Like I said, we go to A LOT of theater. Like, A LOT. Sometimes twice in a weekend. And we love every moment of it. Of course, each of us has our favorite plays and our not so favorite plays. Chicken and Nugget particularly love musicals. They have been known to come home singing the parts of songs they can remember, make related costumes out of computer paper, post hand made posters about the play all over the house, and reenact their favorite scenes. That’s some of the many reasons I love taking them to theater. We not only have a great time together, but they learn from the plays and engage in creative activity related to it long after the play itself is over.
Northwest Children’s Theater is a great way to introduce your kiddos to the performing arts. While I will post about individual plays we go to, the theater itself deserves a nod.
Located in Portland near Providence Park, prices are reasonable (and discounted if you buy a season subscription), and sometimes Gold Star offers even deeper discounts for specific performances. Full price single tickets range between $16 and $25. If you purchase a full subscription by the designated date- usually sometime in the spring or summer- an actor dressed as a character from the upcoming season will hand deliver your tickets. They come in full costume, bring the tickets, balloons, and posters, talk with the kiddos and take pictures. We have met the characters at the park and the kiddos have always loved it. Well, except the time we got Cinderella. Nugget is afraid of princesses. I have no idea why.
They offer a wide variety of plays that are all family friendly. Each season they offer a play specifically for the younger toddler crowd. This year it is Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play. We saw it when they did it a couple of years ago and it is adorable. These plays are generally 45 to 60 minutes with simple dialogue, silliness, and fun. The remainder of the plays generally run 90-120 minutes plus an intermission. Adults are often cast in some of the main roles, but there are always children in the supporting roles, and sometimes in the main as well.
The plays they chose are engaging for kids, and often fun for the adults. Sets are colorful, costumes are tasteful, and it’s just a fun time. Heads up for the nervous kiddos, it’s not uncommon for actors to come down the aisle. It took me a full theater season to convince Nugget the characters would not eat him.
After the plays, families are invited to stay and have their programs signed by the cast and take pictures with the cast if they so desire. Chicken and Nugget LOVE this part (although Nugget refuses to be photographed with a girl) and often give me the honor of signing a program they design themselves when we get home.
In addition to plays, they offer camps and classes. Each of my kiddos has done a camp- Chicken did My Little Pony and Nugget did Elephant and Piggie. They each had a great time and made new friends. Camps vary from exploratory to skill based to putting on an actual play. They also do school based programs and even have Girl Scout workshops. Chicken did the Peter Pan Girl Scout workshop and really enjoyed it. She definitely recommends it.
In summary, we love Northwest Children’s Theater. We think you might, too.
What it is: fun take on children’s theater, affordable, creative, varied in what they offer, appropriate for many age ranges, a great opportunity to photograph your kid with some of their favorite characters without going all the way to Disney Land, a great way to introduce your family to theater without having to worry your kid will be the only kid there and will somehow ruin the experience for everyone else (come on. You know you thought it as soon as I mentioned taking a young child to a play).
What it’s not: particularly comfy in terms of seating (seating is on old church pews, but they do have cushions available), a fancy pants venue
Do we recommend it? 1000% yes
You can get more information on their website: https://nwcts.org/