Editors' pick

Kids Euro Festival

Children's Theater, Kid-Friendly

Editorial Review

Performances, each representing a European country, will be held at multiple locations. Registration is required for most events. See the Web site for a full schedule.

Festival Brings a Taste of Europe to Area Kids

By Amanda Erickson
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, October 9, 2009

If the cost of a family vacation to Europe makes you quake, sit tight: A free sampler of the continent's finest theatrical traditions is coming to your doorstep.

Starting Thursday through Nov. 9, the Kids Euro Festival is bringing 150 events to venues across the region. The performances and workshops, for children ages 6 to 12, are designed to showcase the varied theater traditions in the European Union and teach kids about life in countries including France, Ireland, Germany and Greece.

"Children's culture has a strong position in Europe," says Mats Widbom of the Swedish Embassy and one of the festival's lead organizers. "We wanted to celebrate that."

We've rounded up some of the can't-miss performances. All are free, and reservations are not required unless noted. For a complete schedule or to make reservations, call 202-944-6558.

"Land of Dragon Riders"
In the tradition of Hungarian storytelling, this show features folktales, castle legends and oral history along with a dollop of audience participation. The performances are Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center (2700 F St. NW) and Oct. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at Strathmore (10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda) and 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the National Children's Museum Launch Zone (112 Waterfront St., National Harbor). Reservations are required at Strathmore.

"Waiting for Julio"
As its title suggests, this show is about passing time. When it opens, the star is so late that stage manager Peppe comes out to entertain the crowd with magic, acrobatics and a quick Spanish lesson. The play runs Oct. 17 at noon and 2 p.m. at the House of Sweden (2900 K St. NW) and Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center.

"Hopa Tropa"
Bulgarian and American puppeteers perform traditional Bulgarian folk tales. The shows are Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center; Oct. 31 at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F St. NW); and Nov. 1 at 3:30 p.m. at La Maison Francaise (4101 Reservoir Rd. NW). Reservations are required at Harman Hall and La Maison Francaise.

The clown doctor Frankalele, a London import, brings improvisation, slapstick and music to audiences with his new show, "Hopefool," which will be performed Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center.

"Beware of the Wawel"
Dragon Author Paul Slusarewicz tells a traditional Polish folk tale about a dragon with the assistance of audience members, who help him build some of the scenery and learn a few Polish words. The performances are Oct. 31 and Nov. 7 at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the National Children's Museum Launch Zone.

"The Dream Robber"
This story of an inventor who sets out to find the robber who stole his son's dreams is told with music and humor. The shows are Oct. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center and Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. at the Embassy of Finland (3301 Massachusetts Ave. NW) and 5 p.m. at La Maison Francaise. Reservations are required at La Maison Francaise.

"Irregular and Irresistible Adventures of Milda the Wonder Kid in Vingis Park"
This one-woman show uses Lithuanian mythology to explore how a 12-year-old girl from Lithuania confronts the challenge of moving into a globally oriented world. The performances are Nov. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the Washington Ballet (3515 Wisconsin Ave. NW) and 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center, and Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m. at Sidney Harman Hall. Reservations are required at the Washington Ballet and Harman Hall.