Thursday, January 28, 2016

Learn How the Family Festivities Series Supports Childhood Development

By Charlie Nork
Individual Giving Manager

The Playhouse’s “offseason” (a relative term!) means it’s time for Family Festivities. Our winter children’s theater initiative runs until April, and if you have young ones in your life, you don’t want to miss out! But did you know that Family Festivities is about so much more than providing entertainment for future theater-goers?

Geared toward promoting children’s literacy, leadership, and problem solving skills, the Playhouse’s youth initiatives provide opportunities for kids to learn and grow through play and exposure to the arts. Designed for families with children between the ages of 3 and 13, Family Festivities offer a series of musicals based on popular children’s literature. We present works by the country’s top companies producing theater for young audiences, ensuring local children and families see the best touring productions around.

Attending quality live theater can have a lasting impact on children. It can, of course, create and sustain a life-long appreciation for the arts. It can inspire community awareness and service. Theater also helps close academic achievement gaps by improving reading and language development skills. Our Family Festivities are designed to promote literacy beyond just attending a play, which is why you can purchase children’s books related to the show at the Playhouse, and also donate a gently used book of your own for a child in need, thanks to long partnerships with Barnes and Noble and Read to Grow.

Donations help support children’s programming at the theater by keeping ticket prices accessible for everyone, and even providing free tickets to families who otherwise couldn’t attend. Series Sponsor and Playhouse Trustee Darlene Krenz has been a sponsor of Family Festivities for a long time: “We have been Playhouse subscribers since we moved to Westport 40 years ago. At that time, programs for children were held on Fridays in the summer. My young children thoroughly enjoyed them. Today, in many families, both parents work. Scheduling our children’s series on Sunday gives families an opportunity to attend together. Today, I bring my grandchildren to the plays. It gives them an opportunity to see live theatre – quite different from their phones and iPads. I support this program because I believe all families should have access to quality entertainment that isn’t just on a screen.”

Since school-based arts funding has been significantly reduced in recent years, arts education programs such as Family Festivities are more critical than ever for our young people. Click here if you’d like to support this important work, too.

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