Summer Repertory Theater and Summer Stock Good Venues for Kids

Summer repertory theater, or summer stock, is the perfect way to introduce children to drama and acting, as spectator or performer. Almost every city has some form of summer theater opportunity. Most have a local actors' guild, community theater, county playhouse or college production company.

During the summer, when schedules tend to be less demanding, it's easier to do theater. Take childrenm students, homeschool group or day care to see a local production. In my teaching, homeschooling and momming (that's a word) years we've enjoyed Rudyard Kipling's 'Just-So Stories', Fa Mulan, Narnia, George Washington Follies, Peter Pan, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Les Miserables and more.

Live theater inspires and enthralls students and children like no movie or television show can. Our now-16, then-2-year-old daughter remembers clear as day when she got fairy dust from the Lost Boys of  the "Peter Pan" production we took our children to see. Once bitten by the theater bug, you're a slave to Thalia and Melpomene.

Or maybe audition for student summer repertory productions. So many life lessons are learned onstage and backstage that could never translate in a classroom setting. Obvious skills--reading, speaking, delivery, projection--and nebulous skills-- working cooperatively, giving your all, overcoming stage fright, supporting each other--all get a workout in theater.

If money is an issue, many local venues offer scholarships. If you have a special needs child, perhaps with autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADD, ADHD or emotional issues, I doubly encourage you to try theater. It's therapeutic and in my experience special needs kids make superb actors.