World-Class “Out Of The Box Festival”

Over the past week we’ve had great pleasure in visiting Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)’s “Out Of The Box” a biennial festival for children 8 years and under held at Brisbane’s cultural precinct in South Bank Parklands.

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This now huge community event was first started in 1992 as a way of nurturing children’s creativity and imagination. It’s become so big that it now runs for 8 straight days and offers families a range of free workshops and events, along with the opportunity to see world-class live performances and shows.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that this week was actually my first visit to this amazing event for kids #allthosewastedyears; but i’m so glad that i’ve finally had an opportunity to check it out with our boys.

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What we loved

  • There are pockets of things to see and do everywhere and like all good festivals and attractions, there is no way you can do it all in a day with young kids in tow. To keep your sanity in check, I recommend planning what you want to achieve before you get there and sticking to it.Warning: It’s easy to get distracted and it’s highly possible that you’ll want to come back for additional days.   Our plan of seeing  a performance one day followed by a couple of workshops seemed to work for us.

    To help with your planning you can find the festival map and schedule here: Click For Festival Map & Schedule

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  • On Day 1 of “Out Of he Box” we watched “Creature” An adaption of Dot and the Kangaroo in the Lyric Theater.  My 4 year old was captivated by this 45 minute live performance and the story it told us about the affects of human actions on the Australian environment.  These are the same messages he’s learning about at Kindy so he really understood and was interested.I think this show is good enough to tour other cities and would love to see it happen.  3D projectors were used to bring each of the characters to life on a big screen and acrobatic aerial performances were impressive!

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  • On our second visit we checked out the “Gazillion Bubble Show”. I was really excited to see this one.  This show is direct from Broadway and is put together by the Yang family who have traveled together for over 3 decades to bring their Guinness World Record breaking talents to the world. Their family current holds 17 world records including  the record for making the biggest bubble!Our boys were wowed by the laser lights, music and of course the bubbles…so mannny bubbles.  The show is really interactive; but as a heads up if you have a child with sensitivities to sound it can get quite loud. It’s just what happens when you’ve got a Concert Hall FULL of excited children who are high on bubbly wonder.We’d love to see this show again and hope to come across it one day in the future.  I think it would work really well on a Cruise Ship because it’s an all ages entertainer, has WOW factor and would certainly draw in the crowds.

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  • As for other observations, as mum’s we know that our little ones get tired easily.  The festival organisers are switched on to this and have organised plenty of spaces for children (and mum’s) to unwind. You don’t have to feel like you’re on the go the whole time, I took particular note of the following facilities for families:

Story Telling Times and Quiet Play Spaces:

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Rangoli art and craft:

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Gong Garden:

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 … and there’s even workshops dedicated to wellness including baby yoga, yoga for children, meditation, Kung Fu, Tai Chi and more! It’s “calm blue oceans” all the way here. 

I was also pleased to see many cultural traditions from other countries being shared with our Brisbane children. Bollywood Dancing and the Indian Holi Colour Throw were highlights and it was great to see little ones faces light up as they participated in these fun events.

Note -these are not just for kids…I saw a few mum’s in there too!  For many of us, this is probably as close to a good night out as we can get these days 😉

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Verdict:

QPAC’s “Out Of The Box ” festival has a great vibe and it’s fun!

We could have spent many more days happily exploring and enjoying everything that was on offer.

It is an easy visit because you can do it at your own pace. You’ll never feel over-crowded or rushed because everything is so spaced out.

Each of the workshops are run by skilled professionals passionate about their craft and volunteers who love working with kids. The live performances and shows that you can book in for are world class and really do make this a level up on any festival i’ve ever seen.

Finally…a tip from us which was probably obvious to everyone else is…. come dressed in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty! This is a hands on festival and as we know kids learn most through play.  They’re going to be playing with paint, roll in the grass, climb all over things…and loving it!

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Details:

QPAC’s “Out Of The Box” Festival for children 8 years and under. It runs from 21 – 28 June in QPAC and the Cultural Precinct of South Bank in Brisbane.

For ticketing and program information please visit: www.outoftheboxfestival.com.au

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Credits:

We attended performances of “Out Of The Box” as media guests of QPAC. All opinions are our own and correct at the time of publication.

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