Captivated Audiences


To keep kids engaged and alert, field trips must strike the balance between informative and entertaining — and so, enter the theater. In a quiet, dark auditorium, students are transported to other times and worlds through a medium well known to expand human ability to empathize and imagine.


According to studies touted by the American Alliance for Theatre Education, exposure to drama gives kids another major advantage: improved academic performance. Theater boosts overall reading comprehension, and Shakespeare study specifically improves student understanding in a range of complex texts, including materials in math and science. After crunching numbers from standardized-test questionnaires, the College Board reported that teens exposed to and involved in theater performed nearly 100 points better on the SAT than their non-arts-participating peers.

Concludes Karen Chigounis, director of arts education programs at South Jersey’s Perkins Center for the Arts: “An arts experience is such a kinetic way of looking, seeing or moving that every child’s going to benefit.” Here’s a glimpse of how the area’s theaters set the stage for matinee field trips during the 2015-16 season.

A Kids’ Guide to Theater Etiquette

A class trip to the theater may be many students’ first dramatic outing. Prep them on the basics of theater-going with these tips come from

  • Visit the restroom preshow. before the performance begins.
  • Turn off all cell phones, which should never be used during a performance.
  • Don't speak or whisper during the performance.
  • If you’re at a musical, the Overture (introductory music) starts the performance, so don’t speak just because no one is singing.
  • Never take pictures during the performance. The flash can disorient the actors.
  • Remain seated for the entire performance.
  • Do not eat or drink in the theater.
  • Do not put your feet up on the seats or balcony and do not kick the seat in front of you.
  • Don't throw anything on the stage.
  • Do laugh when the performance is funny.
  • Remember to applaud when it is appropriate during the performance and at the end.


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