For Allan Sansom, artistic producer and manager at Centrepointe Theatres, there’s nothing better than seeing three or four generations of a family attending a performance.
“Seeing children, their parents and grandparents coming through the door for one of our family-friendly shows means we’re doing it right,” he says.
For the last five years, Centrepointe has focused on providing excellent family programming and for Sansom, that focus is paying off.
“My job is about audience development, so seeing parents bring their children to the theatre and making it a thing to do is great. If children have a positive experience, it’s something they’ll remember and hopefully something they’ll want to continue to do.
“I hope it’s creating the next generation of culture-vultures.”
Sansom knows it’s important to appeal to a wide range of ages as well. “We’ve had tremendous success with shows like Max and Ruby and Elephant and Piggie,” says Sansom. “And the pre-show activities from other centres that go along with them are a big hit. But we’ve got a lot of fun things for older children as well.”
One example: Kick It, a club offered for kids aged four to 10 years. Dynamix provides DJ services and a photo booth. Flava Factory provides dance instruction, including hip-hop and other cool dance moves. Children get to strut their stuff while parents watch from cabaret seating.
Sansom says Kick It has proven wildly popular among children and parents.
“We’re proud of the fact that we can offer something for almost everyone.”
Meanwhile, Canto Sentimento is coming up on Sunday, April 23, when four young emerging string artists will perform a concert featuring the music of Handel.
“If you want to expose your child to classical music, this is a lovely, gentle way to do it,” says Sansom. “It really is a pleasant afternoon and with our tea service after the performance, it’s something that grandparents might enjoy as well.”
Sansom, who has worked in theatre and stage management across the country, is pleased to see all the family-friendly opportunities for theatre. And he’s excited about what’s coming up at Centrepointe.
“For me,” he says, “exposure to live theatre is a healthy part of family life and just wait and see what we have in store, it’s exciting.”
Find out more at www.centrepointetheatre.com.