Mama Mary is the host of the her own blog The Mama Mary Show, a freelance writer, author of Dead Dads Club, a mom to two spunky little girls and an a over-zealous GLEEk.

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When Breaking a Leg is a Good Thing

San Diego is known for its sunny skies and sandy beaches, but what many people do not know is that it is also home to two world renowned theaters, The Old Globe Theatre and The La Jolla Playhouse, and both facilities have wonderful opportunities for our children to learn and appreciate the art of performance

The Old Globe Theatre, located in Balboa Park, offers a variety of programs for young children and students.

The newest program is called Theatre Tots which is geared for children ages 4, 5 and 6. The program is designed so that your child can attend anywhere from one to six of the six classes offered in the series. The classes are held every other Saturday, in the morning, and they last 90 minutes. During those 90 minutes, the children participate in some warm-ups and simple theatrical games, read through a beloved children’s story such as Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug, and then venture into the world of pretend by acting out the book from beginning to end. After the story is rehearsed a few times through, the kids spend 15-20 minutes on an arts and crafts project creating either a prop or a costume piece for the show. At the end of the session the kids get to don their new prop or costume and perform for all the parents in the room.  The Summer Session begins on the 10th of July and the spots are filling up quickly so email globelearning@theoldglobe.org or call (619) 231-1941. My daughter Lily will be four in September and I can’t wait to sign her up!

The Old Globe also offers a two-week program for middle schoolers during the summer, focusing on scene work and theater games, as well as a full scholarship Shakespeare summer program for high school students, which requires an application and audition process. Both programs offer behind the scenes looks at stage production as well as performing. And at the end of the Shakespeare program the students perform a full-scale production, with lights, props and costumes on the illustrious outdoor Festival Stage.

The La Jolla Playhouse, located on the UC San Diego campus, also offers a variety of theatrical programs for children and students.

For students entering grades 2-12 they offer a Young Performers’ Workshop in which the children are separated into groups by ages and are led through age-appropriate activities including improvisation, musical theater and voice/movement techniques.

And for high school students, LJPH offers a Summer Conservatory, which is an intensive six-week acting experience just perfect for the serious student thespian. The program includes training in classical and modern scene study, stage combat, and movement and yoga.  For more information, please contact the Education Department at (858) 550-1070 x103, or jstoessner@ljp.org.

Though the beaches and water parks are an obvious destinations for sunny San Diego summer days, these theater programs provide immeasurable fun for the kids as well as invaluable lessons in self-confidence and the arts. As someone who grew up performing on stage, I am grateful for having had the exposure to the world of live theater at a young age and I am thrilled that these kinds of programs exist for my daughters.  If for nothing else, so that they learn the meaning behind the term “Break a Leg” and maybe master the art of good jazz hands.