Cue Learn­ing

The im­por­tance of teach­ing kids to ap­pre­ci­ate per­for­mance art

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - BY MANDY CAR TER

Act­ing in­volves a broad range of skills, in­clud­ing a vivid imag­i­na­tion, emo­tional fa­cil­ity, phys­i­cal ex­pres­siv­ity, vo­cal pro­jec­tion, clar­ity of speech and the abil­ity to in­ter­pret drama. Be­ing present in the mo­ment with the ac­tors pro­vides a unique per­sonal de­vel­op­ment ex­pe­ri­ence, even for chil­dren.

Taking your child to live the­ater is a joy­ful ex­pe­ri­ence that will grow their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the art while teach­ing them valu­able life lessons. I speak very personally of this joy. My 6-year-old son has loved watch­ing live act­ing since he was 3. And now my daugh­ter is learn­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate the art.

I re­mem­ber the ex­pres­sion on my son’s face when he saw his first live play. It was a new world open­ing up to him, a world that has be­come a pas­sion of his. Go­ing to live per­for­mances has be­come his fa­vorite fam­ily ac­tiv­ity. Ask him what he wants for his Christ­mas and his an­swer will be tick­ets to a Broad­way Palm Din­ner Theatre show. The Broad­way Palm’s Chil­dren’s Theatre is def­i­nitely fun for the en­tire fam­ily, with a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the kids af­ter each show―the cast stands on stage and an­swers ques­tions from the kids, and then has a meet-and­greet for pho­tos.

Hav­ing this per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with the per­form­ers gives him a sense of com­mu­nity and con­fi­dence that he, too, can be a per­former.

FOUR REA­SONS TO IN­TRO­DUCE YOUR KIDS TO LIVE ACT­ING

The art of live the­ater is more than just a fun ex­pe­ri­ence; it shares im­por­tant life lessons and de­vel­ops well-rounded in­di­vid­u­als.

EM­PA­THY AMONG PLOTS

The­ater grows em­pa­thy. Plays dis­play the com­plex­i­ties of hu­man re­la­tion­ships and ev­ery­day-life con­flicts. When we watch live act­ing we de­velop a greater sense of com­pas­sion, have a fo­cused prac­tice of lis­ten­ing and un­der­stand­ing. Both cast and au­di­ence are en­gag­ing with peo­ple of di­verse

I RE­MEM­BER THE EX­PRES­SION ON MY SON’S FACE WHEN HE SAW HIS FIRST LIVE PLAY.

back­grounds, ex­pe­ri­ences and view­points. There is a feel­ing of hu­man in­ter­ac­tion and in­volve­ment at a live per­for­mance, a feel­ing that is dif­fer­ent than go­ing to the movies.

PRAC­TICE PO­LITE BE­HAV­IORS

When taking chil­dren to a live the­atri­cal per­for­mance, you will be teach­ing them po­lite be­hav­iors that will carry over into all as­pects of their life. They prac­tice sit­ting down, pay­ing close at­ten­tion, whis­per­ing and re­spect­ing some­one’s time on stage.

EX­PRESS YOUR­SELF

The­ater re­minds us that, even in this highly dig­i­tal age, there is a hu­man body at the cen­ter of ev­ery com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The­ater teaches us how to ex­press our­selves more ef­fec­tively and re­solve con­flict in a re­spectable way. It de­vel­ops our abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate our thoughts and feel­ings to oth­ers.

PER­SON­AL­ITY COMES OUT

Af­ter view­ing a the­atri­cal per­for­mance, your kids may come home singing about sci­ence, or be­come more in­quis­i­tive about his­tory, or spend all evening dis­cussing mu­sic. The­ater helps us de­velop our cre­ativ­ity and cu­rios­ity.

Most young chil­dren will love the the­ater. By taking kids to the­ater early in their lives, they will see and ex­pe­ri­ence one of life’s great­est cul­tural plea­sures. When you con­nect kids to the arts, you con­nect them to emo­tions, peo­ple and the com­mu­nity.

We are for­tu­nate to have such a thriv­ing per­form­ing arts cul­ture in South­west Florida. A num­ber of chil­dren’s the­ater ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams and kid-friendly per­for­mances take place through­out the year, giv­ing par­ents an easy op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce chil­dren to live act­ing at an early age and de­velop their ap­pre­ci­a­tion and love for the art. Mandy Carter is a lo­cal mom with a pas­sion for fam­ily travel, a pop­u­lar travel blog­ger in­clud­ing her own fam­ily blog at Acup­ful.com and the Dig­i­tal Con­tent & En­gage­ment Ed­i­tor for TOTI Me­dia.

Florida Rep is per­fect for dis­cov­er­ing the art of per­for­mance. The com­pany is at the His­toric Ar­cade Theatre in Fort My­ers, where pro­duc­tions such as A Christ­mas Story (be­low) are staged. This show fea­tured Bren­dan Pow­ers (left), Michael Scott, Henry Crater and Rachel Burt­tram.

(From top) Al­liance for the Arts, Bar­bara B. Mann Per­form­ing Arts Hall, BIG ARTS, Broad­way Palm Din­ner Theatre, Cen­ter for the Arts Bonita Springs, Florida Reper­tory Theatre

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