6 ways to celebrate the Year of Chicago Theatre

The 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre has officially begun and there is an abundance of buzz on how the city will spotlight our rich theatrical culture. While there are great anticipated official plans being kicked off through the City of Chicago, there are also other exciting ways to bring theater into your child’s life.

See a children’s theater show.

Chicagoland has fostered a love of theater geared towards children. Companies like Emerald City Theatre and Chicago Children’s Theatre have made taking your little critic to the theater even more enjoyable and engaging. Children’s theater is often shorter, more interactive and with more comfortable seating options for small patrons! Check out these upcoming family-friendly shows

Support neighborhood theater. 

Almost every neighborhood seems to have a hub for the theater. Chicago has a vibrant community of artists and finding a theater company might be as easy as taking a short walk or drive from your home. For example, Lifeline Theater is based in Rogers Park and includes a children’s lineup of shows. Collaboration Theater Company produces political theater. The Actor’s Gymnasium in Evanston provides classes and shows in circus performances. 

Attend a school production. 

Support and encourage young artists with your young artist! The Theater School of DePaul and the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts offer great options for families. You can also contact local schools in your district to see if they have any performances. Taking your young child to see other children perform may encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone. 

Let them be part of the show. 

What better way to experience theater than to be part of the theater? Local acting schools, park districts and after-school programs offer a wide variety of acting classes to test the waters. If they still feel a flair for drama, contact local theaters and ask about auditioning. They may get the part of a lifetime or at least find a “stage” to build resilience and appreciation for the courage it takes to audition. Many local productions are also looking for volunteers for set building and costume making.

Tour a theater. 

Stage productions take way more than just powerful actors and a magical script. There is a whole technical world that takes place behind the scenes. For under $20 per person, you can take your family on a tour to discover the magic behind the stage. The Chicago Theatre offers their “Marquee Tour” daily at noon and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Broadway in Chicago presents theater tours to their following theaters: Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre and the James M. Nederlander Theatre.

Watch theater on demand.

From your home or mobile devices, your family can enjoy several productions on the small screen. Amazon has several productions available to rent or included in a Prime membership. Netflix also has a wide selection of stage plays including “Shrek the Musical,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Newsies.” Not to mention, the abundance of movies based off of stage productions are available on multiple streaming services. 

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