Pickle Planet Moncton loves to touch base with some of the great organizations operating in our community. Melannie Eldridge, Manager of Partnerships and Special Projects at the Capitol Theatre, shares her thoughts today on introducing your children to the world of professional theatre.
Hosting families at the Capitol Theatre is a particular delight for me. In particular, I find there’s such charm in seeing small children arrive at the Capitol in their Sunday best, soaking in their surroundings and noticing that this place is unique and special.
When I was small, my grandmother would take me to Mount Allison’s Convocation Hall for ballet and theatre. I’d put on my frilliest dress, best barrettes, and try my hardest to contain the overwhelming and hyperactive excitement buzzing inside me. As much as I loved the performances, the memories of what I saw on stage are honestly fuzzy at best. The venue, however, I still remember vividly.
I recall being filled with awe as I approached the entrance and looked up at pillars that seemed to extend to the clouds. Most of all, I remember the foyer. There were so many people gathering, fluttering around and socializing with one another. They all looked extremely glamourous and very happy. There was a certain level of formality that I didn’t typically find back home on the farm. I would stay there until the last possible moment before the performance began and would always want to immediately return during intermission. I did not want to leave that space. I adored it. I wanted to live there.
I think of this every time I see a child here at the Capitol. Many of my childhood memories are focused on what surrounded me rather than what was in front of me. I remember experiences, but environments have a distinct shade of Technicolor when I look back. Whenever I see little ones with big eyes in the building, I’m curious if they feel the way I felt back then and whether these memories will stay with them as mine have.
A formal setting stands out for most of us due to its many differences from our everyday routines. As impressive as these events are, they often come with a certain level of discomfort, especially for a child. Stiff shoes, scratchy fabric, tightly contained hair … the dress code is often as stifling as the insistence we behave at an almost inhuman level of perfection.
So what happens when you put a child in a beautiful, formal setting but let them be comfortable in a way that is usually reserved only for home? I have no idea because I can’t recall ever having such an experience. My son will, however, when I bring him to an incredible upcoming performance here at the Capitol this May 13th — in his pajamas. It’s going to be fantastic!
On May 13th, the Capitol presents “Bedtime!” by Bouge de là, Québec’s most renowned professional dance company devoted exclusively to young audiences. The company is renowned for making dance accessible to children through a fun, vibrant, and creative approach. The group has received a great deal of praise and many awards. I can see why.
“Bedtime!” explores the intimate relationship between a child and their bed, illustrating four different stages of youth and how each age emotionally and imaginatively connects with this comforting and personal place. The company beautifully features the bed as not just a simple piece of furniture but a place for milestones, emotional explosions, lessons of self-discovery, and limitless adventures in pretending. As the performers dance and play their way through each stage of a child’s life, we connect with the laughter, tears, and endless experiences we all share with this safe, cozy refuge.
I’m excited to see how this piece connects with our young audience by communicating through such a clever device. We all have a sleeping place and personal connections with it. We all have happy, sad, and angry moments there. It’s a brilliant centrepiece and the effect is made stronger by inviting guests to come in their PJs — comfortable, happy, and in the same mode as the performers on stage. I cannot wait to see our little pajama clad audience having fun in our stunning grand hall! The kid in me is gleeful for their opportunity. The adult in me is absolutely going to take an excuse to wear pajamas to work. It’s a win-win.
The Capitol Theatre presents “Bedtime!” by Bouge de là, Saturday May 13th at 2PM. Tickets available at capitol.nb.ca.
You can also enter to win a pair of tickets to the performance!
Joining in on the party? Bouge de là has a wonderful learning guide and collection of activities to enrich your experience. Check out the teachers section of their website for some excellent resources: http://bougedela.org/en/shows/bedtime/