Families across Melbourne are in for a treat, with a children’s literature and performing arts festival coming to the newly opened Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts at Monash University, Clayton.

The inaugural Family Fiesta, running in the school holidays from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th July is one of the few festivals in Australia which focuses on children’s literature and art. Curated for children aged 3-12 years, the festival features 10 free events and one ticket performance.  The festival activates all the venue spaces that make up the new performing arts centre and it is designed so families can drop in and explore throughout the day.

One of the highlights of the weekend is the stage show adaption of Oscar Wilde’s, The Young King by Slingsby Theatre Company. Internationally renowned for its detailed stagecraft, humour and awe-inspiring theatrical magic, The Young King continues Slingsby’s ten-year tradition of reinventing classic children’s stories with contemporary verve and ingenuity. The Young King tells the story of a young boy who suddenly discovers he is heir to a kingdom. The short story has been beautifully adapted for stage by Playwright Nicki Bloom, and uses inventive and immersive ways to get kids involved and engaged in the performance.

MLIVE’s Programming team curated Family Fiesta with the aim to introduce families to Monash University’s new state of the art venues, and to celebrate the importance of children’s literature, theatre and art.

Paul Grabowsky, Executive Director of Monash Academy of Performing Arts spearheads the team who produce MLIVE (Monash Live), a year-long program of Australian and international live music, theatre and dance curated for Melbourne’s diverse communities.

“Before the redevelopment of the Alexander Theatre in 2017, Monash was renowned for showing children’s theatre and school holiday programming. Family Fiesta is the first step to bringing that audience back. It will also be a chance to introduce the new venues within The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts,” said Mr. Grabowsky.

Running across the three days is the Fiesta Book Nook, a large bean bag reading area for parents and children to enjoy some of the top literary reads. The Book Nook will be home to special guest authors throughout the week, including cartoonist and children’s book creator, Judty Horacek, author of Where is the Green Sheep,  Andrew Hanson, author of Egyptian Animal Mummies (They Smell Pretty Bad Until You Get Used To It) and many more.

Another event for the whole family is Jessica Wilson’s I See You Like This, a mobile photo studio in which children art-direct a creative portrait directly onto their parent’s face. To add to the interactivity of the festival, Polyglot Theatre, Australia’s leading creator of participatory children and family theatre will showcase Sound of DrawingThis inspirational work allows sees children wear headphones and hear the sounds of their drawing as they create artworks.

Kids will also have a chance to meet book character, Maisy Mouse, who will be roaming around the venues all weekend. Adding to the fun will be DJ Mz Risk spinning children’s tunes, and Family Fiesta mini café where families can dine like a Young King and sample Maisy Mouse lemonade.

While children are being entertained, parents can relax in Script@ Jazz Club, a fully-licensed restaurant and bar.

The full program of events is below. All events are free except for the The Young King.  Some free events require registering online. To purchase tickets to The Young King or register for free events, head to the MLive website: https://www.monash.edu/mlive/whats-on/family-fiesta/