Each afternoon that my toddler takes a nap gives me a unique opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my preschooler and I cherish this time together. Coming up with fun, unique activities for us though can be difficult in the Winter, so I was excited to learn of Enchantment Theatre Company’s Peter Rabbit Tales at the Arts Bank Theater. Prior to this, we had only attempted one musical and two movies and had mixed levels of interest for those, so I did not know what to expect. However, the show is only one hour and the tickets were affordable, so I figured it was worth a chance.
The Enchantment Theatre Company did a great job of engaging us from the minute we arrived. There were multiple activity stations set up around the theater and my son was eager to run around trying them all out. We played dress up, built a felt garden, and colored pictures of garden animals. Everywhere we turned there were kind employees entertaining the children and ensuring that all were having a good time. I have never felt so cared for during a theatre experience!
Initially my son had a little meltdown because he thought we were seeing a movie and was confused about why 1) we couldn’t choose our own seats in the theater and 2) the stage was empty when we arrived. After a little bribery with some chocolate, I convinced him to give it a try and as soon as the show started he was happy again. He was especially interested in figuring out which characters were “bad guys” and which were “good guys,” and delighted in the giant puppet version of Mr. McGregor. After the show, the actors took the stage sans masks to answer the adorable questions from the child audience members. Although I couldn’t get my little one to ask any of his questions, he seemed interested in hearing the actor’s responses to others.
As an adult, I enjoyed the show as much as the children. The characters wear beautiful masks and simple costumes that appear just as they do in the books. The actors start and finish the show by donning and doffing their masks in front of the children to demystify the characters, which I thought was lovely and age-appropriate for the 3-9 year old audience. The set was simple and yet like a life-size watercolor painting. The actors do not speak as the show is narrated by a prerecorded voice, so the show feels like you are reading the book and watching the animals live the story.
Afterwards my son was eager to get home and tell his dad all about it, which given that we did not go directly home and he had some distance from the show was a great sign that he was still thinking about his experience. We are now pulling our Beatrix Potter books from the bookshelf more and any impetus to read such classics is a success in my book.
The Enchantment Theatre Company will be performing Peter Rabbit across the country, but will only be in Philadelphia thru January 3rd, so get your tickets now!
[I have no affiliation with Enchantment Theatre Company. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post. The above photos are my own of my son and not official promotional materials.]