Stories focus of kids' art festival

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 3rd annual Way out West (WOW) Festival for Children

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 3rd annual Way out West (WOW) Festival for Children

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 3rd annual Way out West (WOW) Festival for Children

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 3rd annual Way out West (WOW) Festival for Children

THIS year's Way out West Festival for Children will explore the many concepts of cultural storytelling.

The free event, at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre from July 9 to 12, is Sydney's only contemporary arts festival dedicated to children.

It will feature 23 hands-on sessions and workshops that make use of stories from around the world, including from Japan, Egypt and Australia.

The festival's producer Jacqueline Hornjik said the main event would be Tanabata: Wish upon a star.

"Tanabata is based on the Japanese tradition which is as big as our Easter or Christmas," Ms Hornjik said.

"The story behind the festival tells of when the weaving princess Orihime met the cow-herder Hikoboshi.

"They then fall in love and start to ignore their chores.

"So her father splits them up and puts them on different sides of the galaxy.

"It is really cute. He says to them that unless they right the wrongs they cannot be together."

Ms Hornjik said that once a year, on July 7, Orihime's father allows them to see each other.

"All of the boys and girls in Japan would go outside at night and they wish really hard for no rain so Orihime and Hikoboshi can safely travel across the galaxy and see each other," she said.

"The whole festival is about wishing really hard for all of your dreams to come true.

"As part of Tanabata they do this thing called Tanzaku where children create little wishes and connect them to bamboo trees."

Ms Hornjik said children, together with Japanese artist Chaco Kato, would build a giant galaxy and learn about Japanese origami and kirigami.

Spaces in the workshops are limited. Ms Hornjik recommended parents call and book in advance.

Details: Call, 9824 1121 or visit, wayoutwestfestival.com.au.

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