2016 Way Out West Festival

WOW16 SaltbushSydney’s only contemporary arts festival dedicated to children and families, Way Out West (WoW) Festival for Children will return for its sixth year to Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre for four inspirational days of free creative sessions with Australia’s leading artists from 13 July 2016.

Curated for young minds aged zero to 12 years, the WoW Festival aims to creatively empower children and foster their imagination through workshops, hands on experiences and performances. This year’s theme, Are we there yet? Journeys to Discovery will reflect on the feelings associated with life’s journeys and the memorable components of discovery.

In 2016, young audiences will have the opportunity to experience a plethora of activities, with 65 artists participating in the Festival, offering more than 27 different sessions and workshops, across a huge four days of creativity, learning, fun and games.

“We are thrilled to present the program for WoW Festival in 2016,” says Jacqueline Hornjik, WoW Festival curator. “Last year the Festival attracted over 10,000 people, and we expect this year to be even bigger! The Festival continues to be wildly popular with young audiences, and we feel that this year’s themes of Journey and Discovery will really ring true for so many of our young people.”

Highlights of the 2016 WoW Festival include: Present to the Future – where young audiences will have the opportunity to learn from their elders and join local seniors in story-telling sessions, or assist in creating giant flying kites, to be ceremoniously released on the final day of the Festival; or explore the culture and landscape of Indigenous Australia in the theatre performance, Saltbush – which tells the story of two friends from vastly different backgrounds as they cross Australia on foot.

The infectious sounds and visual vibrancy of the Jamestown Collective will also be on offer with explosive performances combining percussion, acrobatics and dance. The group will also offer a hands-on Junk Percussion workshop, where children can create their own instruments.

Featuring 2014 Australian Poetry Slam Champion Zohab Khan, Kids Slamorama will raise the Casula Powerhouse roof with pumping poetry, rhythm and rhyme, offering participants the chance to hone their spoken word and poetry skills, and ultimately perform their own poem, rap, story or monologue on stage.

Adding a technological element to the WoW Festival will be Virtual Dreaming – a guided virtual reality tour with the Darug tribe through the Western Sydney region prior to white settlement.

“Once again, I am honoured to be celebrating the creativity and talent of young people with the Way Out West Festival for Children,” said Liverpool City Council Mayor, Ned Mannoun. “This year’s themes of Journey and Discovery are fitting topics for a city that has one of the highest intakes of refugee settlers in Australia. These migrants make so many positive contributions to the local community and this theme deserves to be celebrated.”

The 2016 Way Out West Festival for Children runs 13 – 16 July at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. All events and performances are free however numbers are limited at selected events. Registrations are essential. For more information, visit: www.wayoutwestfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Insite Arts production of Saltbush