Five years ago, I wrote a 10-point prescription for theaters that want to save themselves. Point number five:

Offer child care. Sunday school is the most successful guerrilla education program in American history. Steal it. People with young children should be able to show up and drop their kids off with some young actors in a rehearsal room for two hours of theater games. The benefits: First, it will be easier to convince the nouveau riche (many of whom have young children) to commit to season tickets. Second, it will satisfy your education mission (and will be more fun, and therefore more effective, for the kids). Third, it will teach children to go to the theater regularly. And they'll look forward to the day they graduate to sitting with the grown-ups. Getting dragged to the theater will shift from punishment to reward.

The venerable Guthrie Theater is finally putting that idea into action:

Finally, the day has arrived when you can escape to the theater for an afternoon of much-deserved grown-up time, while your kids participate in fun and creative activities developed and led by trusted child care professionals of the YMCA — all under the same roof! It's almost too good to be true!


Beginning at 12:30 p.m. on select Play Care dates, bring your children (ages 4 to 11) to the Guthrie's Level Eight Education Suite where they will explore a variety of activities developed and led by qualified and trusted YMCA child care professionals. All activities are tailored to your child's age (ages 4 & 5, 6 & 7, 8 & 9, 10 & 11), including movement, arts & crafts, games and more. Once they're settled in, head downstairs, take your seat and prepare to be entertained!