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Is Your Child Ready for Live Theatre?

Please carefully consider whether a performance is appropriate for your child before planning to attend.  

Introducing a child to live theater can be an incredibly enriching experience, sparking their imagination and nurturing a lifelong love for the arts. Early exposure to theater often leads children to develop a deeper appreciation for the performing arts as they grow older. But when is the right time to take a child to a live performance? While there's no universal answer, here are some signs that your child might be ready to take a front-row seat to the world of theatrical magic: 

#1- They Demonstrate a Genuine Interest in Storytelling.  Observe your child's interest in stories, characters, and performances they've seen on screen. Does your child enjoy role-playing, or acting out scenes from their favorite books or movies? Do they enjoy watching plays or musicals at home? Are they captivated by performances at school or community events? If so, they might be ready for a live theater experience.

#2- They Are Able to Maintain Focus for Longer Periods of Time: Live theatre requires a certain level of focus and attention and the ability to sit still. If your child can sit through a movie or a school play without becoming restless or disruptive, they might be ready for the theater. Keep in mind that shorter productions or children's theater geared specifically toward younger audiences can be a great starting point.

#3- Your Child is a Good Listener. Consider your child's listening skills. Being an audience member requires the ability to listen attentively; otherwise, they may become bored with the performance and could potentially distract other audience members.

#4- They Demonstrate Emotional Maturity. Theatre can evoke a range of emotions, from joy and excitement to sadness and even fear. Gauge your child's emotional maturity and ability to process complex feelings. If they are able to understand and empathize with different characters and their journeys, they may be ready for live theatre.  

#5 They are Comfortable With the Elements of a Live Performance. Live theater engages all the senses, from the sights and sounds of the stage to the proximity of the performers. While some children thrive in bustling theatre environments, others might find them overwhelming. If your child is sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, or crowded spaces, you may want to choose productions that cater to sensory-sensitive audiences or opt for seats farther back from the stage. 

Ultimately, trust your instincts as a parent. You know your child best, and what works for one may not work for another. Pay attention to your child's cues and comfort level, and don't be discouraged if they're not quite ready for the theater yet. With patience, encouragement, and a sense of adventure, you can help nurture their appreciation for the arts and create cherished memories together.

However, if you do believe they're truly ready to attend a live performance, we recommend taking some time to prepare your child for what to expect. Talk about theater etiquette, such as the importance of staying quiet during the performance and clapping at appropriate times. You can also discuss the plot, characters, and themes of the production to help them feel more connected to the story.

Remember, every child is unique, and there's no rush to introduce them to live theatre. When the time is right, attending a performance can spark their imagination, foster empathy, and create lasting memories. So, keep an eye out for those telltale signs, and get ready to embark on a magical theatrical journey with your little one! 

About the Matthews Playhouse

The Matthews Playhouse of the Performing Arts is a community-based non-profit theatre located in Matthews, NC. We are committed to enriching the lives of children, adults, and families by inviting them to participate in the world of performing arts and education.​ Please visit to learn more about our family-friendly shows, School of Theatre Classes and Summer Camps for children ages 4-17. 


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