In what I would easily call the most adorable program launch I have ever witnessed, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) launched the program for their 2016 Out of the Box festival this morning.
‘Out of the Box’ is a biennial festival especially for children 8 years old and younger. It will see kids take over the entirety of the centre from June 21st until 28th, with every show, activity and event being something anyone in the family can enjoy either at a small cost per person or completely free. This year’s festival will cross over the end of the second school term and into the June school holidays, providing opportunities for both schools and families to take advantage of what’s on offer.
Out of the Box is not a new event at QPAC, having been run every two years for 24 years. To date it is the only arts festival in Australia which is exclusively dedicated to children aged eight and younger, and will see the entire centre dedicated to youth activities – with no other shows run during the period. Even shows like ‘Carl Barron – Drinking With a Fork’, which will be run from 7 June until 3rd July will be taking leave from the Lyric Theatre during this period.
The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP | Premier and Minister for the Arts – Queensland Government
This is another example of Queensland leading the way in providing innovative arts experiences, giving a voice to children as creators and participants in the arts.
John Kotzas | QPAC Chief Executive
Out of the Box demonstrates world’s best practice in arts learning experiences, creatively engaging children eight years and under, and acknowledges that kids are important participants and creators of art now, as well as in the future.
Expressing oneself and communicating what we understand of the world around us through creativity is perhaps the first language we learn. Out of the Box encapsulates what it is to learn by and through the arts via a big program of the best quality internationally and nationally produced children’s events across various art forms. In 2016, the program features 17 world premieres, two Australian premieres, and 18 works specifically commissioned by QPAC.We welcome schools, families and visitors to Queensland to participate and discover the fun and excitement of learning through the arts.
Brett Howe | Out of the Box Festival Director
We have placed children centrally in the development of Out of the Box, testing our thoughts, assumptions and programs with children at key stages of the process. In addition, we are holding close to 200 workshops at schools across Queensland to create elements that will be featured across the Festival.
Our 2016 Festival program reflects Australia’s multi-cultural society and in particular our connection with Asia Pacific cultures. A feature will be Indian cultures, customs and art forms in the program elements of Holi Throw, Rangoli Welcome Mats and Bollywood Dance. The overall connecting theme of the Festival is Shining Light into Dark Places, fostering exploration and discovery. The program delivers six different theatre productions, 18 workshops, and 18 free activities; comprising 11 exhibitions/films/activities and seven free workshops.
Like past Out of the Box Festivals, there is a lot of new and original content on offer for kids, their families, and the young at heart to enjoy. This includes 17 world premieres, 18 works commissioned by QPAC, a further 2 Australian premieres, six different theatre productions, 18 free activities and more. With the program now launched and tickets on sale, you can see a full list of the festivities on offer via the dedicated Out of the Box Festival website. However, having had a train trip to read through the entire program and pick out my favourites, here are some of my top picks of events during this years festival:
#1 – Gazillion Bubble Show
Direct from Broadway, Gazillion Bubble Show will amaze you with mind-blowing bubble magic. Step into an interactive bubble world and be dazzled by spellbinding lasers, spectacular lighting effects, and jaw-dropping masterpieces of bubble artistry.
For over three decades, the Yang family have explored the fascinating unknown world of soap bubbles combining entertainment, art and science. Their imagination and experimentation has led to one of the world’s greatest family shows seen by more than 22 million people.
Gazillion Bubble Show is an un-bubble-lieveable extravaganza for everyone, unlike anything seen before. It’ll blow you away!
Aimed at children aged 3+. More information HERE.
#2 – Holi Throw
Get colourful! Holi Throw is an outdoor experience for children influenced by the traditional Indian celebratory custom of Holi.
Accompanied by a pumping soundtrack of Indian fusion music, and led by visual artists and volunteers, children will celebrate renewal and new life through structured and unstructured colour play. Participants will be encouraged to express their creativity and emotions in explosions of colour, and engage in a host of activities designed to uplift and exhilarate their spirits.
As demonstrated in the image above, children will be provided with protective clothing including full body coveralls and goggles. The holi powder itself will be a non-toxic product, meaning children can pelt it at one another without worrying parents. I will give you fair warning as well that this isn’t necessary a camera friendly event, and a gust of wind might see your lens covered in powder.
Aimed at children aged 4-8. More information can be found HERE.
#3 – Creature: An Adaptation of Dot and the Kangaroo
Creature is a new interactive digital and physical theatre experience based on the much loved Australian story, Dot and the Kangaroo.
Discover the magical landscape of the Australian bush as you’ve never seen it before, where large scale 3D projections of familiar animals spring to life and respond to the dance and aerial performers on stage. How long before this unique native wildlife disappears as humans encroach on their habitat?
Creature invites you to step into an enchanting world to explore how human actions affect the Australian environment.
Aimed at children aged 5-8. More information on this production, which is a collaboration between Out of the Box Festival and Stalker Theatre can be found HERE.
#4 – Little Red Riding Hood
First commissioned by QPAC for the 2016 Out of the Box festival for children eight years and under
Funny, cheeky and feisty, Little Red Riding Hood is a delightful mashup of ballet and creative theatrics that families will love. This is a unique re-telling of a classic fairytale, set to an original score that will enthral the littlest lovers of dance and theatre.
This is a bite-sized ballet performance performed by Queensland Ballet, which comes in at approximately 40 minutes in length. As many should already be familiar with the story, I would say that the runtime is appropriate for such a tale. More information on Little Red Riding Hood can be found HERE.
#5 – Little Big Shots
While I also fall out of the age bracket when it comes to the generation which really got to enjoy drive-in movies, young audiences will get to experience something quite unique during Out of the Box Festival 2016. Little Bit Shots is an international film festival for kids which will see Melbourne Street Green converted into a dive-in cinema, allowing kids to enjoy something to eat in custom-made cars while watching flicks.
More information on Little Bit Shots can be found HERE.