I finally felt like my kids were ‘of age’ to take them to Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre. Why did I wait this long?
Our first-time YPT experience was Goodnight Moon by the Seattle Children’s Theatre. This classic story comes alive (now until end of March Break). Literally, the bedroom, the characters and the well-known rhymes jump from book to stage. It is so magical.
But it wasn’t just the performance that blew us away, it was the whole theatre experience. This is why we fell in love with Young People’s Theatre.
1) Kid-sized theatre. There is no makeshift stage or fluffy pillows. It looks like a traditional theatre but is much more intimate than a mainstream venue. No matter where your family is sitting, the stage is front and centre. Here is a behind-the-scenes look.
2) Theatre for all ages. Their season – from October to May – offers around 10 different theatrical experiences for varying age groups. This year YPT presented the world premiere of a specially-commissed piece for infants One Things Leads to Another. Up next: a new take on The Wizard of Oz will be presented on the Mainstage from April 4 to May 15. (recommended for 5 & up) and Scarberia for older kids (14 & up.)
3) High-quality theatre. There is something so magical about live performance and you can really expect the best here. The YPT has been at it for 50 years.
4) Accessible theatre. Each presentation has one performance specifically designed for young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We attended one of these “Relaxed Performances” and it was an excellent introductory experience for my youngest first-time theatre-goer. YPT has this great video to show kids what to expect. First Saturdays and Pay-What- You-Can (PWYC) performances this season.
Getting there: Young People’s Theatre is located at the corner of Front Street and Frederick (just west of Sherbourne Ave.) There is a public parking lot directly across from YPT on the north side of Front at Frederick St. at the south-east corner of Front and Sherbourne St. Street parking is $2.25/hr. On TTC, take the 504 King St. streetcar or Sherbourne bus.
Low-down: Tickets range from $13-$45 for adults and $13-$40 for kids and seniors (depending on production and show time.) Children under one don’t need a ticket but are required to sit on caregiver’s lap. Doors generally open 30 minutes prior. Limited number of booster seats available. Here is the seating map. Stroller-friendly – strollers are not allowed in auditorium but can be left in main floor lobby. They do birthday parties. And have a drama school.
Potty time: Family washroom and baby change table located on second floor near entrance to theatre.
Snacks: No food, drink, candy and gum in the theatre, except bottled water.
You may also like: We are so lucky to have so many theatre options in Toronto for families – here are a few to keep in mind: Ross Petty Productions, Second City, Solar Stage, Canadian Opera Company Opera for Families and Story Mobs.