The Many Ways Kids Benefit From Live Theater

For Nicole Neal, taking her 6-year-old daughter to live theater performances provides more than just entertainment. Many shows offer fun learning opportunities, she notes, including reading the literary source material together, or discussing the performance’s music and characters.

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“That really helps build a connection to the (shows),” the Las Vegas mother says.

Best of all, attending performances provides quality time together, to forge lasting memories.

“I just think a love for the arts will make Audrey a more well-rounded person,” Neal says.

Many families can experience these same benefits. In response to high demand from patrons, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts will present several whimsical family shows this season, with accessible pricing for some shows starting at $14.95.

Read more below about what kids can gain from experiencing live performances.

Learning with Puppets, Sea Creatures and Dance

Seeing live theater not only thrills children — it can teach them, too. Watching live shows boosts kids’ literary knowledge, tolerance and empathy, according to a study by the University of Arkansas.

The Smith Center regularly finds this with productions it presents for student matinees. Often adapted from books, these shows mix educational topics with energizing music and comedy. The Smith Center also offers performances of these productions for the general public, to give Southern Nevada families these same benefits.

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This season includes “Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure” on November 20 showcasing enormous, lifelike prehistoric, marine reptiles. With children invited on stage to interact with these creatures, this show combines puppets with technology, actors, science and comedy.

The Smith Center will also present “What Do You Do With an Idea?” on April 22, 2020, based off the bestselling children’s book. This show’s infectious music and choreography portray a magical world where ideas take flight.

Sparking Meaningful Conversations

Seeing live theater as a family can also lead to discussions of important topics, says Las Vegas mother Rebecca Boyd. “It’s definitely a good place to start with things a little uncomfortable to speak about, because it’s non-threatening on the stage,” says Boyd, adding that theater shows have prompted family discussions on bullying and more.

The Smith Center offers such opportunities with “The SpongeBob Musical,” running February 4 to 9, 2020. While featuring beloved characters who kids recognize ⁠— and original music by megastars like John Legend for adults ⁠— the production also focuses on a message of inclusion and unity. “You can start in the car with ‘what did you think about this?’ and bring it back into our everyday lives,” Boyd says.

Socialization Outside the Digital World

A great advantage of live theater is just that ⁠— it’s live. Seeing live productions removes children and youths from an increasingly digital world, to encourage socializing. Plus, many productions involve audience participation for kids to explore hands-on experiences.

The Smith Center offers an ideal opportunity for just that, with “Double Dare Live!” on October 20. Based off the popular Nickelodeon TV show “Double Dare,” this production chooses audience members to compete with trivia questions, messy physical stunts and the famous obstacle course.

Kids can also see beloved literary characters come alive with “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” November 26 to December 1. Featuring sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations, this show delivers a lively story to hook children’s attention.

Best of all, attending performances provides quality time together, to forge lasting memories.

ENJOY UPCOMING FAMILY SHOWS

Upcoming family shows at The Smith Center include:

“Double Dare Live!” – October 20

“Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure” – November 20

“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” – November 26 to December 1

“The SpongeBob Musical” – February 4 to 9, 2020

“What Do You Do With an Idea?” – April 22, 2020

For tickets and more information, visit www.thesmithcenter.com/shows-tickets/family.


By: The Smith Center for the Performing Arts

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