April 21, 2019 7:59 pm
Updated: April 21, 2019 8:25 pm

Calgary’s new children’s festival announces local lineup

WATCH: Create, Calgary's new children's festival, replaces the defunct Calgary International Children's Festival with local artists. Michael King reports.

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One of the city’s most popular kid-friendly events is back on the calendar.

The lineup for Create, Calgary’s new children’s festival, was announced Sunday.

This comes less than a year after the Calgary International Children’s Festival folded because of financial problems.

READ MORE: Calgary International Children’s Festival shuts down after 32 years

In July, organizers said that due to a drop in corporate sponsorship and ticket sales, the festival would have to raise costs for the families attending if it was going to continue.

During the cancellation announcement, board chair Carri Clarke said that wasn’t an option because the festival was committed to keeping costs affordable.

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She also said at the time that she hoped a new group would fill the gap.

“Maybe a new grassroots movement, somebody with some different ideas,” said Clarke. “It could also involve some of the existing theatre companies or music companies maybe expanding their repertoire and offering more performances, at least to school children, if not the public.”

Mandy Morris, artistic director of Create, is doing just that. Morris said that while the new festival is not associated with the Calgary International Children’s Festival, the goal of introducing performance art to kids remains the same.

READ MORE: Creative Calgary calls for $20M per year in funding for the arts

From a financial viewpoint, Morris is keeping costs low by hiring local artists instead of international acts, adding that this also helps keep the focus on Calgary’s art scene.

“We’re going to build it so that it’s more of a community-based event,” said Morris. “This year, it’s starting really small in just two venues, but we want to grow.”

As the sole producer of the festival, Morris also said she has a lot riding on its success.

“I am producing [the festival myself] so that means I’m taking all the risk right now,” said Morris. “But I also think it’s important for Calgary to provide those learning opportunities so that our kids can continue to grow.”

Morris herself is also performing during the festival alongside The Kiddonauts and Rattle and Strum, DJ Jamz and local clown Mr. Chris.

Create runs from May 24 to 26 at Doherty Hall on the Stampede grounds, with free events at Shelf Life Books.

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