Our show really does appeal to all ages - who doesn't want to go to Narnia? But if you are bringing a child under the age of 8, or one may be new to going to the theatre, here are a few tips to help them have the best time possible.
1. Decide if your child is ready for this story. If you are familiar with "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," you know there are some intense moments, most notably when The White Witch kills Aslan. The entire set-up of our show makes it very clear that it is just pretend, and although the portrayal of violence is effective, it is not realistic. But if your child is especially sensitive to stories about good and evil, the tension may be too much for them. We do recommend the show for ages 5 and up, and it has been a good guideline. For reference, my 2 year old loves watching the show, but it was a little too intense for my older son when he was 4. You know your child best.
Also, the show lasts just 45 minutes, which I think is a perfect length for most attention spans, even a busy 5 year old.
2. Read the book together! There is the full length novel, of course. But if your child isn't quite ready to sit still for that version, there are some great picture books that feature the abridged story. I like this one (pictured here) by Hiawyn Oram, illustrated by Tudor Humphries. And I love Robert Sabuda's pop-up book. You could also listen to it on audio book while traveling.
Just a note: If they haven't already seen it, I would not recommend showing your children the film version of the story before seeing the play. Our show is so imaginative, and I think remembering the visual images of the film can distract from the interactive experience of the play.
3. Talk together about what to expect at the show. I think it's helpful for kids (and adults too!) to know that there will just be two actors who play all the characters. Check out the photos on website and try to guess which characters are which. Talk about how you think the actors will change their costumes, bodies and voices to show they are playing a different character. If you think your child might be scared of the lion mask, be sure to look at those photos and talk about how it is just the actor underneath. You can also let them know that they will have the chance to meet the actors after the show.
4. Prepare them for the atmosphere of a theatre. Explain the ways it's different and similar to a movie. Something like:
"It's similar in that the lights will go down, we want to whisper if we have a question, and we will stay in our seats to watch the show. But unlike in a movie, the actors can hear you, see you, and will even talk directly to you!"
There are a few small interactive moments during the show and the actors LOVE it when the audience actually talks back to them.
5. Grab a bite to eat before the show. We do sell candy, soda and water at the theatre, and you are welcome to bring those inside. However, your child will probably enjoy the show best if her belly is already full and she can just focus on the story. (Pro mom tip: lollipops are great to focus the preschoolers while watching the show. But you already knew that. )
With a little preparation, the entire experience of coming to see "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" can be expanded to make it a memorable event for the whole family.