Haifa International Children's Theater Festival takes place annually on Chol Hamoed Pesach at the Haifa Municipal Theater. Haifa Arts Foundation supports the Children's Theater Festival since its inception. The Foundation has helped various productions and projects and gave awards to artists in different categories: playwrights, directors, actors and actresses, set design, costume design, lighting, incidental music and more. The Festival's jury selects the winners. In recent years, the Foundation awarded the first prize to winners at the Best Children Play category, and bought tickets for underprivileged children.
Founded in 1982 by Noam Semel at the initiation of Haifa Municipality and Haifa Theater, the Haifa International Children's Theater Festival has turned during its decades of existence into a colorful carnival dedicated to provide children with a unique theatrical experience. The Festival, also supported by the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the national lottery, stretches each year over three days in Passover, and attracts a great crowd of children and their parents and grandparents, from all over the city, the country and the world.
The Festival enjoys great popularity. The rich program includes colorful open-air performances and special activities for children. Stage performances take place in the halls of Haifa Theater, and in the Auditorium complex in Carmel Center, while the street performances take place in the large complex adjacent to the theater.
The HICTF reserves a preeminent place for the Open-Air Street Theater: professional, colorful and beautiful productions from Israel and abroad, by some of the best and most senior artists in the world, for whom street performance is a way of life and livelihood. Multitudes attend the lavish street shows that allow an enriching engaging cultural confluence between the crowd and the artists.
The Festival is regularly visited by a delegation of artists and festival directors from around the world, the initiation of the organizers and in collaboration with ASSITEJ Israel, who promote the international exposure of the Israeli theater plays for children. The delegation selects a few plays to represent Israel at various festivals around the world.