For the 23rd year, the Ottawa International Children’s Festival aims to expand the horizons of kids — and their parents, says its artistic producer.

“The goal is to bring the best in professional performing arts for young audiences from around the world to our region’s families and educators,” said Catherine O’Grady. “It’s up to adults to expand their kids’ horizons, and we hope that includes the children’s festival, where they can see extraordinary music, theatre and dance that’s designed especially for them.”

Starting today, the festival runs through June 1 at LeBreton Flats and the Canadian War Museum theatre and is expected to attract 15,000 people. And it’s not just for kids. The festival will also capture the interest and imaginations of adults, O’Grady said.


“The work is exquisite,” she said. “North Americans diminish the contribution of the artists that work in the genre, but a lot of European artists, all they do is create work for children and they’re brilliant at it.”
This year’s festival includes a range of performances, including theatre from Denmark, Germany and France, circus performance art from Quebec and “a wonderful project that’s called Big Nazo from Rhode Island which we like to say is Jimi Hendrix meets the Muppets,” said O’Grady.

In addition, kids can make crafts at the Imagination Station and walk through an inflatable structure, which organizers describe as a “labyrinth of light and sound.

Jen Gould, the Juno Award winner for best recording for children, is also a featured performer.

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