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Maxing the fun of the Festival for littlies

Published on 3 May 2018

Take the stress out of bringing your children to Grahamstown – the Children’s Arts Festival offers a creative arts programme specially designed for primary school children that runs from 28 June to 7 July.

You can drop your children off at St Andrew’s Preparatory School (the venue for the Children’s Arts Festival) at 9am for a day of amazing and awesome activities and collect them at 5pm. They’ll beg you to send them again! Each day includes an age-appropriate National Arts Festival production, arts-related workshops and lunch.

The Children’s Arts Festival has a boarding programme, a day programme (for Grades 3 to 7) and a pre-primary (half or full day) programme held in the beautiful, interactive pre-primary school grounds.

National Arts Festival performers facilitate drama workshops and there are also marimba, gumboot dancing and creative movement workshops that will bring out that rhythm they never thought they had.  The hand-craft workshops include techniques such as painting, beadwork, leather work, paper-craft, mosaics, carnival masks and calligraphy.

The Festival also always has special surprises in store – last year they welcomed Gruffalo and Mouse to the primary school, while the older kids enjoyed a slapstick physical theatre workshop with the hysterical cast from the UK production of Police Cops. In 2015, Aussie beat-boxing world champ Tom Thum visited the children to give them a demo and, last year, they were enthralled by 13-year-old violinist, Pendo Masote. Giant puppets, stilt walkers and even Joey the Warhorse have been seen wandering around the grounds of the Children’s Arts Festival – it’s the place to be!

  • Booking is essential as the programmes fill up very quickly.  Visit or phone Cindy Renard or Victoria Ter Morshuizen on 046 622 2148 for more booking information.

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CAF Director Cindy Renard with her husband Andrew
CAF Director Cindy Renard with her husband Andrew

Tea with Cindy, the Boss of the Children’s Arts Festival

Cindy Renard is the Director the Children’s Arts Festival, a job she has been doing since 2008 (happy 10th anniversary, Cindy!) We sat her down to ask her a few pertinent questions about her job…

What is the best part of your job?

So clichéd but I do love every part of it.  Particularly though the buzz on the first day as we are about to throw open the doors and to then experience the joy of knowing that everything that you have worked on for the past 11 months all just comes together.  I like to call it happy chaos.

Over your time at CAF what was the funniest moment?

The funniest moment was during lunch time couple of years ago: the group leaders were collapsed in the staffroom having their lunch, comfortable in the knowledge that the children were quite fine outside in the quad because there was lots of happy laughter drifting inside. I wandered outside – as I do occasionally – only to discover that they were having the most enormous Jelly Tots food fight.  Although I had to put my serious Boss Face on and say that it was not a good idea, I was collapsing inside – it must have been such fun – imagine being the person to throw the first Jelly Tot!  Needless to say Jelly Tots are no longer part of our packed lunches.

And the time you were most proud of what you and your team pull together?

Certainly one of the proudest moment was having Joey the horse from the stage show War Horse visit the Children’s Arts Festival – our little festival in little old Grahamstown on the tip of Africa to be visited by this icon was particularly magical for us.

Best time of the day?

Lunch time – when we have up to 200 children chit-chatting away in the quad about what they have seen or made and getting excited about what they are still going to do.