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First Timers - 4 Tips for Your Child's First Live Theater Experience

Updated on December 21, 2014
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Always Have an Exit Plan

When bringing an especially young child, choose an aisle seat close to one of the exits. Sometimes it’s necessary to excuse yourself for a diaper change, trip to the drinking fountain or other emergency. Sitting close to an exit means you’ll excuse yourself quietly (for the other patrons’ benefit) and return sooner (for your benefit) to your seat. This is especially true in venues that only feature two entry points per row.

Waysbury Players Present "Mother Goose"

This Ain't Netflix, Kid!

Be sure to tell children why “live” theater is different from a movie or television show. For one thing, the characters in a television show can’t come very close to its viewers. Plays let its audience look at characters and their actions up close. This may come as a surprise to some children who are not used to seeing a giant chicken or a princess walk towards them; a brief explanation can sometimes be enough to alleviate any anxieties your child may harbor. Many children's plays bear the hallmarks of a traditional English pantomime which means characters will talk to and interact with the audience. It’s all in good fun, but not understanding so can sometimes be scary.

New Recruits

Let the performance be a teaching lesson for all of your child’s future plays. If you want your child to grow into a respectful, mature patron of the arts, start teaching those habits you want them to someday emulate. Turn of your own cell-phone or other electronic media device. Avoid kicking other patrons’ seats. The best way to show a child that theater is a special place is by treating it that way yourself.

Less Can Be More

It’s not the end of the world if you need to excuse yourself for a few minutes from the performance. Many first-time play goers find that even a short production (most children's plays runs a little over an hour) can sometimes tax even a patient child’s attention span. So, don’t hesitate to remove a restless or fearful child from the performance. Far from harming their experience, it is likely to engender sound theater etiquette for their future play-going experiences.

The Show Must Go On!

Have fun! Have fun! Have fun! These tips may seem more like rules, but they’re here to insure that everyone, from children to children at heart, have an enjoyable experience. The last thing any theater wants is a house full of stone silent patrons. In fact, you’ll find plenty of chances in many productions to laugh, shout and squeal your way into a good time. The best way to insure a fun evening is to join right in with your child (or your inner child) in the sport.

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