a school bus, kids walking down a street, and sign

2018 EQT Children's Theater Festival: Your Complete Guide

Mon, May 14, 2018

Written by: Jennifer Wallisch

Spring has finally sprung, which can only mean one thing – the 2018 EQT Children’s Theater Festival is here! Join us downtown May 17-20 in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District for a weekend full of exciting performances and fun, free activities for kids of all ages – from babies to teens.

Look below to find everything you’ll need to know for your 2018 Festival experience!

Arriving Downtown

We’ve done our best to make getting downtown as easy as possible to help you make it to the Festival. Parking vouchers can be reserved in advance for the Theater Square Parking Garage, Sixth & Penn Garage, Market Square Garage, and 350 Oliver Garage (available Saturday and Sunday only), and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s easy to use parking website, ParkPGH, can show you exactly how many parking spots are available in each garage within the Cultural District, as well as thousands more within easy walking distance. For more information on parking, head to TrustArts.org/Parking.

If public transportation is more your speed, the Port Authority of Allegheny County provides a variety of public transportation services that can get you to the festival – including bus, light rail, incline, and paratransit.

Finding a Festival Guide


festival guide gives directions to family of three


Our friendly Festival Guides can be spotted in their signature green vests all over the festival grounds, roaming between theater venues or in brightly colored tents. They have brochures for you that have maps and full performance and activity schedules and will be happy to help you plan your daily itinerary. The Festival Guides know all the ins and outs of the festival, so feel free to flag them down with any questions!

Stopping for a Bite


families line up outside of food truck in the Cultural District


There are dozens of family-friendly restaurants around the Cultural District, within a short walk from the festival. With options ranging from BBQ to Mediterranean, you’ll be sure to find something that your kids will love. See a full list of family-friendly restaurants in the area.

Also be sure to check out the Food Trucks parked on-site at the Festival on 7th Street. There will be pierogis, burgers, ice cream, and more!

Designing Your Day at the Festival

The 2018 EQT Children’s Theater Festival offers many wonderful events and activities for the whole family to enjoy. With so many great options to choose from, you may be wondering what the best plan is for you and your family. We’re here to help! Below are some ideas for performances and activities for specific ages groups, all ages, or those with sensory sensitivities.

Babies and Toddlers

  • Toddlers and grown-ups alike will love Poggle – a warm-hearted performance that uses live music, clapping rhythms, and comedy to engage the youngest audience members
  • Visit the Imagination Playground to stack and build with Trying Together’s larger-than-life block system
  • Play Giant Games and experience Jenga and Connect Four in a big way
  • Join the PNC Grow Up Great Mobile Learning Adventure for some fun and educational games


a mom holds her baby, who is fascinated by a toy in front of him


Kids ages 3+


a pre-school aged child claps while her family smiles beside her


Pre-Teens and Teens

  • Experience The Young King – a coming of age story that takes audiences on a journey to faraway lands in an interactive tale full of rich rewards and challenging choices
  • Before performances of The Young King on Saturday, join City Theatre for a free pre-show activity that will flex your creative muscles while using everyday objects as inspiration for magical stories
  • Enjoy Green Screen Fun with the Mattress Factory and pose inside of Mattress Factory art installations
  • Design comics and cartoons with ToonSeum
  • Learn how to make silkscreen and relief prints through Screenprinting with AIR. On Saturday and Sunday during the festival, the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series and EQT Bridge Theater Series will give out a limited number of free tote bags for screenprinting. You can also bring your own light-colored t-shirt or tote bag to make a free screen-printed creation!
  • Build a LEGO car with the Steel City LEGO Users Group and race it in a LEGO Derby


a group of teens sit in a theater enjoying a show


All Ages

  • Kids of all ages will love Sunjata Kamalenya – a completely interactive show celebrating Sunjata Keita, the first mansa (king) of the ancient Empire of Mali
  • Join Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience for a musical experience informed by the signature sounds of Louisiana, including the chance to sing along to Terrence Simien’s song “Gonna Take You There” from Disney’s Princess and the Frog
  • Never miss a moment of fun at the Festival with the Frog Stop Scavenger Hunt supported by The Children’s Institute! Collect stickers at key locations throughout the festival to win a special prize at Katie’s Kandy
  • Swing by EQT Plaza for fun Pop-up performances – ranging from juggling and stilt walking to fiddling and a magic show
  • Join Arcade Comedy for the Penny Arcade and learn improv games designed for kids and families
  • For all the yogis out there, make sure to check out Kids Yoga with the Pittsburgh Yoga Collective, Family Yoga with Ali Popivchak, and Movement & Music with Gateway Health
  • Visit the Harris Theater to see a collection of 14 free animated and short films from the Best of New York International Children’s Film Festival: Kid Flix 1


two young girls smile at the camera. their faces are painted and they wear handmade headbands and crowns



  • Visit the Byham Theater on Saturday, May 19 at 2:45pm for a special Sensory-Friendly performance of the heartwarming tale, The Rainbow Fish
  • Join Bricolage in an exploration through The Forest of Everywhere – an enchanted open-world adventure where kids can be themselves
  • Enjoy Stim Toy Crafts and make small fidget toys with the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy
  • Join the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for an Adaptive Dance Class that explores creative movement and basic ballet
  • Visit the Animal Friends and their friendly Therapy Dogs on Sunday at the Byham


little girl in glasses holding fidget at sensory-friendly show


And there are still even more fun performances and activities for your family to enjoy throughout the festival! Discover the full list of festival events, including visual arts spaces and public art.

We’re all set up and ready to go, and our Festival Guides, staff, and volunteers are looking forward to your arrival. We can’t wait to see you there!

  • festivals
  • theater
  • family