EQT Children's Theater Festival Returns to the Cultural District

The beloved Festival returns to in-person celebration of the arts for the first time in three years

March 29, 2022

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Announces
36th Annual EQT Children’s Theater Festival

May 14-15, 2022 | Pittsburgh’s Cultural District |

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is excited to announce that the EQT Children’s Theater Festival will be live and in-person again in 2022. The last in-person Festival took place in 2019, with multiple iterations of the event taking place online to help children connect with the arts throughout the pandemic. Now in its 36th year, this EQT Children’s Theater Festival fosters imagination through high-quality professional theater performances from around the world. This year’s featured arts groups and performers hail from France, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States. The featured theater performances at this year’s Festival include Starshine, a magical immersive theater piece about the constellations, Flutter, a piece about the seasons for babies and their caregivers, Grimmz Fairy Tales, a hip-hop remix of your favorite fables, Won’Ma Afrika, breathtaking acrobatics and death-defying feats, Doodle POP!, a visual adventure through the ocean, and PSS PSS, a silent physical comedy piece.

“After three years away from the Cultural District, we couldn’t be more excited to present the EQT Children’s Theater Festival live and in-person this year,” shares Pamela Komar, Director of Theater, Music, and Youth Programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “Our theater staff, performers, artists, and community organizations have been planning for this event for years now and we have some very special things in store for you.”

The EQT Foundation, which was established by EQT Corporation, the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, returns in 2022 as the Festival’s lead and title underwriter, connecting the Pittsburgh community to international arts, entertainment, and culture. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust thanks EQT Foundation for their stalwart support, particularly throughout the pandemic and the ever-changing status of the Festival. Through focused giving, the EQT Foundation provides educational opportunities for all ages, values the development of livable communities, and is committed to the preservation of natural resources in our region.

“The EQT Foundation is honored to once again provide underwriting support for the EQT Children’s Theater Festival,” said Ellen Rossi, President, EQT Foundation. “We are so grateful that we can finally gather in the amazing Cultural District theaters and art spaces as we celebrate our region’s rich network of talented artists and welcome international performers to the Festival. This event has become a staple of the springtime in Pittsburgh, and we cannot wait to see you there!”

In addition to the EQT Foundation, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust thanks its sponsors, Giant Eagle, Inc., The Fine Foundation, Highmark Wholecare, the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment, Allegheny Regional Asset District, The Grable Foundation, and The Buhl Foundation. Special thanks to collaborators Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, City of Pittsburgh, Citiparks, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Alco Parking Corporation, The Milk Shake Factory, and PPG.



Jumping Jack Theater

Look up! Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to touch the stars? You’re invited to join us on a sensory enriched journey through the galaxy.

Cozy up in the magic of the sky as you gaze at constellations, dance with asteroids, hear the soothing sounds of space, and even lend a helping hand so that every star can shine its brightest. Stars are unique just like you.

This adventure to the stars is an intimate theatrical experience for a small group of audience members and their caregivers. It takes place in a smaller, private room within the Byham Theater. We will bring you an effortless and sensory-focused production that will leave you feeling inspired and ready to soar!

Age Recommendations: Best ages 5 and up

This Show Features: Visuals, Sounds, Objects, Language, Music, Textures, Interactivity

Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers' Flutter, for babies ages 6-18 months and their caregivers, is a stunning new discovery play that introduces the very young to the four seasons.

Flutter explores the seasons through a sensory journey of visuals, sounds, objects, some language, and play. As Flutter begins, caregivers and babies are seated in the round, with the performance in the center.  Original music creates each seasons’ tone, and ambience; music being the first language for the very young mind. Babies and toddlers will have the freedom to crawl, walk, and move within the space, investigate hands-on textures, while experiencing the language, sounds, music, and engaging visuals.

Conceived and written by Mara McEwin, with choreography by Emily Bunning.

Age Recommendations: Best for ages 6-18 months and their caregivers

This Show Features: Visuals, Sounds, Objects, Language, Music, Textures and Freedom to explore

Grimmz Fairy Tales
Experiential Theater and Children’s Theater of Charlotte

Jay and Will Grimmz, the hip-hop, fable, story-dance-pop sensations, have come back home to the city where they grew up to give a concert. They’re known not just for their sounds, but for the stories their music tells through, off-the-chart theatrical effects.

They’ll be performing some of their greatest hits including Snow White and the Seven Shawties, Down with Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel: Lost in the Streets, and their featured first Granny-winning song, Cinderella Remix! A concert experience like none other! “A hip-hop revelation for the younger generation!”

Playwrights: Christopher Parks, Ron Lee McGill, Rasheem Shabazz
Musical Director: Osei Kofi Williams
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte:
Artistic Director: Adam Burke
Managing Director: Linda Reynolds

Age Recommendations: Best for ages 6-13

Won’Ma Afrika
Cirque Kalabante

You’ll be blown away by the breathtaking acrobatics and death-defying feats of Won’Ma Afrika!

Kalabanté’s daring acrobats perform to the pulsating rhythm of the djembes of Guinea. This entertaining show embodies the strength, agility and joy of life found in African youth. Their joie de vivre is so infectious that afterwards you just might backflip out of the theater!

Age Recommendations: Best for all ages

This Show Features: Dance, Music, Literature, Poetry, Cultural studies, Cultural perspectives, Diversity and Inclusion, Fitness, Physics

Doodle POP!
Brush Theatre

Co-presented by the Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse

The mischievous Doodle POP! duo invites you into the delightful doodling world!

Join as they experience an exciting adventure in an ocean world they imagine and create on stage.  What will happen to them in this beautiful but strange watery world? Will they be able to return a turtle doodle to the sea safely?

With live sound effects, animation, and theatrical imagination, this is a touching and exciting show for anyone ages 3+. This show is mostly visual and is played with limited words. The theater will be darkened at times during the show.

Doodle POP! is supported by PPG.

Age Recommendations: Best for ages 3-7

This Show Features: Music, Acting, Movement, Audience Participation, Science, Projection, Animation, Puppetry, Communication Skills, Teamwork

Compagnia Baccalà

Co-presented by the Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse

Inventive, exciting, and ridiculous, this breathtaking duet of mishaps and acrobatics will have you laughing long after you leave the theater. Inspired by physical comedy of silent film stars like Charlie Chaplin, Pss Pss is a timeless performance of enthralling physicality and delightful expressions. Winner of 15 international prizes, including the Cirque Du Soleil prize, you’ve never seen anything like this.

This show is played without traditional words. The theater will be darkened at times during the show. There are elements of surprise.

Age Recommendations: Best for ages 8-adult

This Show Features: Acting, Physical Theater, Humor, Acrobatics, Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution

Mr. Messado’s School of Magic for the Young and Young at Heart
Liberty Magic / Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Forget everything you know about magicians pulling rabbits out of top hats. Mr. Messado brings a fresh take on the age-old art of prestidigitation. Mr. Messado’s Magic School for the Young and Young at Heart will have both teens AND adults amazed from start to finish! This 60-minute spectacular, featuring a combination of stunning magic and clean comedy, is full of interactive wonder. Whether it be shouting the magic words from the comfort of your seats or by coming up on stage to be trained as a magical assistant, every member of your party will actively participate throughout the show. Mr. Messado’s story begins on the TV screen of his grandmother’s Philadelphia living room where global stars like Michael Jackson and David Copperfield ignited a love for entertainment and storytelling. In this deeply personal, hilarious and engaging performance you’ll get to know the mister behind the magic, the rabble-rousing raconteur behind the cape, the magic mentor who is Mr. Messado.

This unique family friendly matinee takes place each Sunday at Liberty Magic, our one-of-a-kind intimate speakeasy with only 67 seats in 4 rows, typically reserved only for adults. Mr. Messado’s Magic School for the Young and Young at Heart is recommended for ages 13+. Younger siblings ages 6 years and older are welcome too. No tattletales, snitches, or cheats. 

Joshua Messado started Messado Magic over 20 years ago at the Houdini’s magic theatre in Atlantic City, NJ. There he found his passion for performing and discovered the linking rings, which is now his signature effect.  After Houdini’s, he co-owned a magic shop and theatre in Philadelphia, PA for several years. His career in magic led to national and international television appearances as seen on Wizard Wars with Penn and Teller, SyFy Channel (USA), Temple University TV (USA), Illusions of grandeur, OLN (Canada) and recently on Farid Magic 13, Pro7 (Germany). He’s performed at reputable theatres like the Magic Castle in Hollywood, Chicago Magic Lounge, and Monday Night Magic in New York. He is well equipped with stunning sleight of hand with comedic timing to amaze a wide variety of spectators: corporate shows, college market, resorts, celebrities, adults, and children alike. References are ranging from TD Bank, Tropicana Casino to David Copperfield.


JazzTime! Musical for Children and Families

Adapted from Stage to Screen for educators and group leaders

Produced by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust with support from PNC Grow Up Great presented in partnership with the EQT Children’s Theater Festival

In this 30-minute production, students will experience the styles and elements of jazz music through a special musical created and performed by local Pittsburgh talents! The show will begin with Grandma Rose as she reminisces about the good old days as a popular vocalist with a band of the finest musicians. After a clumsy fall over the boxes in her attic, Rose awakes to music being played by her old band! Now reunited, they sing the old songs that taught her all about jazz music, exploring tempo, dynamics, melody, improvisation and more. This musical performance adapted for the screen presents children with an introduction to jazz that will be sure to inspire.

Violinists Kev Marcus and Wil. B use their unique blend of classical and hip-hop music to overcome stereotypes while encouraging people of all ages, races, and economic backgrounds to join to break down cultural barriers.


Featured performance tickets are $12 each. Some performances will sell out in advance. To avoid disappointment, plan ahead and visit , call 412-456-6666, or visit the Box Office at Theater Square to purchase. Tickets are on sale now.


Families and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust members help the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to continually present affordable, high quality theater productions. Giving at the $50 Partners membership level or above includes benefits for a full year! Visit or call 412-471-3518 for more details.