By Contributing Blogger Amanda Gurall
Going to the theatre is an amazing experience and New Yorkers are lucky to have so many shows to attend. But what about the kids?
The cost of childcare can be a huge factor in parents not being able to attend the theatre as much as they would like. Playtime! is the way to make it happen. Three theatres- Signature Theatre, Playwrights Horizons. and the show “Old Jews Telling Jokes” participate in a unique program that offers babysitting for children ages 4-12 during the show for the extremely reasonable price of $15 per child. The babysitting is run by Sitters Studio and staffed by Artsitters- sitters who are also artists or performers and give the children fun visual, musical and dramatic arts activities. (Read more after the jump)
I recently attended a performance of “Rapture, Blister, Burn” starring Amy Brenneman at Playwrights Horizons theatre. I brought my daughter up to the second floor where we met the friendly and organized sitters. They gave my daughter a paper bracelet with her information on it and handed me a little purple purse with a card with matching ID number for pick-up. If your child has special needs they can provide a specialty sitter, and if there are any medical needs like an allergy, they will be listed on the bracelet. The program is very organized, professional and staffed by absolutely delightful Artsitters. My daughter had a blast and I was able to see what they had done because I was given a paper with everything listed on it. This is especially great if your child doesn’t like to share! They had a healthy snack, sang songs, did some drama and made some pirate the med artwork.
The show was a fantastic look at feminism through the last three generations and the big questions and issues every woman and every mother has to face. The actors were all excellent, funny and sharp. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times said, “CRITIC’S PICK! “INTENSELY SMART AND IMMENSELY FUNNY, with sharp-witted dialogue. Under the finely honed direction of Peter DuBois, the cast brings Gina Gionfriddo’s characters to fully felt life. Amy Brenneman exudes a brisk intelligence and a telegenic beauty.”
After the show I went back upstairs and was greeted by an elevator full of happy excited kids. The sitters checked everyone’s ID bracelets and gave each child a tote bag with any of their own belongings, their artwork and the activity report. There were about 2 children per sitter and every one of the sitters seemed kind energetic and happy to be there. I cannot give the Artsitters enough credit- from start to end the process was organized and fun for the kids, secure and an excellent break for the parents. Please do yourself a favor and check out the excellent off Broadway theaters that offer the Playtime! sitting service- you deserve some cultural adult time!
Thank you to MamaDramaNY for comping our writer and her daughter for the show and Playtime! childcare.