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Still from Cyclo. Photo courtesy of Ottawa Children's Festival.

Ottawa Children’s Festival moves to a free and online format—June 2 to 7

By Apartment613 on May 31, 2021



Annually, since 1983, the Ottawa Children’s Festival (OCF) has booked award-winning theatre, music, and dance companies from across Canada and around the world. The festival’s five-day celebration brings more of the same, however, in 2021 the program will unfold online from June 2 to 7.

The OCF is presenting three pieces of theatre and two interactive presentations designed to engage young minds at home, or in their classrooms if students return to school this week. Highlights of the 2021 program include Cyclo, an international co-production by Compañia Aranwa and Comedia Köln Theater, as well as The Snail and the Whale based on Julia Donaldson’s award-winning picture book and hit film. The virtual show is produced by Tall Stories Theatre Company out of London, UK. Rounding out the program is Old Man and the River, a puppetry show created by Canadian theatre company WeeFestival Productions.

Old Man and the River. Photo: Naz Afsahi.

Every show listing on the OCF website comes with downloadable notes for educators, related crafts and activities, and other learning resources. For the first time in recent history, the OCF will be completely free in 2021.

Festival partner WPBS will be presenting their new production inspired by the classic show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, named Donkey Hodie. BIG JUMP Entertainment will have beloved Canadian author Judith Henderson engage with audiences as she reads from one of the books in her series Big Words, Short Stories, now on TVO Kids. Both of these programs will have Q&A sessions for our guests to interact with these talents!

The Ottawa Children’s Festival de la jeunesse takes place from June 2 to 7, 2021. Visit for the complete lineup and schedule. Admission is free.