by Heather Gautschi, Communications Manager, Seattle Children’s Theatre
If you’re looking to enhance your child’s artistic activities and experiences, bringing them to live theatre is a great opportunity. The theatre is an amazing place to be utterly, blissfully yourself, and it can be really powerful for children to feel welcomed for precisely who they are.
Theatre can be an anchor in an otherwise volatile sea of unpredictability. Kids can cry, laugh, celebrate, mourn: they can be free to express themselves, and it’s okay to get messy. Theatre provides a space to ask scary questions and have uncomfortable (but necessary) conversations in a safe space. At Seattle Children’s Theatre, we have a saying: “However you show up to the theatre, that is how you show up: whether you’re happy, grumpy, excited, sad: we welcome you as you are!”
The theatre community, for actors and participants or for audiences, can be an important part of childhood. It sharpens the imagination, stimulates the brain, and, perhaps most importantly, fosters a strong community.
Children who are exposed to live theatre are more likely to be involved and invested in their communities and are less likely to drop out of school. Theatre kids also learn to expand their attention spans that may have been curtailed due to fleeting images on screens. In short: if you want to raise a good human, expose them to live theatre.
Kids who experience live theatre more readily develop empathy. For instance, the beloved tale of The Velveteen Rabbit reminds us of the importance of love, and young audiences can relate to the story of the toy rabbit who searches for meaning and endures heartache in his journey to become a “real” rabbit. I would encourage you to bring the kids in your life to a performance at Seattle Children’s Theatre this holiday season – this is a great example of a really moving piece of theatre designed for young audiences, and for me, always reminds me of the lessons I learned as a child in theatre.
About the Author
Heather Gautschi is the Communications Manager at SCT, and is an actor, voice-over artist, and writer. She is also the proud mother of two theatre kids under the age of 6.