BWW Review: Lyric Theatre Engages Young Audiences with Digital Clubhouse Series
One aspect of regional theatre that isn't thought about much is that theatres themselves are community anchors. When times are scary like they are now, theatres can key into an important aspect of their work- community outreach. Lyric Theatre is engaging their audience digitally with Lyric Kids Clubhouse- a weekly show for Lyric's youngest audiences. It's also entertaining for parents; a detail Lyric never forgets. Available on YouTube, the Lyric Kids Clubhouse series breaks down current events in a fun and informative series of videos. If you want to reach kids, go through YouTube. Every kid I've met, including my own, could sit for hours in front of (mostly mindless) videos on YouTube.
These, however, are creative and, while simply produced, are professional and above all things, helpful. What we're lacking now- connection, information, and peace of mind- can all be found here. Each video is about fifteen minutes long, a quick watch in the grocery pickup line or in between homeschool lessons. The two characters in the videos, Gertie and Professor Matt, played by local pros Emily Pace and Matthew Alvin Brown, answer weekly questions that pertain to current events. "When can we leave our houses?" and "Why do we have to wear masks?" are covered in the first two episodes.
The topics covered are serious, and they're presented in a way that is helpful and uplifting for children, not frightening or overwhelming. The world is scary, and watching the news causes anxiety. Let's think of the children for a minute. Their worlds, too, are upside down right now. Their school years have been cut short, they can't play with their friends or enjoy a normal summer break or end-of-year festivities at school. Parents and adults are frazzled, overworked and stressed, and kids feel all of that. They have big emotions, and growing minds, and this unprecedented time is hard on all of them.
That's why this video series is so wonderful. It brings a few minutes of lighthearted entertainment, while informing and calming the viewers. But it's not dumbed-down. It's real information that children need, and it's a valuable source for them to get it, in an enjoyable and memorable presentation. Mr. Rogers would be proud.
Whimsically costumed in a blue wig and makeup (Pace) and crazy tie and wild hair (Brown), the two give quarantined kids a graduation party, birthday shout-outs, and lots of reasons to smile. In episode two, they talk to a nurse in Colorado who teaches the importance of hand washing and wearing masks, while she works on the front lines fighting germs. As Brown and Pace point out, nurses like her are the real superheroes. In episode three they make mac and cheese, celebrating finishing the school year and having their very own graduation party.
Lyric Theatre is always engaging, always entertaining, and they reach their audience in unique ways. This theatre is a blessing to the community, and they're reaching back to support OKC during these trying times. With a shout of "BAM!", anyone can be a member of Lyric Kids Clubhouse, and it's a chance for connection, and real information, that is needed now more than ever. As we await a time when we can gather again in our local theatre, our kids can enjoy a bit of lighthearted fun, and a few moments to process their feelings, with this great offering from Lyric Theatre.
The first three episodes are out now, with more slated in the coming weeks. To submit a birthday request or submit a video, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To watch the entire series, visit Lyric Theatre's social media accounts and YouTube channel.