Erth puppet theatre company's dragon was a hit.

A few attempts have been made to get a Sydney Children’s Festival happening in the (shock, horror!) 30+ years that I’ve been involved in performing arts for young people. Adelaide has the long-established Come Out Festival, Brisbane has Out of the Box going well at last report, but Sydney events have been well-meaning but doomed one-offs. On the evidence of our visit with the grandchildren today, Carriageworks has finally got it right.

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.

So real you can feel it.

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.

Talking with dinosaurs

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.


Filed under Travel-Australia

3 responses to “SYDNEY CHILDRENS FESTIVAL – Carriageworks

  1. Jenny Thompson

    Thanks Richard – a nice wrap – glad the boys enjoyed it. Hopefully we’ll be running the Festival for some years to come.
    Catch you soon,

  2. Thanks Jenny, it’s a great festival and a great space and hope it goes on and on.

  3. Hi I found your blog through the Children’s Festival. It must have been exciting to be involved in the past The energy of the event was electric and that’s just from a parents perspective. I’m going to say a bit longer and dig through your photos you really do have an adventurous life. If you want to know what my four thought of the festival here’s the link

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