Theatre has some clear advantages over cinema for children (and even more over You Tube & Netflix, currently the only form of entertainment known to them).
Before we dwell on that though, let’s get some definitions clear.
Cinema, also referred to as ‘the movies’ or ‘film’ is slang for motion pictures. Think of pre-recorded performances, edited time and again then played with a screen or projector. Theatre, on the other hand is a live performance before a live audience at a fixed date and time. These are so raw and so real, they showcase every human error as is.
According to experts, there is a lot youngsters stand to learn from live performances. To start with, what if your child is not a reader, they certainly must enjoy pretend play? Theatre is then a great way to introduce them to classic tales and short stories.
It also comes with its own developmental benefits, inspiring them to listen, think, articulate and imagine once the lights go down and the curtains open. It’s all about experiencing the ‘physical’ event which comes with the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Unlike cinema, theatre is anything but laid back. It is interactive and demands participation with all the senses. With no pause and rewind button, there’s no missing a dialogue/event if you really want to get what happens next!
Theatre forms a close bond between the actors and audience, as much as between families that watch plays and musicals together. Eventually, you might not remember what the show was about but you will recall the good times with your parents and siblings.
If I were to think hard, theatre’s digital counterpart- cinema scores on a couple of counts too. Cinema tickets are cheaper and it’s special effects(think Dolby, CGI) are way more pronounced than theatre can ever aspire to offer. But the onus of keeping the ‘arts’ alive falls on us ultimately. Take your kids to the cinema, but take them to the theatre too. Show them there’s a world outside of technology, and a beautifully creative one at that.
On that note, here are some shows you can catch with the kids this season:
Aliens Love Underpants @ Madinat Theatre, Oct 12, 2018
The Nutcracker and I @ DubaiOpera, Dec 12
The Gruffalo’s Child @ Madinat Theatre, Nov 23-24