Arts and Culture for Early Years       May 4 – 24, 2020        

Festival Archive

2018 Festival Events

Saturday, May 12, 17h | Alumnae Theatre
Family Fun Night! Baking Time and Sing-Along Tim & The Pacifiers

A special early evening event performance of Presentation House & Oily Cart Theatre’s Baking Time with a post-show concert from Sing-Along Tim and the Pacifiers, Toronto’s East-End’s family favourite. Enjoy a family pizza party after the show and be home before the sun goes down.

16h30 Doors
17h00 Baking Time Performance
17h30 Pizza
18h00 Concert by Sing Along Tim & The Pacifiers

Tickets: $20
Save 15% when you purchase a Family 4-pack


Thursday, May 17, 19h | Alumnae Theatre

Millan & Faye Present: The Opera! From Twinkle to Stardom

In ‘From Twinkle to Stardom”, Music Comedy Duo Millan & Faye bring the humour, beauty, and musical wonder of opera to children and families! Join as the orchestra, the chorus, or step up as the hero or diva. Dust off your tiaras, tuxes, princess gowns, and feather boas and come in your opera finest!

Photo Credit: Lara Hintelman


A special presentation made possible by partnership with the Canadian Opera Company. 



Venue Partner




charter of childrens rights

Exhibition | Charter of Children’s Rights to Arts and Culture
The Theatre Centre Upper Gallery
May 15 -21

An exhibition of the Charter of Children’s Rights to Arts and Culture from La Baracca-Testoni Ragazzi (Bologna) ​celebrates the 18 principles of the charter in 27 languages and beautiful illustrations by Italian artists. More information on the project can be found here.

The idea of “children as citizens” is the foundation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, and of the European Charter of Children’s Rights, which states the we remain “children” until we turn 18. Citizens who, since the beginning of their lives, have the right to experience and enjoy the physical and mental spaces that art and culture can offer, sharing with adults a condition of closeness and belonging.

​Sponsored by Art Strollers

May 19 -21, 9h30 -14h30 | The Theatre Centre
Biinoojiinyag Gitgaanmiwaa – Children’s Garden

We’ve invited Indigenous artist Leslie Kachena McCue, from Curve Lake First Nation, to conceive and curate a host of Indigenous arts and learning-focused programming for children and their families. Stop by to be invigorated by interactive audience segments with special guests, singing, dancing, and a small production based on the strawberry, Aanishinaabek peoples sweetest teaching.

Monday, May 21, 9h30 -13h30 | The Theatre Centre & Lisgar Park
WeeFestival Family Day

This annual Wee Festival celebration will be our closing day of this year’s festivities with concerts, a dance party with music from around the world, arts activities for little hands, yummy food and more! More information here!

Scheduled Performances inside The Theatre Centre, Franco Boni Theatre

9h30- WeeFestival Family Day Opening Celebration with Fana Soro

Wake up and start the day with the joyous sounds of West African drumming and dancing!

Sponsored by Prologue to the Performing Arts

10h30- Storytelling with Birds of a Feather- Rubena Sinha & Djennie Laguerre

11h15- Autorickshaw

Indo-fusion ensemble Autorickshaw gives you a brand new Lullaby and Chill concert, featuring intimate, acoustic versions of Autorickshaw’s hit material, including original songs and innovative covers from their most recent JUNO-nominated album, Meter. 

12:00 Lunch in Lisgar Park 

13h15- The Space Chums

Get ready to blast into hyper-fun with The Space Chums! This oddball crew of galactic pals rock the stratosphere with wild costumes, stellar dance moves and mega-catchy pop hits about their adventures in space and the wonders of discovering planet earth. Make sure to bring all your truly groovy moves because this party’s gonna be out-of-this world!!

The Space Chums are Lindsay Goodtimes, Ian Goodtimes, and Kate Keenan

14h00- Closing Traditional Round Dance with Leslie McCue and Lindy Kinoshameg

Family Chill Zone with DJ Ariel

A dance party with music from around the world inside Toronto Media Arts Centre’s new space.

Experiences in Lisgar Park 

Pollinator’s Paradise – Find out about the incredible work bees do with honey tastings and a mini pollinator station!

Local Artists Performance Stage – Musicians and performers from around the corner share their talents.

Little Paper Fishing Pond – Returning favourite activity is a fun challenge for the whole family.

Children’s Book Centre – Cuddle up with a classic or try a new title curated especially for WeeFestival audiences.

Artisan’s Tent – Discover handmade toys and crafts designed by local artisans and made especially for young children!

Experiences in The Theatre Centre 

Smart Cookie Club – Play-based activities for children ages one to six inspire a lifelong love for learning.

Biinoojiinyag Gitgaanmiwaa (Children’s Garden)

Biinoojiinyag Gitgaanmiwaa translates to Children’s Garden and is a transformative space for young children and families curated by Leslie McCue. Conceived as a relaxed performative space to explore, engage and to experience Indigenous culture through various interactive experiences, you’re welcome to visit the garden for a brief moment, a full performance, an activity or for the full week!

Exhibition | Charter of Children’s Rights to Arts and Culture
The Theatre Centre Upper Gallery

An exhibition of the Charter of Children’s Rights to Arts and Culture from La Baracca-Testoni Ragazzi (Bologna) ​celebrates the 18 principles of the charter in 27 languages and beautiful illustrations by Italian artists. More information on the project can be found here.

Family Day Artist Bios

Fana Soro: Fana Soro is a musician, dancer and educator from the Ivory Coast, where he was a member of the prestigious Ballet National de Côte d’Ivoire. He is the creative director of the performance group Masabo in Vancouver. Since 1997, Fana has been a cultural ambassador for West Africa, bringing his vast experience of engaging students to over a hundred Canadian schools every year. 

Rubena Sinha: Over the past thirty years, Rubena has been involved in the creation of numerous cross cultural performances in Canada; primarily as Founder and Artistic Director of Fusion Dance Theatre, Inc based in Winnipeg. With her move to Toronto, storytelling has become her main focus; incorporating movement, Hindu mythology, family history and folk tale in personal storytelling. As a storyteller Rubena has appeared at Toronto Festival of Storytelling, FemFest (Winnipeg), Weaving Words Festival of Storytelling, and the weekly 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling.

Djennie Laguerre: Best known for her roles on stage and screens, Haitian-born actress Djennie Laguerre immigrated to Canada at the age of 4, and has since charmed audiences with her acting, dancing and storytelling skills. She nurtured her gifts by attending De La Salle High School (Visual arts and Theatre) and studying Theatre and French literature at University of Ottawa. What really affirmed her future as an actor and storyteller was being accepted into the prestigious Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in New York. After two years in school, Djennie explored her craft further by performing in small but popular theatre shows in Manhattan and Harlem. But after September 11th, it’s in Toronto, Canada that Djennie’s professional stage and screen acting career took off. As a bilingual multifaceted artist, she was able to shine and expand her acting opportunities.

Autorickshaw: Indo-fusion ensemble Autorickshaw is one of the hottest acts on the world music landscape, garnering multiple awards in Canada and around the world including JUNO nominations for World Music Album of the Year for three of their albums. Autorickshaw has been called a “post fusion” ensemble for their seamless and downright cool sounding blend of jazz, folk, pop and Indian classical music.  Their latest album, ‘Meter’, showcases the sultry, sophisticated vocals of Suba Sankaran, anchored by the driving bass-lines & beatboxing of Dylan Bell over a bed of intricate tabla grooves by Ed Hanley. The group’s diverse repertoire and range of Eastern and Western elements could only come from musicians with deep roots in both traditions.

Autorickshaw has toured extensively across Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, India and Nepal. 

Autorickshaw’s fifth studio album, ‘Meter,’ featuring Suba Sankaran, Ed Hanley and Dylan Bell was released in September 2017. The songs – many of which are originals, as well as commissioned works and innovative arrangements – cover a huge range of genres (south Asian, pop, rock, jazz, chant, folk, funk, blues, reggae) and themes (female empowerment, cross-cultural connection and compassion, ancestry, death, loss and grieving, anti-love songs and more).
They recently received Honourable Mention for their original song “Eleven” in the Children’s Category of the International Songwriting Competition.
This year, Autorickshaw is celebrating 15 years of musical service. 

“…utterly unique and musically pioneering” -The Record           
“…a fascinating hybrid” -Zeitgeist and Co, UK
“Seriously talented musicians who weave a tapestry of musical traditions into a
unique and inspiring sonic alchemy. Absolutely beautiful.” -CHLY FM

Leslie McCue
Leslie is a proud member of Mississaugas of Curve Lake First Nation. An arts administrator, artist, performer and educator who over the years has fought for Indigenous rights by breaking stereotypes and raising cultural awareness. Her work is driven by her past, her passion to educate and the motivation to empower others. Leslie is currently the General Manager for Paprika Festival, the Administrator for Chocolate Woman Collective, and the Coordinator for the Royal Ontario Museum Youth Cabinet. Leslie is excited to be a Resident Artist Educator for YPT this season. Leslie currently sits on the Indigenous Advisory Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum and freelances for various organizations in arts administration, facilitation, project coordination and curation.

Lindy Kinoshameg
A proud Odawa from the Pike clan, Lindy was raised in Wiikwemkoong Unceeded First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Lindy has spent the last 10 years in Toronto, focusing his energy on Indigenous cultural awareness and breaking stereotypes through the arts. Always striving to practice new art-forms, this has led to a multitude of experiences: Visual arts projects, Healthy Living Program Coordinator, and Indigenous Radio Program Host, working his way up to Production Tour Manager and Event Coordinator, Indigenous Dance and cultural workshop facilitation. Lindy is now involved with Young People’s Theatre as Community Engagement Facilitator, in part to his strong belief and push towards incorporating Indigenous values and teachings into his practice, and sharing his knowledge with others. 


FREE WORKSHOP: Crafting Magical Creature Self Portraits- The Theatre Centre

​Sunday May 20 1​2:15 -1:30 The Theatre Centre Upper Gallery

Inspired by Magnet Theatre’s performance called Knock!, Fidoodle’s Jen Bulthuis and photographer, Melanie Gordon help kids explore mask and creature costume making from natural materials like wood, feather, and shells.  Each child then chooses one of many backgrounds for a special portrait of themselves as the creature that they have built.

Registration required. First come, first serve basis. Email to register.

Jen Bulthuis-

Melanie Gordon-