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Live Theater and Your Child

rumplestiltskin2Do you want to take your child to a play downtown, but aren’t sure how he/she would react to going to the theater for the first time? Before spending all that money for a ticket, why not do a trial run and use the library as a springboard? It’s the perfect environment in which to do this!

Children are naturally curious; answer any questions your child may have while preparing them for the theater. Your child may ask what an actor is or why they have to sit quietly. They may ask what scenery is when you are explaining how a stage is laid out. Here are some tips on how you should answer these questions and prepare your child for the theater.

A few days before going, sit down with your child and explain where they are going and what will happen. Let them know that they are going to see people dressed up in costume telling a story and the lights will be off except for those on the stage. Let them know that the theater is a safe place and a fun place.

Explain to your child that while the actors are on stage it is important for them to sit quietly, talk only when there is an intermission, and to clap for the performances at the end. You can tell your child that when we clap, we are clapping because we like what we are seeing. You can describe that it’s almost like watching television at home, except at the theater you are watching people live, and there are other people around watching, so he/she needs to sit quietly.

If the play is based on a book or a movie, borrow the book from the library before going to the theater to familiarize your child with the story. After reading the book, you can review the plot, characters, and the setting. You can prepare your child to look for differences between the book and the play and discuss them afterward. Maybe go out and have lunch or dinner and talk about what your child saw and how they liked the play. Ask them what they saw, what they liked best, or what they didn’t like about it.

Various studies have shown that taking a child to the theater allows them to perform better in school, helps to develop their social skills and cultural perspective, and increases community awareness. Experiencing the theater also cultivates their artistic abilities.

You and your child can experience the theater firsthand here at Deerfield Public Library on Saturday, February 20 at 11:00 a.m.  The Improv Playhouse spins the classic fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin into gold! Join us for this entertaining family play by registering online here or registering at the Youth Services Desk in the library.

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