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The 13th China Children’s Theatre Festival, themed Illuminate Young Hearts, Shape the Future, will be held in Beijing from July 12 to August 18, 2024. Across 38 days, the festival is divided into three major sections: online broadcasts of international children’s theatre, offline performances of domestic theatre shows for children, and various theatrical events. The festival will feature 33 theatre productions from 25 children’s theatre companies across 8 countries, with a total of 221 performances. Additionally, sub-venues will be set up in Jiaxing and Changzhou to benefit a wider audience of children and teenagers through a combination of online and offline events and showcases.

Promoting Cultural Exchange through International Online Showcase

During the 13th China Children’s Theatre Festival, a special online showcase of outstanding international plays for children will be held. CNTC extended invitations to worldwide groups and received 25 plays from 12 countries. After two rounds of review and selection, 8 plays from Russia, Japan, Norway, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Spain were chosen. These plays will be available for free on platforms such as China National Theatre for Children Weixin Channels and Douyin from August 5 to 8 and August 12 to 15.

This international online showcase not only brings plentiful experience of international theatre for children to Chinese audiences but also provides a platform for exchange and cooperation between Chinese and foreign children’ theatre groups. Additionally, it further promotes cultural exchange and understanding of children’s theatre around the world.


Domestic Performances and Events: Open Stage for Selected Productions

The opening performance of this year’s festival, a Song and Dance Theatre titled A Cat’s Legend in the Forbidden City co-produced by China National Theatre for Children and the Palace Museum, will illuminate this artistic summer. The lively ‘Forbidden City Cat’ uses theatrical art to showcase the ‘living Forbidden City’, taking the audience on a journey about friendship and companionship, memory and history, life and eternity. The closing performance in Beijing will feature the National Peking Opera Company’s first-ever parent-child Peking opera The Monkey King, allowing audiences to experience the charm of traditional Chinese opera.

The Blossom & Sailing Children and Youth Stage Art Incubation Project, a cradle for diverse children’s theatre works, has provided the market with dozens of creative productions. This year’s festival will showcase four standout plays from the second season, including River Frog and Sea Fish and Looking for Happiness. Additionally, the festival has invited works from the China National Theatre for Children’s ‘Seed Plan Project’, which expands traditional ‘performances for children’ to ‘writing for children to perform’. Henan Province Guangshan County Government will bring children’s plays Young Sima Guang and Lights, allowing children to shine on stage not only as audience members but also as actors.

During the 38-day festival, audiences can also enjoy rare world theatre genres and national intangible cultural heritage performances such as the Sichuan Province Giant Puppet Theatre’s large-scale mythological children’s puppet show Legend of Longmen. Furthermore, selected productions will be on the stage such as Beijing Children’s Art Theatre Co. Ltd’s play Where is Chang’an, and China Welfare Institute Children’s Art Theatre’s Picture Book Play General Heng and General Ha etc.

Public Welfare and Cultural Events Enhance Theatre Accessibility

The festival will host various theatrical art popularisationevents, such as paper art workshops, allowing children to experience the beauty of traditional culture while engaging with art. Additionally, the festival will continue the ‘Little Drama Critic’ review collection activity in collaboration with China Education Television, encouraging children to engage with children’s theatre works from their perspectives.

Adhering to the principles of high quality, low ticket prices, and public welfare, this year’s festival will continue the ‘Warm Action’ public welfare campaign, distributing free tickets to various groups and bringing art to the grassroots level. The festival aims to create an inclusive theatrical event that benefits all.

In 2023, to further enhance the social benefits of outstanding stage art works by national art troupes, China National Theatre for Children launched the project of ‘100+ Summer Tour of Outstanding Plays’, which was a success and welcomed by audiences nationwide. This year, the ‘100+ Summer Tour of Outstanding Plays 2024’ will feature ten children’s theatre shows, including A Cat’s Legend in the Forbidden City, Journey to the West(I, II&III), Little Truck · Chan-Chan-Change and The Frog Prince, with 172 performances in 29 cities and districts across 15 provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hubei, Henan, Fujian, Xinjiang, Anhui, Guangdong, and Hainan. This tour upholds the principles of high quality, low ticket prices, and public welfare, bringing national theatre works to children’s doorsteps, enriching their cultural lives, and allowing children nationwide to enjoy the nourishment of theatrical art.

During the festival, China National Theatre for Children will also launch cultural and creative products, including specially designed limited edition photo cards and, for the first time, creative ice creams modeled after the theatre’s exterior and characters from Journey to the West, such as Sun Wukong and Zhu Bajie.

China Children’s Theatre Festival is jointly organised by China National Theatre for Children, Dongcheng District Committee and Government of Beijing and China Children’s Drama Society (ASSITEJ China). Over the past twelve editions, China Children’s Theatre Festival has become a stage for highlighting the creative achievements in children’s theatre, a window for promoting exchanges between Chinese and foreign children’s theatre, a driving force for the development of children’s theatre, a festival that enriches the cultural lives of children, and an international brand for children’s theatre.


Edited by Tingyu Wang and Yixuan Peng

International Coordinator

China National Theatre for Children

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