I should declare an interest here – I was a storyteller/children’s author at the first Sydney Children’s Festival at Carriageworks two years ago, and it went off really well. Good organisation and publicity, well supported by the public and a fantastic space to work in. The festival has grown since then, expanding to include childrens’ events in other venues around Sydney.
Carriageworks is an arts centre built in a huge converted railway workshop. It’s a brilliant space for such an event, with a large open foyer area where kids can run around and try different activities, a couple of cafe/bars selling better than average food and coffee to parents, and a range of performing venues for large and small scale performances.
Our young accomplices (aged 4 and 2) were very taken by Erth company’s roaming dinosaur and dragon puppets, and with their Bunyip Show. Erth specialise in building extremely realistic and well-researched puppets, and it is remarkable to see how children focus and believe in the creatures, even when their operators are in full view behind them.
They also enjoyed playing with their parents and grandparents in the circus hall, where we could all try skipping, plate spinning, juggling (I could show off in that department, proving that my busking years were not a complete waste of time) and unicycle riding (not even close here).
The festival runs until the end of this week (October 9th. 2010). Entry to the event at Carriageworks is free, though there is a small charge for some of the performances. Get there if you can, and if you can’t, plan your visit for next October’s school holidays. It’s bound to be back.