Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Play away that summer holiday boredom

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taipei Children Arts Festival has plenty of shows for the young and young at heart.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS

The Taipei City Government and the Taipei Children's Theater Association (台北市兒童戲劇協會) are teaming up again this summer to host the 2006 Taipei Children's Arts Festival (台北市兒童藝術節), a monthlong fiesta of activities and exhibits for kids.

The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs (台北市文化局) is expanding this year's festival by adding foreign theater troupes and more performances to the lineup, according to Teng Tsung-te (鄧宗德), a department spokesman.

“We're making the festival bigger in a geographic sense, too,” Teng told the Taipei Times. “This year, [museums and venues in] Ilan and Taipei counties will also be associated with the event, whereas last year, the festival was limited to Taipei City.”

Elisa Lin (林家宇), Taipei Children's Theater Association spokeswoman, said that 35 museums and cultural centers will participate in the festival, which begins tomorrow and ends Aug. 12.

“Last year, only 20 museums, parks, and cultural centers took part, so it's quite an increase,” Lin said, adding that over 100 events are scheduled.

Among the events, performances by foreign theater troupes from the UK (Tall Stories Theatre Company), Spain (Teatro de las Maravillas) and Austria (MOKI Children's Theater), have received top billing. Additionally, three Taiwanese troupes — If Kids Theater (如果兒童劇團), 123 Troupe (壹貳參戲劇團), and Hai Sun Taiwanese Opera (海山戲館) — are expected to draw big crowds, Teng said.

Although the above six troupes' venues will charge admission from NT$150 to NT$200 per performance, plenty of other children's theater troupes' performances will be free; at least 10 such outdoor performances are scheduled to be held at the Songshan Tobacco Factory (松山煙廠) and in Da-an Park (大安公園) in Taipei throughout the festival.

Festival Notes:

What: 2006 Taipei Children’s Arts Festival (台北市兒童藝術節)

When: Tomorrow until Aug. 12

Information: For a line-up of performances and venues visit the festival’s official site at kids.culture.gov.tw/ec/en_index.htm or call (02) 2736-5982

Ticket: Can be purchased through ArtsTicket, call (02)33939888 or visit www.artsticket.com.tw, and at selected convenience stores


The festival will open with a free puppet show (Pinokio) to be performed jointly by a troupe from Serbia and Montenegro and Taiwan's own Ju Percussion Group 2 (朱宗慶打擊樂園2) at the Songshan Tobacco Factory tomorrow.

To help kids keep tabs on all that the festival has to offer, the cultural affairs department is circulating free “Kid Passports” (童心護照) — booklets containing detailed information on the shows and exhibits — among Taipei schools and MRT stations.

Holders of the “Kid Passport” are eligible for a discount on festival performances and activities.

The festival, first held in the summer of 2002, is in its fifth year, and is growing rapidly. According to Teng, 40,000 children took part last year; in 2004, 30,000 children participated.

“As the festival expands, we're getting more confident in organizing it,” Teng said.

“Virtually all the domestic children's theater troupes have performed at the festival in the past, and this year is no exception — they're eager to perform. What's more, this year, we've included more privately run cultural centers and museums in addition to city government venues — if a local business has exhibits or activities for youngsters, chances are, it will be included in this year's festival,” Teng said.

“Many of the festival's activities are free to the public and conveniently located, so it's easy for families to attend. Secondly, many of the performances are held in the evening, so working parents have the chance to take their kids to the plays. Holding performances at night is also best in the summer, when daytime temperatures are quite high,” Teng added.

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