Taking Kids to the Theater? Read this First
This article was originally published in March 2020. It has since been updated.
A parent’s vision of taking children to their first live theater experience doesn’t always meet reality.
Dressing up and taking photos in the lobby is part of the fun. But it’s not so fun when your 3-year-old whispers he needs to go potty and there’s still a long way to go until intermission. Or when your 6-year-old, who you thought could handle the show, is too scared to sit through The Lion King. Or when a sibling fight over who gets to hold the box of Skittles erupts in the quiet theater.
But then there are the moments that make it all worth it. When you look to the left and see the huge smile on your child’s face. When your toddler squeezes your hand because she’s so excited about what’s happening on stage. When your teenager announces after the curtain drops that he wants to be on Broadway one day.
Taking kids to the theater can be life changing, and creating life-long theater lovers can begin very early. The key is knowing what they’re ready for and preparing them for the experience.
In the coming months, Tulsa has many opportunities for family theater experiences, from shows for the very young to teens.
Planning for the experience and talking to your kids about theater etiquette can go a long way to make the show a smash hit.
Before you go…
Here are some tips for making the show a better experience for you and your kids.
- Arrive on time. Better yet, arrive early.
- Go to the bathroom before the performance begins.
- Take your seat a few minutes early and read the program aloud so kids will know what to expect.
- If you have time, walk the kids toward the front of the stage or to look in the orchestra pit before the show or at intermission.
- Remind kids not to speak – and that includes whispering – during the show.
- Keep your feet on the floor. No one likes kicks to the backs of their seats.
- Show appreciation to the performers by laughing when it’s funny and clapping when the show is over.
- In the days before the show, give kids something to look forward to. Pick a short piece of music that will be played and let them listen, or explain the plot or characters so they will be familiar.
- When the production is over, talk about it on the car ride home. Ask the kids questions. What was their favorite part? What surprised them, made them sad or made them laugh?
Upcoming Family Theater at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center
As of May 2022
For information and tickets for the following productions, go to tulsapac.com. The Tulsa PAC is located at 110 E. 2nd St.
Shrek the Musical Jr.
- July 15-17
Into the Woods Jr.
- July 22-24
- July 19 – 24
- Oct. 20 – 30
Spamalot: School Edition
- Nov. 4-6
- Nov. 11
Spotlight Children’s Theatre Productions
The listing includes audition dates for adults and children interested in trying out for any of the productions. Located at 1381 Riverside Drive.
And Then What Happened?!
- Performances June 17 – 26
- Auditions Aug. 15 & 16
- Performances Sept. 30 – Oct 9
The Enchanted Bookshop
- Auditions Oct. 10 & 11
- Performances Dec. 2-11
For information and tickets, go to tulsaspotlighttheater.com.