Players ballet vhawto

Live theater opens an exciting world of imagination and adventure to young audiences. Luckily for us, our local performing arts companies produce a wealth of theatrical experiences for your children and grandchildren to enjoy. Here’s a sample.

Florida Studio Theatre this season presents a four-show Children’s Theatre series, including classics like Robin Hood and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. A season pass for all four shows is just $20; single tickets are $10. And its Kids Comedy Lab, billed as “an improv and music extravaganza,” teaches kids to develop and perform their own sketch comedy. Do you have a budding comedy star in your family?

The Sarasota Ballet presents the family-friendly full-length ballet, John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker, Dec. 15 and 16. A circus-themed take on the original, with Clara running off to join the circus—fitting, given Sarasota’s Ringling Brothers circus heritage.

Each November under the auspices of the Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Youth Opera mounts a beautifully staged full-length opera—often a world premiere—whose cast is made up of talented youngsters who participate in youth opera classes and workshops.

The area’s three community theater companies are filled with theatrical opportunities for youngsters, also.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts’ new STAR-Storytelling Theatre at the Ranch, a series of monthly storytelling sessions combined with live performances, will resume in January in a Lakewood Ranch location to be announced. Every participating child gets a book to take home. The Players community theater organization also offers a plethora of acting, singing, dance and musical theater classes for kids at its brand-new downtown studio.

Venice Theatre will present two plays in its Generations Series this season: A Christmas Carol, Dec. 15-21, and Stuart Little, May 15-20. A community theater like The Players, it also has a wide-ranging variety of theater classes for budding thespians.

If your grandchildren are visiting for the summer, they may want to enroll in the Manatee Players’  Kidz Camp or Broadway Bootcamp. Each two- or three-week session culminates in campers putting on a play.

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