I performed in a couple of musicals and taught children’s music classes while pregnant with my first son. Everyone joked that he would enter the world singing and dancing. While we do have some epic kitchen dance parties and sing-alongs in our home, at two years old it’s still too early to tell if he inherited my love for being on stage. Regardless if he becomes a performer or not, I do hope he will develop an appreciation for the arts.
The Utah Children’s Theatre is a wonderful place to introduce children to live theater. Every Saturday now through September 30th UCT’s 6th annual Shakespeare Festival for Kids and Adults with Short Attention Spans is taking place. Why should you take your family to this event? UCT’s marquee sums it up perfectly… Kids need culture too!
Thanks to a building that was purchased immediately north of the main theatre and renovated into a studio this past year, the Shakespeare Festival now has additional space to offer even more activities and performances than ever before!
I highly recommend planning out your visit ahead of time by visiting the Utah Children’s Theatre website at ucttheatre.org. It would be impossible to see and do everything during one visit. I suggest looking at the schedule and either picking out your must-dos or visiting the festival over the course of two or more Saturdays so you can experience it all.
This is how my son and I enjoyed the festival this year.
We started the morning off with unlimited waffles served with an array of toppings, eggs and sausages at the Royal Breakfast. The Soda Fountain at UCT has limited seating so you will want to make a reservation on their website if you’d like to attend. The breakfast was both toddler and mommy approved!
The Soda Fountain also offers a nice selection of drinks and treats that can be purchased during the festival, before “The Comedy of Errors” and at intermission. All of their treats are made in house and served by the friendliest staff.
After filling up on breakfast we headed to the Festival Faire, which takes place from 9:30-11:45am. This event offers several activities and performances that even a very young child will greatly enjoy.
There’s face painting, crown and puppet crafts, tabletop games, olde school bowling, beanbag toss, archery… the list goes on and on!
My son loved the make-believe area filled with dress-ups, books and a royal throne. This area is often used during an Arts Expression Preschool class that the UCT offers throughout the school year
The one activity that everyone couldn’t stop talking about was jousting! My son wasn’t feeling brave enough to try it out but we sure had fun watching people ride down the track striking targets with pool noodles.
Most of the Festival Faire activities are free, but there is a small fee for the crafts, face painting and puppet shows. Festival Dollares can be purchased at either the Main Theatre or Studio box offices and can be used towards the above-mentioned activities, as well as concessions and tickets.
We purchased our Festival Dollares so we could attend a couple of puppet shows.
There are four puppet shows, each with a different story and style. We watched the shadow puppets and the marionettes. The shows were between 7-10 minutes each and my son sat enthralled through both. I would definitely make it a priority to attend these delightful shows, especially if you have young children in tow.
We also watched one of the Shakespeare Pop! performances. These performances are short and funny introductions to Shakespeare’s works, history and olde style theatre. My toddler did sit through this performance but I was the one most entertained by it. The energetic and comedic troupe of performers kept me laughing the whole 10 minute performance.
The high quality shows, beautiful venue, engaging activities, talented performers and kind staff made our morning at the Utah Children’s Theatre a memorable one!
COMEDY OF ERRORS
I snuck back to the theatre without my son to watch “The Comedy of Errors.” (Toddlers and babies are not permitted to this production or to “Romeo & Juliet.”)
Can I let you in on a little secret? Even though it’s called the Utah Children’s Theatre you do not have to be a child or have children to enjoy their productions. My husband and I have actually gone on several dates to past productions and have always been quite entertained. “The Comedy of Errors” was no different.
Joanne Parker, the director, came out to introduce the play. She described it as “the original cartoon.” I found that a fitting description. The show was fast paced and filled with energetic, animated and comedic performances from a talented cast of actors. There was lots of physical comedy that elicited nonstop giggles from the kids in the audience. I was as busy watching the audience and their reactions as I was the actual performance. I observed laughter and smiles equally among the kids and the grown-ups.
A huge round of applause to the Utah Children’s Theatre for providing a place for families to experience high quality theater together!
- Visit www.ucttheatre.org to view festival schedule and to purchase tickets to the Royal Breakfast, “The Comedy of Errors” and “Romeo and Juliet”
- Festival Faire has activities for all ages, babes in arms and toddlers permitted.
- Babies and toddlers are not permitted to “The Comedy of Errors” and “Romeo and Juliet”.
- *UCT always lists an age recommendation in the production descriptions on their website.
- Concessions available during the festival and performances.