Fun guide to parents/grandparents when taking kids to the theatre, based on discussions I have had with the pros! (Some are obvious, some seem counterintuitive at first, but then make complete sense).
Conversation- though comments such as “look at that tiger!” or “do you see, the food just disappeared!” seem helpful to making sure children are involved in the story, these comments actually pull them out of the story. However, chatting about the performance after is always fun!
Phones- while TYA is geared towards children, that doesn’t mean it’s time to cruise through your emails. The shows are not only fun to watch (depending on the quality of the performers), watching the children’s reactions are priceless.
Choosing a show- If you are looking for really quality TYA, type in ASSITEJ America or ASSITEJ USA in on google, and look through the members. This is the Theatre for Young Audiences official website for the USA, and all the companies on there should be great!
Theatre for Family vs. Theatre for Young Audiences- I think I have said this before, but these are two very different things. Theatre for Family is fun for you because there are usually some jokes thrown in for parents/ older children. This is great because it really can appeal to people with five children, each three years apart. However, the youngsters sometimes get taken out of the story because of the winks at the adults, they want to be in the know too! Therefore, it is also really nice to take the young ones to see shows specifically for them, so they are in on all the jokes!
Age range- sometimes, age range is fluid, other times, it is super important. Doing a little research before seeing the show will help heighten the engagement of the child! (I saw a show a couple weeks back that was a little disturbing, and ten minutes before the show a mom with a twelve year old realized what it was about. Reading up would have saved them a little bit of money, and a little less stress!) You don’t need to follow this religiously however, it is just a good guideline — the people making the age range usually know what they are doing!