Theatre Opportunities for Children in Columbia


Anyone else ever feel like they have the next Jim Carey or Kristen Bell running around their house? Ever considered filming your child’s version of Panic at the Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor” for YouTube? Do you ever have to ask your child not to roar at the cashier at the grocery store while he refuses to break the character of Velocirapter Blue? Because I definitely have. 

My child (Ashton) is an entertainer and while he has my friends rolling laughing on a regular basis, I find myself wondering … how do I facilitate this obvious talent? He clearly loves it.

While pretending is one of his favorite ways to play, he brings it to a whole new level in front of his friends, my friends, family, teachers, the carpool line, I mean you name it. Not shy is an understatement. And all at five years old.

I have to admit I grew up loving the performing arts classes we had in school and have a definite appreciation for the art of theatre and cinema. As a parent of course I want him to do what he loves and the path is not always a clear one.  

I started asking around and looking into what opportunties there are for kids, not only to attend the theatre but to participate and learn. Of course, my friends were like “For Ashton…YESSSSS!” I was actually quite surprised at how many options there are for children and theatre in Columbia! Of course you have to take into account the time of year, the age of your child, etc., but here is what I found around the Midlands…

Columbia Children’s Theatre

Columbia Children’s Theatre has opportunities for 1st-12th graders for classes and productions. They thrive to “give students the opportunity to experience the magic and camaraderie that creating a live theatrical production can bring.” This sounds like a great place for children to grow within a theatre enviornment. I definitely plan to involve Ashton when he is old enough. 

Irmo Center for the Arts

Irmo High School has an amazing International Arts program that encourages growth in all art forms including the performing arts.

My friend told me about these amazing theatre and acting camps that they hold each summer for rising K-8th graders and naturally I was all over it. I didn’t find out about the camp until a couple days before it started but Ashton attended as a rising kindergartener and he absolutely LOVED it! I highly recommend these camps for your kids!

They had a Big Show the final day to showcase what they had been working on all week and it was the cutest thing! Ashton learned so much about acting but also how to work together with kids of all ages! I was blown away by how comfortable he was on stage. Not only do they hold these camps but have several productions throughout the year which are great for the whole family to attend. I can’t wait to take Ashton to their next production!

Crooked Creek Park

Crooked Creek Park has an array of athletic activities, afterschool programs, team building activities (including options like children’s theatre). There are multiple opportunities throughout the year to attend performances. They also have children’s theatre camps that I will definitely involve Ashton in when he is older.

Columbia Marionette Theatre

I cannot tell you how much I love this theatre! It is an amazing place to take the kids for a show or have a birthday party. Ashton has seen their performances a few times and he always is curious… How did they make lightening in the show? How do they make the puppets move like that? Where do the shadows come from? I am always impressed!

They have themed party rooms (from dinosaur to medieval) for parties for any occasion and every party includes a show of their latest production! Its definitely a great way for kids to experience the performing arts from a different angle and let their imaginations run wild! 

Additional Local Theatres to Consider

Here are a few more theatre options around town, most of which offer workshops or classes for kids…

Needless to say there are loads of opportunities around Columbia to involve your child in acting, theatre or the performing arts in general. There plenty of affordable camps, classes, workshops and performances to attend and really show your child what their young talent can do! 

I hope to see you at one of these theatre productions one of these days … who knows, maybe you will see Ashton on stage! 

Is your child involved in theatre around town? What has been your experience?


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