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Bring Learning to Life at the Theatre

The theatre stage can be considered a giant classroom. While many people associate plays and musicals with entertainment (rightfully so!), the theatre can also be an important vehicle for storytelling and educating youth.

A theatrical production can be a great educational field trip opportunity with many rich themes and characters to explore and discuss after the curtain closes. Students can also benefit from affordable group rates when attending matinee shows with their school.

With this in mind, I am excited to see a great lineup of educational productions coming to Toronto this school year. This includes adaptations of books, plays, movies, music albums, and true stories. While I have not seen any of these performances yet, these three are definitely on my wish list.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Theatre: Princess of Wales Theatre
Dates: October 10 – November 19, 2017
For ages: 11 and up

This play is an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel. It follows fifteen-year-old Christopher, a boy of extraordinary intelligence with a strong aptitude for math. He also faces challenges interpreting everyday situations, understanding emotions, and interacting with new people. While he initially strives to solve the mystery behind the death of his neighbour’s dog Wellington, his adventure morphs into a journey of self-discovery. This chapter book is a favourite of many teachers, making the theatre adaptation a great field trip for middle and high school students.

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax

Theatre: Royal Alexandra Theatre
Dates: December 9, 2017 – January 21, 2018
For ages: 5 and up

Based on the beloved Dr. Seuss picture book, the North American premiere of The Lorax is coming to Toronto this winter. This short story has been expanded into a play with music and puppetry. It revolves around the Lorax who tries to protect the Truffula Trees, the Brown Bar-ba-loots and the other animals of the forest from the Once-ler, a businessman who wants to chop down the trees for economic gain. While children can rest at the surface and simply enjoy the show, they can also delve deeper to explore core themes of environmental awareness, greed and responsibility. Tickets to this production would make a great holiday gift for families.

Come From Away

Theatre: Royal Alexandra Theatre
Dates: Begins February 13, 2018
For ages: 13 and up

This award-winning musical, based on a true story and featuring a Canadian cast, will be returning to Toronto in February. It comes from David Hein and Irene Sankoff, a husband-and-wife writing team who were inspired by the small town of Gander, Newfoundland that sheltered 7,000 stranded passengers when planes were diverted there during 9/11. This musical is based on first-person accounts of the experience from the local community and the “come from aways” (a Newfoundland term for a visitor from beyond the island). Students will explore central themes of kindness, empathy, and problem solving in the wake of tragedy. It’s a hopeful example of how a community can come together in a period of great crisis, and it’s a story Canadians can share with pride.

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