BEHIND THE SCENES: Sleeping Beauty Pantomime – The Run-Through (Why our children need to see live theatre now, more than ever)

Sleeping Beauty BannerSo today was the start of ‪Tech Week for ‪#‎SleepingBeautyPanto. What does that mean? I hear you ask. What that means is that it’s almost time for opening night! Here’s a nutshell ‪Behind The Scenes look:

This morning saw the first full run-through of the entire production after weeks of choreography and vocal training and practice. This afternoon for the first time, the cast rehearsed with the full band and from tomorrow the adrenaline starts pumping as the company moves to the main stage and the lighting team take up their roles in the production … and then things get really interesting!! For a look at what went down today, you can take a look here: https://www.facebook.com/janice.leibowitz/media_set?set=a.10153071413971333.1073741845.646516332&type=3&pnref=story

I’ve had a love of all things dramatic from a very young age. Yes, I believe I was extremely lucky being the only child to Anglo/European parents who came from a rich cultural background. I grew up in a home filled with books and music (from opera to heavy metal guitar) and so it has probably always been something that I have taken for granted. I was taken to the theatre regularly, from a young age, and not having any siblings, books and their fictional characters that filled my head were my first companions. I know it was a privileged upbringing, but I know of plenty others who had similar upbringings, in comparable environments who today hardly ever open a book, and wouldn’t know where the entrance to a theatre is! Growing up with these luxuries (and yes, I’m not obtuse enough to realise that these are not indulgences), does not guarantee that you appreciate and make use of them.

Now, more than ever, I believe that it’s absolutely vital that our children are exposed to all types of (age appropriate) Sleeping Beauty 1theatre if and when you have the means. Kids spend so much of their time on screens – phone screens, tablet screens, TV screens – actually, come to think of it, so do adults! But as adults, we’re more able (let that read ‘should be more able’) to exercise a bit of self-restraint when it comes to screen-time and gaming time. We don’t though. In fact, if the kids are happy and quiet, we’re more than content to just let them carry on with whatever zombie attack they’re orchestrating, or whichever clan they happen to be coordinating at any given moment, right?

Live theatre can be just as riveting, if not more so! You don’t believe me? Then you’ve never been in an auditorium filled with school kids, watching a pantomime. They don’t need any encouragement from the cast, they don’t need any signs held up to tell them when to shout, what to say or do. They instinctively know when their interaction is required and they get stuck in wholeheartedly, cheering the good guys, boo’ing the villains, yelling out ‘yes’ and ‘no’ right on cue … but with no cues needed. It is a thrilling experience. Kids being kids – no screens, no buttons, no ‘game over’s’ – completely genuine human interaction. They sing along to the songs they recognise with uninhibited abandon. Here, they are allowed to be children, not undead sleepwalkers or gun-toting gang-landers, just children. They know that good will overcome evil, the prince will get his girl and peace will reign in the kingdom.
So make your children switch off those screens – yes, you can actually make your children do something. Remember, YOU are the parent! Please bring your kids to the pantomime. It’s real, wholesome entertainment. And if you really, really don’t want to come with them (although you really, really should), then try and get their school to do a booking. It’s a fantastic group outing (you can go to www.joburgtheatre.com for all booking info).

There really is nothing like seeing a child’s face when it lights up with the excitement of seeing a live show – real actors, singing and dancing right there in front of them! It’s better than anything they’ll see on any screen!

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