In today’s always-connected, over-scheduled world, many family traditions are lost: sharing meals. Going to live performances together. And talking about them afterward.
Which is why the Westport Country Playhouse‘s “Together at the Table Family Dinner” is such a fantastic idea.
Created to make live theater accessible to more families — and introduce young audiences to the Playhouse in a warm, informal atmosphere — the program begins with a 5:30 p.m. communal dinner in the rehearsal space next to the theater.
Actors and directors wander in, for casual conversations about the show everyone is about to see.
The meal is wonderful — and not just because kids, parents and other adults are actually eating and talking together. When the show begins, there’s a palpable connection between the audience and the actors they’ve just met. The strong feeling continues through the entire play.
A recent attendee said, “Sharing a live performance with my kids is thrilling. It’s like taking an imaginative journey together.” The shared experience is far beyond watching TV or a movie together.
On the car ride home, she added, her children could not stop talking about the play. They kept asking when they could come back.
Jim and Libby Liu of Westport have taken their 8- and 6-year-olds to the Playhouse’s children’s productions. This year, they brought them to 2 adult shows: “And a Nightingale Sang” and “Love & Money.”
Libby says the program is a great way to get younger audiences involved in mainstage shows. Her kids loved asking questions of the actors during dinner, before they got into costume.
She appreciates both the early start time (7 p.m.), and the price: $10 per ticket, which includes the pre-show meal.
Erin McAllister calls the Playhouse’s program “a rich cultural experience for the community. Without programs like this, the arts would be inaccessible to many individuals and families.”
The next 2 “Together at the Table” events are “Bedroom Farce” (Tuesday, September 1) and “Broken Glass” (Tuesday, October 13). Both are appropriate for ages 14 and up; younger at a parent’s discretion.
There are only 2 rules for “Together at the Table”:
- At least one family member must be a student-aged child.
- Have fun.
(To purchase “Together at the Table” tickets, call 203-227-4177. For more information, click here.)