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'A Mano' by El Patio Teatro (Spain)

Award-winning international theatre comes to town for the Ottawa Children’s Festival—05.08.19 to 05.12.19

By Greggory Clark on May 7, 2019

Developed specifically for young people (and those young at heart), the annual program offering at the Ottawa Children’s Festival is an otherworldly array of international theatre and family activities.

French-Canadian rock ‘n’ roll circus company Les Parfaits Inconnus is the only North American production, with others touring from as far as Australia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Scotland. There are English and non-verbal works plus quite a few with live music components.

Click to view the festival map.

These international performers—several of which are award-winning in many respects—are going to make a home under the tent tops at LeBreton Flats Park this weekend in front of the Canadian War Museum where RBC Bluesfest is also staged.

While the weekday schedule (May 8–10) is intended for school groups, all of the weekend shows are open to the public. This year’s festival closes on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12.

There are food vendors on site, however the grass makes an excellent site for picnics too! No worries about sneaking food in—picnicking is totally accepted by the festival.

In years past, some of the outdoor programming has including archery games, rock climbing, Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Art Gallery pop-ups, soccer games played in inflatable bubbles (!) and trampolining, plus all kinds of demos, DIY workshops and mini-classes. Families can spend an entire day at the OCF without getting bored, which we think most parents would agree is the ultimate outing.

2019 theatre program

  • A Mano by El Patio Teatro (Spain). 45 minutes. Ages 6+.
  • Fly by Teater Patrasket (Denmark). 40 minutes. Ages 5+.
  • Is this a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth by Andy Cannon (Scotland). 60 minutes. Ages 8+.
  • Kaschtanka by Theater Mummpitz (Germany). 60 minutes. Ages 7+.
  • Les Parfaits Inconnus by Les Parfaits Inconnus (Québec). 60 minutes. All ages.
  • Paper Planet by Polyglot Theatre (Australia). 60–120 minutes variable. All ages.
  • They Called Her Vivaldi by Theatre Lovett (Ireland). 60 minutes. Ages 7+.

The Ottawa Children’s Festival takes place at LeBreton Flats from May 8–12, 2019. Visit for the complete lineup and schedule. Tickets cost $13–20 online and at the box office. There’s a special discount of $3 off per ticket with the purchase of three shows. The festival is completely accessible for people using mobility devices.