The Nutcracker performances are a holiday tradition in Northwest Ohio, with a lot of fine arts studios having their own performances. Black Swamp Fine Arts School places a unique spin on the classic, offering a 45 minute version for a younger audience.
Executive Director, Sophia Jarrell, opened Black Swamp Fine Arts School 8 years ago. Having spent most of her life in the performing arts world, she wanted her own kids to have the experience of a high level performance. These options are typically limited for younger children and she wanted to find a way for toddlers to be a part of performances as young as possible, from being able to attend performances to acting or dancing.
Proper theater etiquette does not leave much room for chit chat, opening snack wrappers and audience members needing to squirm in their seats. So along with her Artistic Director, Hayley Havener, Jarrell has figured out how to provide this experience in a meaningful way.
“I realized through my own motherhood journey that I wanted my own kids to be able to see high level performances and be a part of the arts performing community,” Jarrell said.
Children of all ages are welcome to join Masha on her dreamland adventures after gifts and treasures are revealed from Uncle Ivanov’s trunk, full of exotic presents for each family member. Young Masha, played by Bridget McCartney, is most intrigued by the German Nutcracker amidst all the other treasures and goodies. As she drifts off to sleep later that night, Masha finds herself in a magical land with sugar plum fairies and dancing flowers. The Nutcracker transforms into a prince and sweet mice are about.
The music is quieter. Lighting is brighter in case anyone is scared of the dark and makes it easier for parents and children to navigate the theater for bathroom breaks or general movement. Children shouting out or talking is an expected part of the experience and so are requests for snacks. Two of the more intense scenes, Battle Scene and Snow Scene, are withheld from the performance to avoid the possibility of children becoming frightened during the show.
Audience members will also have the opportunity to meet some of the cast directly following the show. They will be able to interact with their favorite characters and get an up close view of costumes. Characters will also be introduced at the beginning of the show to make it easier for young children to follow along with the story.
The performances are held at Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay. Show time for the Toddler-Friendly Performance is 1pm on December 16.
Group discounts are available for groups of ten or more. A 10% discount will be offered at checkout with discount code: NC10.
Tickets for the Toddler-Friendly Show range from $15.50-$18.50 and can be reserved by calling 419.423.2787 ex. 100. Additional showtimes for the full performance and tickets can also be reserved online. There are no additional processing or credit card fees.