By Sue Tiffin
Attending a performance, going out for a special event, dressing up to the nines – these are some of the special moments in our life we have learned to cherish more over the past many months of the pandemic. While we certainly appreciated taking in live theatre or the orchestra or a concert or a dinner show in the beforetimes, not having access to such delights caused us to struggle and bemoan that loss of culture and entertainment because we understand the value of it all.
While the world is opening up and so we can once again be together to enjoy the feeling of an audience laughing together and applauding together, for kids in Haliburton County, the opportunity to see live entertainment specifically presented for them could be significantly diminished if volunteers don’t join the current group of Razzamataz Kids’ Shows organizers. Those long-time volunteers – a very small group of engaged and motivated parents who have seen their kids grow in the time they’ve offered to planning and presenting live family-friendly entertainment – have done a tremendous job and are ready to pass the torch to a new group of committee members.
The impact Razzamataz has had on the community over the past 35 years can’t be understated. Kids dress up to attend shows and meet each other outside of school in one of the venues around the county with an undercurrent of anticipation in the crowd. The audience makes up kids of all ages mingling from all schools in the community, including the homeschooled population. In many cases, the adults who take their children to Razzamataz shows grew up in Haliburton County attending Razzamataz shows themselves, and now get to share with their children the joy of live theatre – and also meet up with other parents in a family-friendly environment. Grandparents take their grandchildren for a Sunday afternoon outing that includes lunch out and time spent together taking in every type of entertainment imaginable, from a magic show, live music, puppetry or acrobatics. Sometimes it’s interactive, and a child volunteers to be on the stage, remembered by the crowd that enjoyed their bravery. After the show, the audience gets to meet with the performers up close, see their costumes, the props they used, understand more how it all came together.
We appreciate the arts here, and while all art can be engaging to children, the art that is specifically designed for a young audience, accessible for families without the transportation or income for Toronto-based shows, and offers an atmosphere where parents and families can go out with ease, not worrying about fear of disrupting an audience that might expect a more quiet and calm experience should be celebrated, cherished and continued on. If you can help, please lend a hand – you might just be rewarded with a standing ovation.