Tips on Taking Children To Live Theater

I want to take the kids to a show – is that nuts?

Not at all! They’ll see and experience one of life’s greatest cultural pleasures. And hopefully develop a passion for the arts that will last a lifetime!

Please note that everyone must have their own ticket – regardless of age, and even if you expect a child to sit in an adult’s lap.

But kids can wiggle and be unpredictable!

We hear you! Make your outing the best it can be by first choosing the right performance for your child.

Typically, toddlers through age 4 do best with shows that include lots of opportunities for participation and are short – 30 to 50 minutes. Many older preschoolers (ages 4 or 5) can enjoy a longer children’s play – 60 to 75 minutes. Also, audiences of shows created for children will expect some noise and wiggling – it’s all part of the experience!

It’s a good idea to get a seat near the aisle. This will be helpful in case you need to leave the theater for any reason (remember: their bladders are smaller than yours!).

If you have any questions about the suitability of a particular show, please email our Ticket Office or call them at 800-523-7649. They’ll have the answers you need!

We’ve got tickets to the right show – Now what?

Congratulations on giving your child the gift of live theatre!

Talk to your child about the performance by telling them about the characters, giving an overview of the story, or listening to music in the same style or from the same composer. If the performance is based on a story, read it together in advance.

Discuss the differences between going to the theater and watching television, and how they can do their part to be a good audience member.

  • The theater is a very special place, and its atmosphere and “manners” are different than those at home.
  • It’s easier for you (and the rest of the audience) to see and hear the performance if you stay in your seat and listen very carefully.
  • Actors wear clothing and makeup to help create the characters they play, but underneath it all, they’re people like the rest of us.
  • And, be sure to tell your child that the lights will dim right before the show starts – this lets everyone in the audience see the action on stage better!

It’s the day of the show and we’re SOOOOO excited!

So are we! Show day is always a thrill! Help your child enjoy the show by teaching – and demonstrating! – proper theater etiquette from the very beginning.

Getting ready is easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

What to wear? Depending on the show, you’re likely to see audience members in all manner of apparel, from jeans to dress clothes. We always recommend children wear what they’ll feel comfortable in. Some kids enjoy a chance to dress up. But if a T-shirt and jeans are more their style, then go for it. Don’t let a battle over clothing spoil your day.

If you must bring a snack for your child, make it a “quiet” one that’s easy to enjoy independently. Candy wrappers or crunchy chips and crackers can be surprisingly loud; foods with lots of “fallout” can leave a mess behind. And please leave sticky treats like chewing gum at home.

  1. ARRIVING AT THE THEATRE

Arrive 20 to 30 minutes before your show time. This gives you time to park and walk into the building, hang up your coats, locate and use the restroom, take a look around, and find your seats (theatre doors open 30 minutes prior to most shows). A limited number of booster seats are available; an usher will help you. Please do not bring your own booster seat.

  1. LIGHTS OUT! OUR SHOW IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!

Show your appreciation and enthusiasm for the performance by providing close, quiet attention, as well as participation and applause at the proper times. Remind kids that part of being a good audience member is not talking or getting up during a performance unless it’s a real emergency.

And, remember to watch your child’s face as they see characters come to life on stage. You will cherish these memories!

“Houston, we have a problem!”

Sometimes it’s just not the right day for sitting quietly. It’s okay to excuse yourself when your little one’s attention has run out. Try taking a stroll out to the lobby; sometimes a little break and a trip to the drinking fountain is all it takes. An usher can help you re-join the show later. If all else fails, chalk it up to experience and try again another day.

We did it – and it was FUN!

Hooray! Try following up on your outing by reading a related book or planning an art, music, or dance project. Provide dress-up clothes, props, and other materials so children can reenact the performance – or create their own, unique one!

And, if you have any suggestions for how we can make your experience even better next time, please email us at info@mcfta.org.