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Celebrate Family Day at the NAC with numerous theatre-related (and free) activities

By Alejandro Bustos on February 13, 2014




As part of this year’s Winterlude, the National Arts Centre is organizing various events to promote arts and culture among children and young people.

For music lovers, this past Saturday offered auditory delights with several musical activities and a concert of Peter and the Wolf.  Now it’s the turn for theatre buffs, thanks to the 4th Annual English Theatre Family Day, which is taking place at the NAC this Monday, February 17, from noon to 4 pm.

“The event is all about spending time with your family, in a fun and educational way, while engaging with English theatre programming,” explains Judi Pearl, producer of the NAC English Theatre Family Day.  “There are many, many different activities throughout the building for children and their families to explore, all connected to our theme of camping and wilderness survival.  And it’s all free!”

Among the planned events are campfire stories in the NAC salon, canoeing through the NAC lobby, ice-fishing in the NAC Fountain, learning to build a natural shelter in the forest, as well as arts and crafts, theatre workshops, face painting, a bake sale and button making.

“You might even see a bear!” adds Pearl.

While most events are best suited for children between the ages of 5 to 12, there will also be Baby Theatre this year, an experimental performance for babies 4 to 18 months.

“This is the fourth edition of the event,” says Pearls  “Because it’s a provincial holiday in Ontario, kids are off school and lots of families head to Winterlude and the canal. We aim to entice families into the building, engage them with unique educational activities that offer a window into the world of theatre, and showcase the NAC as a welcoming and colourful place for young people.”

For children who have a special interest in drama, this year’s theatre workshops include the following:

  • Mask and Movement with artists from Toronto’s Roseneath Theatre;
  • Nonsense and Songsense with NAC English Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence Donna-Michelle St. Bernard; and
  • The Three-Minute Play Festival led by Kristina Watt, which offers visitors the chance to participate in staged readings of short plays written by grade 5 and 6 students.

“Many of the other activities also have a theatrical bent,” says Pearl.  “There are many professional teaching artists on hand for the day, lending theatre magic and make-believe to the entire event. The wonderful creations from the NAC Prop Shop are also highly theatrical!”

If all of this weren’t enough, there will also be a scavenger quiz, in visitors can go all over the building searching for questions.   If you complete the quiz you can entere a draw to win a family pass to Camp Fortune’s Aerial Experience.