The Little Festival will feature plays for children from Korea, Germany and the city

Get ensnared by evil Chef ‘Avacado de Guacamole'. Watch the letter ‘O' get transformed from a soccer ball to a soap bubble, and from a bubble to the sun shining in the sky. Dive into a Korean folktale, complete with soaring music and bright costumes.

The first edition of ‘The Little Festival,' which will run from June 10 to 19, promises to provide the city's children with a colourful escape into a world where magic reigns supreme. Comprising three performances, which will be staged across 10 shows at the Museum Theatre, Egmore, the International festival brings together Germany, Korea and Chennai on a single stage.

Ayesha Rau, of the Little Theatre that stages the city's annual Christmas Pantomime, who is organising the festival, explains why theatre is essential for children. “It helps develop artistic sensibilities,” she says, adding “I don't think everything has to be about education.” In a city rife with high academic achievers backed by ambitious parents, this is a message that's worth heeding. “Theatre builds personality,” says Ayesha. “Scientifically it's also been proved rhythm and music helps develop the left side of the brain — which is what you would use for engineering. Or to be a doctor.”

The festival, which she hopes to make an annual event, aims to bring child-oriented productions from different countries to the city stage. “It is a way of bonding between different countries… We have so much trouble — the arts is one way of cutting across these problems.”

Chennai's contribution to the festival is ‘The Kingdom of Joomba,' a musical with an original script and music. Stating that theatre for children is not necessarily by children, Ayesha explains that most of the actors this year are adults. The plays, however, are designed for children as young as three, with lots of colour, dancing and music. And, of course, flamboyantly cheerful characters.

The “Kingdom of Joomba” for instance is a fantasy set in an enchanted forest. There's a prince and princess. There's also a big, bright dragon. And that evil aforementioned chef. Of course, they'll all live happily ever after.

“Matti, Patti, Bu” staged by Fliegendes Theater, Berlin, is puppet theatre for children aged between three and six years. The story, which bounces with coloured shadows and live music, features Little Matti and his big friend Totto figuring out what ‘O' can be made into. “A monster with which they can play hide and seek, a captive balloon with which Matti travels through the air, a car with which he explores the world…” Finally, there's “Choon Hyang” by Theatre Seoul based on a famous Korean folktale. It is a musical in English that incorporates Korean music, dance and movement. The costumes here, made of Hanji paper, are a visual treat. \ ickets will be available at Landmark stores, Oxford Bookstore, Gatsby Village and ProMusicals. For bulk bookings call 28211115 or email littletheatre@gmail.com. The festival has been organised by the Little Theatre in collaboration with Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai and Inko Centre.

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