Score One Free For The Kids

Score One Free For The Kids

Photo courtesy Jeremy Daniel
“Finding Neverland” tells the story of “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie and is recommended for ages 7 and older. The show has seven performances Dec. 19-23 at the Walton Arts Center.

New WAC program engages whole family


Some parents may take their children to the theater every chance they get so they can bond over a shared love of the live art form (or just over the show tunes). And some parents may simply be looking for a family-friendly activity to get everyone out of the house during the winter break. In either case, the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville offers a fun new program fit for the whole family with Kids Night on Broadway.

Technically speaking, the program isn’t actually new; it’s just new to the WAC. For 21 years, The Broadway League has hosted Kids Night on Broadway in New York, inviting children to get in free to a show with the purchase of a full price adult ticket. The program expanded across the country several years ago to venues like the WAC that present Broadway productions.

“With ‘Finding Neverland’ being here, it being a matinee performance and kids being out of school, it was a great time for us to do it” for the first time, says WAC public relations director Jennifer Wilson. “This will be a great Christmas break activity. And it’s not just going to the show — going to the show is the cool part — but we’re also doing activities around it.

“The big thing is to introduce Broadway to that next generation of theatergoers — make it a really great experience for them so they appreciate it and come to love Broadway,” she adds.

Kids will get to make their own pirate hats, go on a treasure hunt at the theater and participate in a few more activities in the works to enhance their experience with “Finding Neverland.” The Kids Night program is one of several new engagement opportunities for guests to foster connections with the arts. The new Broadway Book Club pairs a relevant book with each Broadway show to be discussed in a group following the performance week (with the exception of “Finding Neverland,” for which the book club meeting will take place the Monday of opening week). And the Arts and Appetizers program offers discussions on context, backstage stories and historical perspectives surrounding a show, led by the WAC vice president of programs and special guests.

“I think we’re so used to seeing performances in two-dimensions, on a screen — a lot of us just a screen on your phone, so it’s not even a big screen — that to get to sit in a theater and see a real, live-action experience in front of you is hugely important,” Wilson says. And the addition of Kids Night to the WAC’s already robust tradition of engagement will only further the goal of fostering community.

“It connects us to the arts, it connects us to creativity, it connects us to a shared experience with the other people around us,” Wilson says. “As a culture that becomes more and more isolated with our devices, getting into the theater and enjoying a live performance with an audience is something that’s really important to introduce kids to so that they really see the value of that.”


Kids Night on Broadway:

‘Finding Neverland’

WHEN — 1:30 p.m. Dec. 21; activities begin at 12:30 p.m.

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — Kids are free with the purchase of a full price adult ticket at $49-$75

INFO — 443-5600,

FYI — Use promo code HOOK when purchasing. Limited tickets are available.


The Walton Arts Center hosts several engagement programs centered around specific shows in the season. New events are still being planned but look for these programs for upcoming shows:

Broadway Book Club — The Monday following every Broadway show — except “Finding Neverland,” which will happen the Monday of opening week because of the holidays. Contact Kimberly Jones to register.

Arts and Appetizers — Dec. 11, Jan. 8, Jan. 29, Feb. 19, April 16, May 7. Hosted by WAC VP of programs and special guests, this discussion provides context, backstage stories and historical perspectives to enhance your theatergoing experience. Register at

SEEK — Geared toward college students and young professionals and based around a show at WAC, this semi-annual event includes a pre-party, show tickets and a post-party.

10×10 Arts Series — For less than the cost of a movie ticket, patrons can hear a post-show creative conversation with the artists, see a show and have a post-show party with the artists.

Categories: Family Friendly