Children’s Theatre, Not Mere ‘Child’s Play’

Children’s Theatre, Not Mere ‘Child’s Play’

David Harradine’s most recent post on the Guardian theatre blog highlights the great children’s theatre currently being produced in London by companies that typically only play to adult audiences.  As Harradine also notes, children’s theatre in general continues to work to overcome the (mis)perception that it is inferior to theatre for adult audiences simply because of the age and interests of its viewers.  The same is true of children’s literature–lots of people think they have a great idea for, say, a picture book, but when they actually sit down to write, they find it is much more difficult than they anticipated–not mere child’s play.

Back in October, the question of how to get younger audiences into theatre seats was discussed by Isaac at Parabasis, Elisabeth Vincentelli at the NY Post, and by me here.  Investing in the youngest of audiences in the way of children’s theatre programming seems like the most obvious and, perhaps, most promising way to cultivate a potentially life-long love of theatre in the adults of tomorrow.  An adult company that ventures to do a children’s show and do it well might find parents returning to watch their mainstage fare also.

I am fortunate to live in an area with a pretty vibrant children’s theatre scene.  There was nothing second-rate , for example, about the production of Alice in Wonderland that recently finished its run at Actors’ Playhouse at Miracle Theater in Miami.  For current South Florida listings, check out the South Florida Theatre Scene blog.

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