If you have a kid, niece, nephew or baby cousin (and so on), the chances of you setting aside a weekend (or two) to watch a couple of live children’s shows are pretty good. :)
I, for one, am an aunt and a godmother, so I’ve been to a few theatre productions myself. I have to admit, though, that there were times when I was more interested in looking at my nephew and seeing his reaction than in the show itself.
Although that does make me happy, I’d like to be more involved and get into the story too (and not just for my nephew’s sake). :) So to better prepare myself for this type of outing, I got Anton Pelayo, the head of marketing and design at ABA Productions and Kidsfest!, to give me – us – a few tips. Kidsfest! in Singapore is coming up (tickets are available at Sistic), and it’s also going to be held in Hong Kong.
The Singapore leg includes Room On The Broom, The Gruffalo, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt!, and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, all of which are based on popular children’s books. You might want to start fixing your schedule. :)
So before we attend a show, Anton suggests that we:
#1 Read the book (of course)
“They’re really great for family bonding, and a great way to prep the little ones for bed. In our home, we read at least two stories before bedtime.”
#2 Plan for the day ahead
“And make a family day out of it. Go find a nice family-friendly resto near the theatre, walk through a park, or visit a local bookshop. If you’re feeling brave, swing by the nearest toy shop and buy the little ones a tiny gift.”
#3 Keep an open mind
“There may be a stigma that family theatre is geared towards kids, and that adults won’t be entertained. Quite the contrary. A lot of the companies we work with make sure that their show caters to parents too. Some of my favourite theatre shows are based on children’s books, notably The Snail And The Whale by Tall Stories (the storytelling and lighting effects are amazing) and I Believe In Unicorns by Danyah Miller (who’s probably the best storyteller I know).”
#4 Before you book…
“Be sure to read all the details, and also double/triple check for any available discounts. There’s nothing worse than proceeding to payment only to realise that you forgot to input the discount code.”
#5 Always turn up early
“This is to make sure you don’t miss the opening. Have a copy of the book before you go in and read it one last time. It helps to build anticipation and keeps the story fresh in your mind.”
Another thing to keep in mind? “Enjoy! Not only the show, but the experience of going to the theatre and hanging out with the family,” Anton relates.
There’s just something about it
Anton believes that events like Kidsfest! are as relevant and important to adults as they are for kids – and that although they’re aimed towards kids, adults can still appreciate and find value in them too.
“The magic of theatre comes from transforming favourite bedtime stories into something more visual and tangible for a family to experience,” he says.
“KidsFest! is not only a great platform for kids to learn outside of their home and classroom – it also provides a platform for families to spend quality time together. The heart of what we do is for families to walk away with a memorable experience, and to take home memories that will last a lifetime.”
You might even wish that the series of shows would last longer. :)
“The advantage of coming to see family theatre is that it comes in bite-sized content (a show only really lasts an hour), and it’s something parents are already familiar with – so they too can enjoy seeing how the story unfolds on stage. It’s always amazing to see how these companies can fit 10 pages of a picture book into a full-length production.”