Vancouver International Children’s Festival

THE Vancouver International Children’s Festival announces an extraordinary online line-up of world-class theatre, music, dance and storytelling created specifically for children and youth. The Festival returns from May 31 to June 13 to entertain Metro Vancouver children and families. This year, families can experience the Festival online from the comfort of home and choose from a large selection of diverse professional performances. Performing artists from as far reaching as India, Australia, Scotland, France and the United States are scheduled to perform.

The reimagined 2021 Festival will offer a mix of live online and pre-recorded online performances with an extra seven days of extended show viewing. The Festival, which normally runs for a week, will offer unlimited streaming access until June 13 at 8 p.m., allowing families to watch online shows multiple times and at moments that work best for them.

With current provincial health orders restricting events and for the safety of patrons, the Festival will not be selling in-person performance tickets at this time. Should BC Public Health Authorities lift restrictions, the Festival will release a limited number of tickets for in-person shows that will take place in venues on Granville Island.

The pandemic has been particularly hard on families. To support families and ensure the Festival is accessible and affordable to all, no matter their current circumstances, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival is offering pay-what-you-can pricing this year.

“We know parenting can be challenging on a good day and the pandemic has made life a lot more stressful. Because of this, the Festival is committed to supporting families with pay-what-you-can pricing,” states Katharine Carol, Artistic and Executive Director. “Now more than ever, there is an incredible need to experience the joy of the arts. The Children’s Festival is an opportunity for parents and their children to forget their worries for a moment and focus on what’s important in life: to dance, to be silly and to connect with each other.”

Highlights of the 44th annual Festival include Canadian music icon and one of Canada’s best-loved children’s singers, Fred Penner, as well as the JUNO nominated duo Bobs & LoLo. Also noteworthy, When the Colours Ran Away, is an interactive digital arts film and Festival commission by ThinkArts of India. The film uses live action and animation to tell the story about the shenanigans of a group of colours in an Emily Carr painting. Another featured performance is based on the award-winning book by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Girl of Ink and Stars, adapted by Satinder Chohan is a tale of maps, myths and the power of friendship magically brought to life through sound. Furthermore, the exceptional lineup of festival performers also features local South Asian body percussionist and beatboxer, RupLoops in The Human Radio, an interactive, live looping performance where children get to be a part of the show.

In addition to the many incredible shows, the Festival is presenting a series of Online Arts Workshopsmaking it easy for the whole family to be creatively playful together. With six online arts activities to choose from, there are many ways to engage children’s imagination and enhance creativity all while having fun together as a family.  All performance tickets include access to the Online Arts Workshops. Ticket-holders can watch the workshops live online or view a recorded version at a more convenient time.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at

2021 Featured Performers

When the Colours Ran Away (India) – While a Grade 3 class is on a field trip to the Art Gallery they notice something strange. An Emily Carr painting has empty shapes and missing blotches of colour, and on closer inspection they see: patches of green spilling out of the painting; yellow circles and blue squares fighting; the colour red hanging off the frame, ready to escape. Interestingly, no one from the gallery seems to notice anything out of the ordinary. Why are the colours so eager to leave the painting? It’s up to the children to get to the bottom of the colours’ behaviour and convince them to return. This interactive film uses live action and animation to tell a beautiful story about accessibility and equity in a fun and unique way. Commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. Ages 4 and up.

The Human Radio (British Columbia) – Imagine your child’s delight when they realize that they’re part of the show! The Human Radio is an interactive, live looping performance, using vocal percussion, rhythmic rhymes and an eclectic mix of instruments from around the globe. Through body percussion and beatboxing, Rup demonstrates and teaches how the body is indeed a musical instrument. Rup is a master at engaging kids from the opening beats until the end of the show. He uses his diverse skills as a musician to create a pulsating, entertaining and engaging musical experience. A fun and captivating way to explore the universal language of music, be sure to ‘kick it freestyle’ with RupLoops! Ages 2 and up.

Once Upon a Tide (India) – You’ll be swept away on a journey that follows eight hundred turtle siblings as they make their way to India to celebrate their Father’s birthday. This large family of turtles are spread far and wide across the world. They must overcome great lengths and work together in order to all arrive at Velas in time for their Father’s party. Will this turtle train be delayed, or will they arrive on time? Using animation, film and puppetry, Art Apart has created a layered and charming film that honours Diego, the real Giant Tortoise from the Galapagos who turned one hundred in 2020. In a breeding program, Diego was responsible for siring a whopping eight hundred offspring over his lifetime and has helped revive this endangered species. Ages 6 and up.

The Girl of Ink and Stars (Britain) – Be transported to the mythical island of Joya in this gripping audio drama, as you join Isabella and Pablo in the search for their missing friend.  As they journey into unknown and forbidden areas of the island, they soon discover a fiery legend is stirring from its sleep. Based on the award-winning book by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Girl of Ink and Stars adapted by Satinder Chohan is a tale of maps, myths and the power of friendship magically brought to life through sound. All you need is a comfy chair and a big imagination for this fun and action-packed listening experience. Ages 7 and up.

LOUD (BC / Canada with roots in Philippines, India, Jamaica, Taiwan and Ghana) – It’s about to get loud as Immigrant Lessons hits the stage! They’ll blow you away with their dynamite moves and dizzyingly fast footwork. Don’t miss this high-energy extravaganza that highlights street dance forms such as; Dancehall, Hip Hop, Breaking, House and Jazz. LOUD, is a celebration of the music, dance, and cultural gifts that are often created out of oppression and when different cultures collide. You’ll be moved in more ways than one as you watch this collective of talented professional artists showcase their skills and love of dance. Get ready to turn it up with LOUD! Commissioned by the Vancouver International Children’s Festival. All ages.