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Children's Arts Festival aims to raise appreciation for change and diversity

The upcoming annual Taipei Children's Arts Festival will jam Taipei City with a broad array of theatre performances, music, dance, art workshops, and fun at every corner that children will find their imagination full of scenes that could help enhance their appreciation for variety.

"This year children living in each of the 12 districts in Taipei City will be able to join in the festival from their home community centers. We encourage parents and children to be involved in arts activities together, because children grow through arts, and the wonderful experience stays with them for a lifetime,” Victoria Wang, executive director of the festival, said at Tuesday’s press conference held in Taipei.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Taipei Children's Arts Festival will run from July 8 to August 2, presenting ticketed performances from Taiwan, Canada, Germany, Austria, and a great many free performances. The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia from Canada will have three performances in English.

There will be a total of 126 free community performances spread out through 12 administrative districts, or 15 venues, free showing of animated films, and eight large outdoor performances that will be staged against the beautiful backdrop of the Da-an Forest Park during the three-week event. There will be a public art exhibition featuring children’s artworks from August 2 to September 15 in Taipei.

Wang said that the festival has long been awaited by parents and children, who have urged the organizers to offer more tickets to international and local theatre performances. Therefore, an additional 5,000 tickets will be added to ticketed performances this year, she added.

The sale of ticketsfor international performances will start on June 13 at the ticketing venues of the National Theater Concert Hall in Taipei, Yilan, Keelung, Taoyuan, and Hsinchu. Internet ticketing will not be offered.

Wang said the festival aims to introduce young people to the arts in an interactive, supportive, and fun environment, and this year, coinciding with the Deaflympics held in September in Taipei, many of the programs have taken on themes of compassion and perseverance.

According to Wang, one of the highlights of the festival, the Taiwan-Canada joint production effort, “Petit Pierre,” focuses on the life story of French artist Pierre Avezard, nicknamed Petit Pierre (1909-1992), who was born prematurely, or "unfinished" as he called himself.

Pierre was half-blind, almost deaf and mute, unable to learn to read or write, and had to work as a cattle-boy. By observing nature, animals and humans,he is impressed by the process of change and movement that generates everything.This he analyses, scrutinizes, and imitates, leading him to the creation, some forty years later, of an extraordinarily complex mechanical ride, the merry-go-around, a poetic machine of unique beauty and so mechanically complex that even engineers had difficulty explaining it.

"The joint production of ‘Petit Pierre’ is dedicated to all ‘unfinished’ children in Taiwan," Wang said.