by Anna Pullman
Live theatre is an experience that is invigorating and exhilarating for the whole family. However old your children are they can and will enjoy the experience of a real live theatre show but you have to consider the other members of the audience, whether it’s fair to subject them to your toddler, with the extremely loud voice. You need to think about your child and whether they are the type who will comfortably and happily sit for the length of a whole show and if so, give it a go.
The modern world is more concerned with multimedia in the home than experiencing the fantastic feats available on the stage. In this technological era of superfast broadband, highly advanced games consoles and everything you could need available in the home, you might wonder if your child will even engage with a live theatre show. The answer is yes, nothing comes close to the magic of theatre but if your child is used to having things exactly the way they want them, in the home environment, then it’s important to teach them to respect their surroundings when visiting the theatre.
The most important thing to consider before you choose a show is the suitability for your children, it would be unfair to expect them to sit through a dry, serious drama and when you’re first introducing them to the theatre, it is only fair to pick something suitable for their age range, or you may struggle to keep them quiet or put them off attending the theatre for life. You can also ensure that you lay out some ground rules before the day occurs, highlighting the importance of using quiet voices, not jumping out of their seats and keeping on their best behaviour at all times. Even your youngest child will be captivated once the show starts but getting them to that point can be the hardest part. The more you explain and show them about the show they’re seeing, the less strange the experience will seem and they’ll be simply excited and enjoy the experience.
Positioning is Optimal
If you’re planning to take your children to the theatre book early and select seats which work for you as a family. End of aisle seats are always a great option because you can guarantee your little one will be desperate for the bathroom as soon as you settle into your seats and you don’t want to be clambering over rows of people with a noisy child. What’s more, if you book early you can choose seats near the front and avoid moans of not being able to see or hear properly.
Make it Exciting
A trip to the theatre should be an all-round sensory experience. You can help your kids understand the whole experience better by arriving early and having a look around the whole theatre. Showing them around the auditorium can give you a chance to explain the different areas of the hall and help them to understand the importance of their best behaviour. You can explain to them all about the different elements that come together to make a successful live show and ensure excitement levels are already peaking before the show even begins. Afterwards, the production is likely to have a ‘play out’ section and to avoid the stress of losing them or getting crushed in the mass exodus, why not stay and listen awhile and show your children the importance of appreciating the music.
With respect for your fellow audience members, it may not be wise to stuff your kids with their sugary favourites, the risk of a rush is going to be sky high and what’s more, sweetie wrappers and such like are so noisy, your brood are bound to cause offence to someone or another. Consider instead, the alternative offer of an interval ice cream, that way they can look forward to the sweet treat without causing a huge disturbance. There’s no reason you can’t purchase noise-friendly snacks and warn your kids of the importance of keeping quiet.
There are plenty of theatre productions created with the whole family in mind and rather than worrying about how your kids will behave, prepare them in such a way that they can only make you proud and then perhaps visiting the theatre can become a regular occurrence.