A sparkling line-up of live performance, digital play, and good old-fashioned fun are amongst the magical moments in store for kids and their families in the Auckland Live Kids 2020 programme unveiled today.

From an almost two-storey high illuminated puppet waiting to play in Aotea Square to vintage video games on the big screen to dramatics in drag, Auckland Live Kids 2020 is chock-full of dozens of free and low cost arts and entertainment events taking place especially for kids at Auckland Live’s venues this March to November.

Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus kicks off the calendar in a tumbling and twirling mix of thrilling circus and the reinvention of Mozart’s magical music.  A co-presentation with Auckland Arts Festival, Circa Contemporary Circus and Auckland Live, this mischievous show will be adored by youngsters aged three+ who love the excitement and vibrancy of colourful live performance and music.

Kids of all-ages are going to love Spare Parts Puppet Theatre’s giant illuminated puppet as it awaits those lucky enough to bring it to life in Aotea Square during the April school holidays. As the puppeteers of String Symphony, children aged 10+ can manipulate the ropes of the interactive puppet to create a joyful and visually stunning interactive experience no-one will forget.

Lighting up the Square at the same time, retro video games and locally made indie offerings will play large and proud on the Auckland Live Digital Stage at the Aotea Square Arcade. There you’ll also find the best outdoor dance floor in town, Dance-O-Mat, where kids get to choose their favourite song, crank up the volume and dance like no-one’s watching!

Fast forward to June and two gorgeous theatre shows, each bursting with fun and imagination, will feature in the winter line-up. The Lost Letter Office, from Capital E’s National Theatre for Children, takes the story of magical letters connecting two unexpected soul mates: a young girl who wants to be a magician; and an elderly neighbour who is a world-famous magician, perfect for two to eight-year-olds.

And an utterly unique and wonderous drag show for the whole family awaits in The Glitter Garden, where Hugo Grrrl (winner of the inaugural season of TVNZ On Demand’s House of Drag) and friends Skipper the Snail and Honey the Bee will delight in a garden that grows before your eyes.

You’ll be chasing your tail to the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna to catch Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, who’ll go to any lengths to outwit humans and have as much fun as possible  with his team of furry friends. The beloved children’s book is brought to brilliant life in July by shake & stir theatre co (Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine, and Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts).

As temperatures drop, the Aotea Arts Quarter will warm up with the return of the Aotea Square Ice Rink and other icy offerings including the enormously popular Snugs,  with their unique dining experience. It’s all part of the winter festival vibe that makes the Square such a popular winter school holiday destination, day and night.

Also returning is Auckland Live’s Pick & Mix programme (now in its twelfth year!),with free performances and participatory workshops for all ages taking place one weekend a month from May to November. The ideal environment in which to introduce children to the performing arts, Pick & Mix also provides a supportive platform for performers and arts companies to present and develop their work for audiences often seeing it for the very first time.

Ushering in spring, Daedalum’s 47-metre long maze of egg-shaped domes will spread out across Aotea Square in patterns creating mysterious sight lines and illuminations influenced by the light and weather outside. Beautiful and unexpected, and saturated in colour, Architect of Air’s Daedalum experience is like walking through a stained-glass window or a futuristic space station. Tranquil, calming, and perfect for all ages and abilities, it follows 2015’s sold-out Arboria.

Cubbin Theatre Company’s Up and Away and Play Play entertain and educate babies and 3-4 year old’s at The Civic. A sell-out in 2019, Up and Away is a gentle performance exclusively for babies and their grown-ups weaving theatre, play and live music. Play Play goes a step further with an uplifting theatre show for preschoolers that takes a positive, nurturing approach to physical play and the amazing and creative things our bodies can do.

Auckland Live Kids 2020 programmer, Janelle Bish, says Kids 2020 is an exciting offering, reflecting the high calibre of children’s theatre being made locally and internationally, with a strong focus on putting young audiences at the very centre of the experience.

“Auckland Live is proud to partner with some of the very best contemporary arts companies and practitioners to present a diverse line-up that offers children, their parents and extended whānau an introduction to the world of performing arts”

“We know the power of the performing arts in young lives:  its ability to fire imaginations, and to give children the skills, curiosity and creativity they need to understand the complex world we live in. As a leading arts and entertainment centre, Auckland Live takes its responsibility to facilitate the creation of these formative experiences seriously”.

Tickets go on sale to the public Wednesday 19 February, 9am.

For more details on the Auckland Live Kids 2020 programme, tickets, relaxed performances, show and event lunch boxes and more, please visit

High-res images can be found here. Check out the video programme here.


For media inquiries please contact:

Meredith McGrath

Communications Advisor, Auckland Live | 027 2038705