If you’d like to give your kids a treat, as a reward for their kickass efforts at school, the arts festival for children and young people that’s held annually in Valletta is your answer. Playfully titled Ziguzajg (which translates to zigzag in English), the festival returns for the third consecutive year next week and is once again boasting an exciting repertoire of local and foreign performances.
Directed by Toni Attard and hosted largely by St. James Cavalier, this festival is aimed at children of all ages and feeds into a creative base through theatre, dance, music, circus, film and visual arts. The fun begins next Monday 17th and ends on Sunday 23rd November, and tickets per event cost a cheaply €2 each on average — unless, as in some cases, entrance is free.
The festival has been described as a celebration of the borderlessness and fearlessness of the upcoming generation, which has been interpreted in various ways, through stories and creative workshops circling themes such as co-existence, acceptance and exploration.
For the youngest of contingents, there’s Sonoro Tubas, a hands-on musical storytelling event using percussion instruments that recreate songs into games, and Gribouillie, a French nonverbal theatrical production which plays on the idea of space. Both promise to be a bundle of fun for toddlers and their parents.
Kids over the age of 3, there’s a puppet show called Fly Flynn and a nonverbal theatrical piece titled The Black Sheep, both of which, in their own way, talk about diversity, as well as See-Quatic, a dance that takes children on an explorative journey into the depths of the sea. Exciting explorations await 5 and 6 year olds too: stories about the environment told through plays and soundscapes, and about the mysterious man who helps out a plant in need, as well as a circus, and a retelling of The Fisherman and his Wife.
Il-Mudlamin (8+), a Trevor Zahra special, seems not for the faint-hearted, as this underground journey takes participants through the rumoured city that lies beneath Valletta itself to explore the existence of the folk that once were. On a different note, 9+ children can join in on the haiku train with Hajkuhajk through an interdisciplinary exercise in creative writing.
On a more digital slant, an experiment in self-portaiture and reflection through digital means, called /》s[lfi/ (Selfie), will be open to a 10+ audience in the Main Hall of St James Cavalier throughout the entire duration of the festival. A slightly adventurous piece by Simone Spiteri, #babydaddy, uses the modern hashtag format to appeal to kids whose lives turn upside down with unexpected parenthood.
All this and more goes on every day of the week throughout Valletta next week. Tickets are available from ziguzajg.org, and all purchased tickets have to be collected from the St James Cavalier box office an hour prior to the beginning of the performance. Meanwhile, no tickets are required for Selfie, Solo i Bambini ci Salveranno and the Kirana Sunday Parade.