Junior Festival: Big thoughts for growing minds

Harbourfront Centre, one of Canada’s leading presenters of contemporary arts and culture, is proud to announce Junior, a new international children’s festival that takes on the challenging questions facing youth today. Featuring Canadian premieres, acclaimed performances from as far away as Australia and Norway, to as near as Quebec and the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake, Junior is the perfect opportunity for youth to explore identity, growth, belonging and transformation.

A new international children’s festival

Junior, which takes over the waterfront campus from May 19 to 25, offers children and their families an opportunity to experience original and inspiring performances through productions that redefine children’s cultural programming. Juniorbrings together performers and artists from around the world and across Canada under a core programming vision that not only entertains but also invites audiences to explore evocative themes ranging through identity, difference, growth, loss and transformation.
“Harbourfront Centre has always been the setting for relevant artistic, cultural, educational and recreational experiences,” says Marah Braye, Chief Executive Officer, Harbourfront Centre, “We have a tradition of programming and fostering innovative creative expression in all artistic disciplines; naturally, that commitment applies to how we encourage children to experience and be inspired by theatre.”
“Kids have big thoughts. Who am I? Where do I fit in? And what do I stand for?” adds Junior Curator Mary Francis Moore. “We have carefully curated a week of performances with one thing in common – big thoughts for growing minds. Junioroffers young people and their families the chance to experience the arts from around the corner and around the world that explore these questions”.
Junior featured performances include:
  • Suites Curieuses, Cas Public (Quebec)
  • The Medicine Wheel, Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo and Marian Atehawi Snow (Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake)
  • Shaun Boothe’s The Unauthorized Biography Series (Ontario)
  • The Jury, Hege Haagenrud (Norway) Canadian Premiere
  • Child of the Divide, Bhuchar Boulevard (United Kingdom) Canadian Premiere
  • We Are All Treaty People, Quest Theatre & Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society (Alberta)
  • Le Chant du Koï / Goldilocks Goes Bear Hunting, Théâtre Le Clou (Quebec) English-language Premiere
  • New Owner, The Last Great Hunt (Australia)
  • Space Interrupted, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (Ontario)
Junior also features a weekend of free performances, May 19 to 21, by iconic children’s entertainer Fred Penner; Toronto’s The Monkey Bunch; Twin Flames, who share their songs on the realities and history of indigenous and Inuit peoples; Toronto’s Nightswimming Theatre’s Why We Are Here! experiential choir performed for children for the first time; zany, as well as exciting and playful circus performances from Les Parfaits Inconnus; stunningly subtle and haunting performance art from Quebec’s Magali Chouinard in La Femme Blanche; traditional Quebecoise square dancing in La Gigue en Souvenirperformed by BoucharDanse; and storytelling with drag performers Fay Slift and Miss Fluffy Soufflé. Fun workshops and exciting activities will run all weekend long, children and their families can engage in hands-on exploration with the United Kingdom’s Conductive Music, Toronto’s ReelWorld virtual reality, How to Puppeteer Anything: Surreal Creature Creation Workshop, Chef Mick’s Cooking Competition, and many others.
Harbourfront Centre gratefully acknowledges the generous funding support for Junior by the Government of Canada, City of Toronto, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund. We are thankful to our site partner Natrel, and for the financial support received from the J.P. Bickell Foundation, Polar Asset Management Partners, and our international programming supporters the Australian High Commission of Canada, the British Council Canada, and the Norwegian Embassy.
— Victoria Lord
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