Festival: EQT Children’s Theater Festival 2017, Cultural District





Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces the EQT Children’s Theater Festival will be held May 18-21, 2017 in the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh. In the 31st annual celebration of international children’s programming, attendees are encouraged to enjoy six sensational performances, including a United States premiere, in addition to more than 35 family-friendly activities. The festival is presented by the Children’s Theater and Festival division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Single tickets for the featured performances go on sale to the public on Monday, January 30, 2017.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the 31st EQT Children’s Theater Festival with wonderful international performances and expanded programming for all ages,” shared Pamela Komar, Director of Theater, Music and Youth Programming and Executive Director of the Children’s Theater Series and Festival at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “Once again, we are excited to invite performers from around the globe to foster cultural exchange and wonder through the performing arts. From popular stories coming to life to interactive outdoor theater performances, festival activities are created to inspire and engage all ages. We look forward to creating memories at this year’s festival!”

The 31st EQT Children’s Theater Festival features ticketed performances by six award-winning theater companies from Australia, Mexico, the United States, Denmark and Northern Ireland. A mix of teen-focused performances, like Simple Gifts, and child-centric shows such as The Way Back Home, this year’s festival has something for everyone. The schedule includes the United States premier of Pulse, a theater experience carefully designed for the youngest of theatergoers using texture and lively games to invite infants and toddlers into a creative space. More than 35 free activities designed to complement featured performances, including hands-on activities, public art and music at numerous indoor and outdoor spaces will take place throughout the Cultural District.

For the fourth year, the EQT Foundation, the charitable affiliation of EQT Corporation, will serve as the lead and title sponsor of the Children’s Theater Festival. Established in 2003, the EQT Foundation provides educational opportunities for children, as well as adults, values the development of liveable communities, and is committed to the preservation of natural resources. The EQT Foundation prides itself on being a responsible corporate citizen and invests in programs that promote an understanding of culture and heritage.  www.eqt.com/our-communities/eqt-foundation

“The EQT Foundation is honored to return as underwriter of the EQT Children’s Theater Festival, an exceptional event that brings international performing and visual artists to the region for our children to experience first-hand,” said Charlene Petrelli, President, EQT Foundation.  “We are proud to share these outstanding arts and educational programs with our region’s youth and provide opportunities to promote awareness of global cultures, as well as local heritage.  The EQT Children’s Theater Festival never disappoints with its array of extraordinary events for the enrichment of all attendees.”

For 31 years, the EQT Children’s Theater Festival has brought the community the diversity and culture of international arts and entertainment without having to leave the Pittsburgh area! The festival has featured performing artists from around the world, spanning six continents, and is known for presenting unique, globally-inspired arts, music, one-of-a-kind installation, premiers and free hands-on activities for any age. The festival welcomes everyone to participate in the educational and cultural experiences that bring people together when enjoying elements of fun and surprise. The festival serves as a gateway for children of all ages to experience professional performing arts programming that inspires, challenges, educates, and stimulates respect for and an understanding of all cultures in an entertaining and enlightening way.

Featured Ticketed Performances
All ticketed performances will take place in the Cultural District.  Single tickets for the featured performances go on sale, Monday, January 30, 2017.  For tickets and information, please visit www.TrustArts.org/PGHKids, call 412-456-6666, or visit the Theater Square Box Office at 655 Penn Avenue.  Groups of 10 or more, please call 412-471-6930 or visit:http://pghkids.trustarts.org/kids/groups.

For a full description of each Featured Ticketed Performance, including performance times, please visit www.TrustArts.org/PGHKids. 

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by Dallas Children’s Theater
United States
Ages 5-11 | 65 minutes
Venue: August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue
When Mufaro learns that a great African king wants to meet the most worthy and beautiful women in order to choose a wife, he decides that both of his daughters should go.  During their journey to the King, Mufaro’s beautiful daughters Manyara and Nyasha encounter mysterious situations that test their courage, kindness and strength of spirit.  Celebrate goodness, generosity and love with traditional chanting, rhythmic drumming, and glorious African song in this beautiful Zimbabwe-based Cinderella tale based on the 1988 Caldecott Honor Award book by John Steptoe.  The story was adapted for the stage by Karen Abbott, with music and lyrics by S-Ankh Rasa.

The Way Back Home by Teater Refleksion and Branar Theater
Denmark and Northern Ireland
Ages 3-6 | 40 minutes
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue
When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: he flies into outer space!  Millions of miles from earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake.  The boy makes a daring landing on the moon where he realizes he’s not alone up there.  Based on the book by Oliver Jeffers, The Way Back Home explores the boundless imagination of children through puppetry, wonderful music, and creative wordless storytelling. 

We Built This City by Polyglot
All Ages | 30 minutes
Venue: 7th Street & Penn Avenue, Outdoor interactive installation, with partial tentThe whole family will enjoy building the cities of their dreams in this giant cardboard construction site.  Thousands of cardboard boxes take over in this interactive performance where children build entire cities and towns of skyscrapers, tunnels, and sprawling estates that reflect the time and place of their immediate culture.  With a rocking soundtrack and Polyglot Theatre artists roaming the site, We Built This City is one of the happiest projects you will ever experience.  We Built This City is made possible in-part by the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment.  Established in 2015, the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment supports adventurous theater for young audiences.

Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In a Play!
The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour
United States
Ages 3-8 | 60 minutes
Venue: Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street
Elephant Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through plenty of pachydermal peril and swiney suspense in Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!  This vaudevillian romp of a musical is based on Mo Willems’s beloved, award-winning, best-selling children’s books.  Together, these best friends face fundamental questions like: What do you wear to a fancy pool costume party? Should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Backed by the nutty backup singers The Squirrelles, the duo even gets the audience involved in the action. You’ll be doing the “Flippy Floppy Floory” dance all night long!  This performance is also part of the 2016-2017 Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series.

*Sensory Friendly Performances, which will include interactivity, rhythm, repetition, reduced sound levels and gentle lighting are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Simple Gifts by Cashore Marionettes
United States
Ages 7+ | 60 minutes
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue
Experience a series of touching and poignant scenes from everyday life told through a beautiful and skillful manipulation of marionettes.  Set to music, this theatrical and artistic program will provide an entertaining and sensitive vision of what it is to be human.  This performance is also part of the 2016-2017 EQT Bridge Theater Series.  

Pulse by Teatro al Vacio
Ages 0-2 | 30 minutes
Venue: Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue
Carefully designed for the youngest of theatergoers, Pulse uses soft textures and lively games to invite infants and toddlers into a safe, positive, and friendly environment that will stimulate their sense of creativity. Actors create an extraordinary space ready for exploration, connecting with simple materials to transform their surroundings into a world of play.  This event is a U.S. premiere.

Sensory-Friendly Performances Schedule
Sensory-friendly events during this year’s festival include Elephant and Piggie’s We Are In a Play! taking placed at the Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Sensory-friendly performances will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

The festival grounds and featured performance venues are fully handicap accessible. ASL interpreters are provided for featured performances upon request when requests are made at least 10 business days in advance. For information and questions, please call (412) 456-6666.

Other accessibility offerings include:

  • Wheelchair-accessible restrooms located at Theater Square.
  • ADA-compliant cable covers are used throughout the outdoor pop-up spaces, where applicable.
  • Guide animals are welcome in all festival locations.
  • Large-print programs are available at information booths.
  • Sensory-friendly performances.

For more on accessibility, please visit www.TrustArts.org/Accessibility

Festival Logistics
The festival grounds will include a variety of food options and vendors, visual art programming at local galleries, pop-up green spaces, free hands-on activities, and free outdoor performances coordinated with Youth Express. Festival hours are 10:00am-2:00pm on Thursday, May 18 and 10:00am-6:00pm on Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Information booths will be open during festival hours providing information, tickets and merchandise. Each Featured Performance venue will have staff on-site 60 minutes prior to show time.

Tickets and Information
Tickets are $9 for features performances. Multi-show packs are available and offered for as low as $6 per show! Flex Vouchers from the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series and EQT Bridge Theater Series are honored for all ticketed events taking place during the festival. Visit www.TrustArts.org/PGHkids, call (416) 456-6666, or pick up tickets in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10+ call (412) 471-6930, or visit GroupSales@TrustArts.org. 

Parking and Transportation
Reserve parking vouchers in the heart of the Cultural District at Theater Square Parking Garage. A limited number of vouchers will be held for festival visitors each day. To reserve your parking voucher, call 412-456-6666 or visit the Box Office at Theater Square.

Festival travel as convenient and comfortable as possible! For information about parking lots and garages in the Cultural District, visit www.ParkPGH.org. This site shows real-time parking availability in over 20 downtown parking lots with parking inventory updates every 30 seconds.

The Cultural District is serviced by public transportation options through the Port Authority of Allegheny County. For more information, visit www.TrustArts.org/visit/public_transportation.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for their participation and support of the 2017 EQT Children’s Theater Festival. 

Special Thanks To

EQT Foundation

Giant Eagle, Inc.

Citizens Bank

Gateway Health

The Sprout Fund

The Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment

Allegheny Regional Asset District

The Grable Foundation

The Buhl Foundation

The Pennsylvania Council of the Arts


Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

City of Pittsburgh


Western Pennysylvania Conservancy

Alco Parking Corporation

Roving Art Cart

Katie’s Kandy

Media Partners




The Saturday Light Brigade

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

91.3 WYEP

Youth Express

Families and Festival Friends help the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to continually present affordable, high quality theater productions. Giving $100 or more grants Members access to reserved seating at the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series, EQT Bridge Theater Series and EQT Children’s Theater Festival. As a Member, you’ll also receive many other terrific benefits for a full year ! Visit TrustArts.org/Support or call 412-471-3518 for more details.

The EQT Children’s Theater Festival (celebrating its 31st year in 2017) is one of only four international children’s theater festivals in the nation.  The festival is known for performances and area premieres from artists around the world, free outdoor arts, music and installations, and unique free hands-on activities for any age. The festival welcomes everyone to participate in the educational and cultural experiences that bring people together while enjoying elements of fun and surprise.

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Cultural Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. For more information, visit TrustArts.org.

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