Lights, Camera, Awesome!

Eastside kids’ theaters that deserve applause

Whether you have a budding thespian or just a wee one who likes to be entertained, children’s theater can be the perfect way to escape spring showers and get a little culture to boot. We’re putting these Eastside fixtures center stage because they deserve a standing ovation. Bravo!

Bellevue Youth Theatre
16661 Northup Way, Bellevue
The Bellevue Youth Theater is jointly sponsored by the City of Bellevue and Bellevue Public Schools and acts as a true open door to performance. Not only does it have shows for kids of all ages, but if you’d rather act or lend a hand backstage rather than be in the audience, they will find a place for you. People with disabilities also are encouraged to participate. Spring productions include Madeline, Oklahoma! Romeo and Juliet and Beauty and the Beast. Know before you go: Audition details can be found on their website and shows often sell out, so get your tickets early.

SecondStory Repertory
16587 N.E. 74th St., Redmond
Located conveniently at Redmond Town Center, you’ll find this theater skews toward a slightly older crowd. In addition to shows for grade-school-aged children, it also has performances for adults. Being welcomed to the stage this spring is How I Became a Pirate (ARRGH!) and Fancy Nancy the Musical (tea anyone?). Know before you go: Check their website regularly, as they often feature classes for people of all ages as well as internships for kids ages 16 and up.

StoryBook Theater
11730 118th Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Kirkland
Geared toward 3- to 10-year-olds, StoryBook combines originally written and cleverly updated fairy tales with upbeat music, whimsical costumes, and valuable life lessons. The shows are about an hour long and often encourage singing (and dancing), making them a perfect fit for kids with wiggles. The best part is the tickets are $15. Upcoming shows include Jack and the Beanstalk and Sleeping Beauty. Know before you go: Season tickets go on sale in August, and are an even better value.

DSC_0011Studio East Training for The Performing Arts
11730 118th Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Kirkland
If you love StoryBook, you’ll also love Studio East. It’s like the “man behind the curtain” of StoryBook. But unlike the powerful Oz says, you do want to pay attention to him. They offer fall, winter, and spring classes in acting, dancing, and singing with a wide variety of themes and focuses. New this spring is Dramatic Adventures, a class that will teach youngsters how to use their imaginations to travel the world, as well as develop beginning theater skills. Know before you go: Classes are for students ages 4-19 and Studio East suggests registering at least two weeks in advance.

Village Theatre KIDSTAGE
Issaquah and Everett
KIDSTAGE is more than a quadruple threat offering performances, auditions, classes, and camps. There is a year-long institute program, and even an arts enrichment preschool. With the goal of using the arts to teach creativity, encourage teamwork, and foster self-esteem and appreciation for live theater, there is truly something for everyone. Know before you go: Scholarships as well as multiple family member and class discounts are available to those who qualify.

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