The EQT Children’s Theater Festival, May 17-19: Seven sensational shows let you travel the world without ever leaving the Cultural District!

Photos courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. 

Presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for its 38th year, kids and teens of all ages can discover scarily unlikely friendships, stories of freedom, and the mystifying adventures where theater and magic combine in this hopping, splashing, soaring celebration of youth theater!

Highlights include Manual Cinema’s multimedia hit Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster* (based on the work of Mo Willems), the contemplative one-man show Finding North*, and an adventure of imagination & projection technology with South Korean company Brush Theatre’s Poli Pop

And in Sunjata Kamalenya, based on the original tale of the Lion King, if you’re in the room…you’re in the show! Prowl, cheer and prevail in this immersive story set in 13th century Mali.

Ready for a gentler adventure? Join Phoebe the Gardner and “grow small” in the sensory-friendly production Frolic*, or enjoy the breezes and poetic voyages of Waves, All That Glows Sees.

No matter your journey, no matter your age, there’s a show fit for you in the EQT Children’s Theater Festival! And the most magical part of it all? Tickets begin at just $10! Read on to find out more about each show, and visit for your family’s tickets and info on FREE onsite activities including crafts, storytime, character meets, and more on Saturday & Sunday. 

*Sensory-friendly performance(s) available!


Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster

Byham Theater

Best for ages 3+

When unscary monster Leonardo finds Sam, the most scaredy-cat kid in the world, will he finally get to scare the tuna salad out of someone or will it be the start of an unlikely friendship? Watch it unfold as colorful puppets & props bring the work of Mo Willems to life.

Poli Pop

Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse

Best for ages 3+

Siblings Poli and Pola find their bedtime games taken over by imagination as they embark on a surreal, colorful journey through roaring seas, busy cities and more! But what they don’t know is there’s something else lurking in the shadows… what will they do?

Sunjata Kamalenya

August Wilson African American Cultural Center

Best for ages 5+

Guided by a storyteller, audiences are whisked away to 13th century Mali as traditional music, costumes, and scenery chronicle the story of a boy destined to lead in this participative tale based on the story of the Lion King.

Waves, All That Glows Sees

Trust Arts Education Center

Best for ages 18 months – 4 years old

An introductory voyage into the world of theater, visual poetry and mesmerizing storytelling enthralls even the youngest audiences with its gentle journey of water, breezes, creatures, melodies and finding meaning in the quiet around us.

Finding North

Point Park University’s Pittsburgh Playhouse

Best for ages 7+

Drawing on historical research and oral history, former enslaved man John P. Parker’s stories blend with other contemporary community members searching for haven, captivating the audience with conversations of prejudice, privilege, and freedom in America.


Trust Arts Education Center

Best for Neurodivergent Audiences ages 5+

The bloom is back – it’s time to play! “Grow small” with Phoebe the Gardner and Lionel the Glo Worm as they travel through the four seasons in a journey from her backyard oasis to a magical garden in this immersive, sensory-friendly experience.

Mr. Messado’s School of Magic for the Young and Young at Heart

Liberty Magic

Best for ages 8+

Forget everything you know about magicians pulling rabbits out of top hats. Superstar magician Mr. Messado stuns audiences in this spectacular show of magic words, interactive tricks, and heartfelt memories.