-456-6666, or pick up tickets in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue.