The importance of teaching kids to appreciate performance art
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.
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...
(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