DreamBIG Children’s Festival | 18 – 27 May 2017


DreamBIG Children’s Festival 2017

The 2017 DreamBIG Children’s Festival is bursting with shows, events, activities, workshops and more that promise to entertain and inspire as well as educate and motivate young South Australian minds.

The Festival runs from 18 to 27 May 2017, and kicks off with a spectacular opening event that is fast becoming a festival tradition. More than 2,000 school children from primary schools across the State will gather outside Telstra Plaza, Adelaide Oval, for a singalong as the Mighty Choir of Small Voices then walk and sing their way across the Adelaide Oval Footbridge in an event called DreamBIG Singing.

The choir will sing a newly composed song, ‘Dream Big’, written by local musician Robyn Habel. The song celebrates the re-naming of the Come Out Children’s Festival as the new DreamBIG Children’s Festival.

Theme of this year’s DreamBIG Children’s Festival

The theme of this year’s festival is Feed The Mind and the opening spectacle will be a journey across the footbridge towards the Adelaide Festival Centre beneath 20 large parachutes, designed and decorated by 20 regional schools with images describing all the wonderful things that can feed our minds. 

These parachutes, a giant ‘axon’ of inspiration, will be held aloft by 100 retired teachers as a guard of honour, acknowledging their instrumental role in feeding the minds of our children. This joyful event will meld metro and regional schools in a cross-generational and symbolic celebration that salutes how the arts feed our minds for a lifetime.

Minister for the Arts, Jack Snelling says,

DreamBIG Children’s Festival marks a new beginning for this much-loved children’s festival. More than two million South Australian children have enjoyed this iconic event since it first began more than 40 years ago and for many youngsters, this festival provides their first steps into the magical world of theatre and performance. We know the 2017 program will feed the mind of all our young arts lovers, entertaining and educating, as well as igniting a lifelong love of the arts.”

Following the huge success of the Big Family Weekend in 2015, it’s back again, on the weekend of 20 to 21 May 2017. This year it will take the form of a trail of delight and wonder for the entire family.

The trail will be along North Terrace and various side streets and will incorporate shows, workshops, exhibitions, activities, eating, making, watching, laughing, thinking, chatting, questioning, dancing and singing. Follow the trail and discover an assortment of great events at the Botanic Gardens,  Ayers House, Adelaide University, Freemasons Hall, Art Gallery of SA, SA Museum, State Library, Migration Museum, Adelaide Festival Centre, Mercury Cinema, and more. The full schedule of events will be released in April 2017.

The 2017 program is again divided into two categories, the schools program where teachers and children can participate through their school and the general public program for families.

There will be more than 270 school shows and 126 general public shows. That includes 20 South Australian premieres, four Australian premieres and 9 world premiere events.


Performances at the DreamBIG Children’s Festival

Jump First, Ask Later

Adelaide Festival Centre presents Powerhouse Youth Theatre and Force Majeure’s Jump First, Ask Later. Urban dance meets parkour in this true story about how young people can achieve great things through different creative pathways. Ages 10+

The Listies 6D

The Listies is a kids’ comedy show all about the movies. Expect haunted backpacks, vomiting puppets and much more – best of all an actual movie is made at every performance with a helmet mounted GoPro. Ages 5-12


Tetris is a dynamic interpretation of the classic electronic game that has become part of video game history. Arch 8’s incredible acrobatic quartet explores how we connect with one another through movement, humour and some awesome audience participation where students become part of the action. This show from the Netherlands was the winner of ‘Best Show’ at the International Performance Arts for Youth 2015.  Tetris is for the kids who can’t sit still, the ones who like seeing patterns and those who can imagine further than they can see. Ages 5-12

McNirt Hates Dirt

McNirt Hates Dirt is a tender, funny tale of friendship and discovery that unfolds in a beautiful recycled world. This will be staged in an earth-inspired tent in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Ages 3-6 years | Read more here

Mr Stink

The team behind The 13-, 26-, and 52-Storey Treehouses live on stage returns with this touching, twisted, hilarious, and very smelly tale… hold on to your nose! It all starts when Chloe, just about the loneliest girl in the world, makes friends with Mr Stink, the local tramp. Sure he smells a bit, but he’s the only person who’s ever been nice to her. So, when Mr Stink needs a place to stay, Chloe decides to hide him in the garden shed. Now Chloe’s got to make sure no one finds out her secret, but she’s about to learn that some secrets have a way of leading to disaster. And speaking of secrets, there just might be more to Mr Stink than meets the eye or the nose.


HARTby She Said Theatre, shares the silenced stories of our country in a way which is both meaningful and accessible, detailing the unknown number of indigenous Australian children who were forcibly removed from their families. Hart is performed by Noongar man, Ian Michael, who was Best Emerging Artist winner at Adelaide Fringe 2016. Ages 12-17

Gone Viral

In an Australian premiere, Gone Viral, by Free Range Theatrix, is a prize-winning play which won the Trinity College London International Playwriting Award for teenage audiences. Cassie is 17 years old and her father is dying of cancer. Somehow Cassie must find the words to say goodbye – but how can she do this without revealing who she really is? Would he still love her if he knew the truth…that she’s not the sweet little girl he thinks she is.  Alongside the painfully important issue of childhood grief, this award-winning play tackles some of the most pressing issues facing young people today with humour and sensitivity. Ages 12+

Frozen Girl

Frozen Girl tells the story of Kathryn – a sister, a daughter and Jane’s very best friend. When Jane and her family leave to live in another city, Kathryn’s world falls apart. Created by members of the Tutti Performing Arts Ensemble with director Juha Vanhakartano, writer Emily Steel and design artist Mawar Mawarini, Frozen Girl is experimental theatre which asks what happens when a 13-year-old becomes lost in her own world. Ages 11-14

The Lion Who Wanted to Love

Set in the beautiful Adelaide Zoo, The Lion Who Wanted to Love tells the story of Leo the Lion who doesn’t fit in. An uplifting concert featuring the music of composer Paul Rissmann and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, kids will sing, roar and most importantly help Leo save the day! Ages 3-6

Grave Child

Don’t miss the chilling production, Grave Child. Set in a children’s cemetery, this show is inspired by true stories of South Australia’s near and distant past. It will be held in the highly atmospheric basement of the Adelaide Freemasons Hall and audience members can wander from grave to grave where they meet an array of departed young souls – hearing chilling tales told in urgent whispers. Ages 11+

Losing Faith in Unicorns

Teenagers will step into a real house in Adelaide’s southern suburbs for the production of Losing Faith in Unicorns. Created by real teenagers in collaboration with artists, this is part performance, part immersive installation based on the theme of growing up. Ages 12-16

E Bully

E Bully is another production that tackles the tough issues. Award winning director Alirio Zavarce and the True North Youth Theatre Ensemble look at the issue of cyber bullying and open up discussions for and by young people, in search of strategies to cope. Ages 10-17.


Step into the undersea world in the multi-sensory production of Oddysea. Designed specifically for children with complex and multiple needs, the performance involves an extensive workshop process in the lead up to a full performance that unfolds around each audience member with songs, touch, smell and taste as it tells the story of Crab and Turtle’s adventures (tiny capacity). Ages 4-12. | Read more here

Touch & Go

For the little ones, don’t miss Touch & Go by Sally Chance Dance, a dancing game designed especially for two year olds.


And for the babies, there’s Rain, an interactive performance installation for babies and their carers where two performers and a cellist create space that welcomes babies who can wander in the rhythm of the rain. Ages 0-12 months.

In a Deep Dark Forest

In a Deep Dark Forest is an adventure game set in a magical pop up forest – this is participatory problem solving theatre at its very best. Ages 7-11.

Cubby Town

A hit at 2015’s Come Out Children’s Festival, Cubby Town will be given a paper white makeover for 2017!  Families can visit Cubby Town in its new home at the State Library where they will have the opportunity to work with a professional artist to create their own artwork to add to the gallery. CubbyTOWN Gallery is a living, ever-changing gallery where everyone gets to make their mark. All ages 

Into the Jungle

Into the Jungle, by Side Pony Productions, features The Flesh Beasts and the Slaterfaces who are fighting for territory in the heart of the jungle – students will step into the story and play a character in this action packed, immersive audio experience, equipped with mobile phone and headphones. Ages 8+

Adelaide International Youth Film Festival

Families can also enjoy the Adelaide International Youth Film Festival featuring the best short films from all over the world, including some made by children themselves. 


There are also loads of incredible workshops on during the Festival including The Children’s Republic of Adelaide which explores the notion of what would happen if the children of Adelaide joined together and made their own country – what would it look like?  Students will engage in creative thinking as they determine the foundations of an ideal nation, complete with laws, flags and banners. Paper Planet workshop is an environmental installation created by children from the simplest of materials. The paper world gradually grows, limited only by the size of the students’ imaginations.

Indigenous Hip-Hop Projects is a team of talented artists in all elements of hip hop, entertainment and performing arts. They will be running workshops with local school children during DreamBIG, as well as spending a week with students at Coober Pedy Area School.

Also look out for workshops from Restless Dance Company’s Come Dance With Me, Again, the Mucho Mucho Silent Disco Walking Tours, the muddy fun of Squelch, plus loads of other workshops, exhibitions, performances and events.

For more information and ticket bookings see the DreamBIG Festival website.

WhatDreamBIG Festival

When: Thursday 18 May to Saturday 27 May 2017

Where: Adelaide Festival Centre | King William Road, Adelaide & various locations

Who: Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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