Theater for the Under-5 Set Around the Bay

Looking to introduce your wee ones to the theater but don’t think they are ready for Hamilton? To encourage a love of theater from a young age, theater companies around the Bay Area have started offering shows that cater to even the youngest patrons. With shortened shows that welcome kids of all ages you can get your kids excited about going to the theater without having to worry about whether they will sit still and behave. Buy your tickets for one of these upcoming shows!

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Photo: Bay Area Children’s Theatre

Bay Area Children’s Theatre – Theatre for the Very Young
Kicking off its second year, BAC’s Theatre for the Very Young offers shows that are specifically geared towards kids from 6 months to 3 years old (although older kids and grown-up kids are also welcome). These multi-sensory story experiences are designed for the youngest audience members, with moments of interactive engagement throughout, a small audience size and content suited to the unique early developmental needs of children ages 6 months to 3 years. The 2017-2018 season offers two shows: Teddy Bears’ Picnic and Old MacDonald: Beyond the Farm.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic
Oakland: Through October 29 at Children’s Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Avenue
San Francisco: Select dates January 26 – March 11 at Children’s Creativity Museum Annex, 221 Fourth Street

Old MacDonald: Beyond the Farm
San Francisco: Select dates November 11 – December 23 at Children’s Creativity Museum Annex, 221 Fourth Street
Berkeley: Select dates January 12 – March 18 at BACT Berkeley Center, 2055 Center Street

Tickets: $15 per person (under 6 months are free)

Photo: Matt Harber

Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets
Everyone’s favorite holiday show is shortened to 50 minutes in this special adaptation by choreographer Mark Foehringer. Bright scenery, lively music and energetic dancers keep the attention of even the youngest kids.

Dates: December 9-10, 16-17 and 22-23 with shows at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on select days
Tickets: $22.50 – $42.50

Photo: Bari Lee ~ Photography

My Very First Nutcracker
My Very First Nutcracker is a special one hour classical ballet presentation of The San Jose Nutcracker suitable for the youngest audiences, including children and toddlers of all ages. My Very First Nutcracker features the first act of The San Jose Nutcracker, including a festive holiday party hosted by young Clara, her brother Fritz, and their family in San Jose at the turn of the last century.

Dates: December 16-17 and 23-24 at 11 a.m.
Tickets: $12.50 and up

Photo: Peninsula Youth Theatre

Peninsula Youth Theatre Stories on Stage
“Stories on Stage” shows are short stage adaptations of beloved children’s books that include a time to talk to the actors and director after the performance. They are typically around 45 minutes in length.

Creepy Carrots – October 13-14
Pinocchio – November 3-4
Oskar and the Eight Blessings – December 8-9
The Ugly Duckling – January 19-20
Stink and the World’s Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers – February 16-17
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth – March 23-24
Juana & Lucas – May 4-5

Location: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Second Stage, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View
Tickets: $10

Photo: East Bay Children’s Theatre

East Bay Children’s Theatre
Since 1933, this musical theater group has been traveling around to East Bay schools to provide free productions to economically disadvantaged schools in Oakland and nearby. They also offer productions throughout the year to the public and welcome kids of all ages. This winter you can enjoy Christmas in Oz, a full-length production that includes your favorite characters from Oz along with Santa himself. Come in costume and get your photo taken with the actors after the show.

Dates: November 17-19, 24-26 and December 1-2
Location: Chanticleers Theatre, 3683 Quail Ave., Castro Valley
Tickets: $20-25

Photo: Clover Sonoma Family Fun Series

Clover Sonoma Family Fun Series
Classic stories brought to life, amazing acrobats, musical romps and more come to Santa Rosa this season. Individual tickets are available for each show or you can save by subscribing to all six (or pick just four). Subscribers will be invited to exclusive post-show meet-and-greet and autograph sessions with the performers, as well as an opportunity to attend a backstage tour and docent-guided Sculpture Garden Art Talk. Each event in the series will also feature pre-show activities, including Free Fun with Art, custom-designed arts and crafts projects for the whole family, and pizza and drinks at the concession stand.

Go, Dog. Go! – October 11 at 6:30 p.m.
La Belle: Lost in the World of the Automaton – November 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Golden Dragon Acrobats – January 21 at 3 p.m.
Pete the Cat – February 25 at 3 p.m.
Casa Mañana’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins – April 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site – May 6 at 3 p.m.

Location: Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa
Tickets: $12-21

Where are you going to take your toddlers for their first theater production? Let us know in the comments!

– Kate Loweth


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