Introduce your kids to the world of theater, performing arts, and storytelling—beyond the Disney Broadway shows—at the third annual Tilt Kids Festival, a world-class arts fest best experienced through the eyes of a child. Made in ingenious collaboration with the Cultural Service of the French Embassy and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), Tilt presents one-of-a-kind works—touching on themes from philosophy 101 to “radical inclusion”—from some of France’s most celebrated creators. We’ve curated the best bets from this year’s whimsy-filled festivities that children of all ages will fancy.
Celebrated French theater director Pommerat opens the fest with a contemporary interpretation of the classic fairy tale. He is beloved for his magical storytelling and commitment to transforming familiar stories into compelling theater for kids. This production with FIAF is part of Pommerat’s first U.S. tour and is, simply put, not to be missed. Saturday, March 3, and Sunday, March 4; FIAF Florence Gould Hall; good for ages 7 and up
If your kids are into dance, they will be way into the New York premiere of French choreographer Bel’s thought-provoking piece, Gala. He brings together 20 performers hailing from NYC—some professional, but mostly amateurs like you and me—ranging from 8 to 80 years old. Bel is well-known for evoking humor to connect audiences with his performances, and he will certainly encourage us to contemplate the purpose of dance and who gets to be a dancer during this production. Saturday, March 3; 3 p.m.; NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts; good for ages 7 and up
If your children are inspired by literature, philosophy, and design, the second weekend of the festival is tailor-made for them. Presented in collaboration with the Consulate General of Lebanon, award-winning actress Al Massri will read traditional Syrian and Lebanese folktales that have been shared among women for generations. This storytelling performance celebrates the publication of Pearls on a Branch, a compilation of Arab folklore published in English for the first time. Saturday, March 10; 11 a.m.; Cultural Service of the French Embassy; good for ages 5 and up
Miming suffers its share of mockery, but it’s actually an art form that naturally speaks to children. The well-known troupe Broken Box Mime Theater aims to revive the French tradition during the performance of its hit show, Destination: Everywhere. A speaking host will engage young audience members through the hour-long collection of stories told through movement and music; families will have the opportunity to learn how to mime afterward. Saturday, March 17; 11 a.m; FIAF Florence Gould Hall; good for ages 5 and up
The theme of the third and final weekend is music; the closing act makes sure the Tilt Festival ends with a bang. Drummer and educator Billy Martin, in collaboration with Tilt Brass, will invite participants to improvise a performance of his well-known piece Stridulations. Families will build instruments utilizing bamboo, woodblocks, and recycled materials, before engaging them and one another in a spontaneous, raucous good time. Sunday, March 18; 1 p.m.; Issue Project Room; good for ages 5–10
Tilt Kids Festival
Saturday, March 3–Sunday, March 18