Little ones are in for a treat this at KidsFest. Hosted by Hong Kong-based international theatre company ABA Productions, the festival – which takes place in both Singapore and Hong Kong each year – is created specifically for children and their parents to enjoy. All the plays at KidsFest are imported directly from the UK, and they are either still showing at the West End or have been performed there at some point in the past.
‘Every show is handpicked by me and my team,’ says Matthew Gregory, executive producer of ABA. ‘We travel to London or places like the Edinburgh Fringe [Festival] to see them. Sometimes we send parents or teachers to check them out, and sometimes I’ll bring my two kids with me – one of them is three and the other’s five – who are really helpful as I can gauge how good a show is judging by their reaction!’
Featuring a mixture of shows – ranging from award-winning productions to smaller, lesser-known shows – KidsFest is aimed at children from the ages of three to about 15, and Gregory hopes that it will encourage the younger generation to improve their English in a fun and engaging way, as well as experience live theatre.
‘I know a lot of other companies like to localise plays when they take it to other countries, but we don’t do that; we keep them exactly the same as the UK productions,’ he says. ‘All the costumes and props are brought over, except the sets which are re-created in a place to the north of Hong Kong – it’s the same place where the sets for Jackie Chan’s movies are made, actually – because it’s more cost-effective, but they still look exactly like the sets in the UK, so the audience here will get the same experience.’
Here’s a round down of what’s on offer this year.
CRITICS CHOICE. Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s eponymous book – which has been hailed by UK newspaper Observer as ‘a modern classic’ – the acclaimed West End production of The Gruffalo has been touring the UK for eight years to date...continue reading
Adapted from the original book and TV series of the same name, which first came out in England back in the 1970s, the character of Mr Benn will traditionally have a different adventure in each book/ episode as he dons a different outfit....continue reading
Room on the Broom
30 Jan-10 Feb
Narrated by some happy campers, the tale of a friendly witch whose broomstick breaks when she picks up too many animals – including a dog, a frog and a bird, as well as...continue reading
Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain
31 Jan-9 Feb
Ever wondered what would happen if a Viking moves in next door to you, or what the infamous King Henry VIII might have been like in person? This show will answer...continue reading
Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans
CRITICS CHOICE. Get a crash course in Roman history and find out what life was like for people living in the notorious empire in this production, where two actors take on a whole range of characters from Spartacus to Emperors and cover topics as varied as...continue reading