A little culture for the kids

The three-day Children’s Theater Festival in Haifa features more than 200 performances.

A little culture for the kids (photo credit: Kfir Bolotin)
A little culture for the kids
(photo credit: Kfir Bolotin)
Zviah Huberman, artistic director of the annual Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival, believes that “only professionals should perform for children.” That is why the caliber at the 23rd annual festival is extremely high, she says.
The festival takes place during Passover (March 27–29) at the Haifa Municipal Theater Complex, whose CEO Nitza Ben-Zvi is the producer of the event, as well as at the auditorium at the Carmel Center, an exciting new addition this year.
Featuring more than 200 performances for children of all ages, the three-day event will host theater troupes from all over the world, such as Australia, Austria, France, Italy and Spain.
There will also be a number of street theater productions, which will take place throughout the city and are free of charge. The art direction of the street events is done by members of the Ortho-Da theater group, Yinon Zafrir and Avi Gibson Barel.
Another highlight of the festival will be the annual playwright competition, which will feature six plays chosen from a large selection of entries. The contest features plays that range from “impressive large- scale shows to small plays for little children.” The winner of the competition, who will receive a large cash prize, is chosen by guest judges who are accomplished theater community members but whose names are not revealed ahead of time.
Huberman is in charge of a new project, King Solomon’s Daughter , a multimedia show featuring acrobatics, ballet, masquerade and more. The play, which Huberman wrote and directed, is based on a book by Bialik. It will premiere on the opening night of the festival. “I made it modern and brought it to life on the stage,” she says.
The story is about the beautiful princess Na’ama, daughter of King Solomon, and her search for love. Na’ama rejects all potential suitors suggested by her father, only to be locked away in a tower. She ends up finding what she is looking for in the least likely of places.
“The tale of true love’s moral is about finding social justice and being true to your values,” explains Huberman.
While the common thread among the productions is that they are meant for children, Huberman says there is no specific theme for the festival. “We want our artists to be able to create freely and from the bottom of their hearts, and a theme restricts them,” she insists, referring back to her thoughts on the professionalism of children’s theater.
Theater is an important tool for education, she says, and it is important for children to receive a quality education, whether it is at school, at home or at the theater.
Although the festival is geared for children, the whole family will have plenty to experience in various parts of the event.
March 27–29. For more information, visit www.haifakids.co.il. For tickets, call (04) 860-0500.