FAQ: Attending “Balloonacy” with PreSchoolers

By Kathy Ridenhour, Guest Mom-blogger


Bringing kids to a live event can take a lot of coordination and planning. Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions about visiting NextStop with Kids, specifically about “Balloonacy”, for Ages 1 and up. Have another question? Don’t hesitate to write NextStop at boxoffice@nextstoptheatre.org.

How can I prepare my children for the experience?

This may be the first time your child has attended a theatrical performance. You may wish to discuss with your children the “rules” of the theatre and what they can expect to see and do as theatre audience members, for example:

  • The theatre lights go down (very slightly with Balloonacy) to signal the start of the performance.
  • There will be an announcement asking adults to turn off their phones, and children will be expected to do the same with any games and devices they have brought to the show.
  • Sometimes the actors on stage will encourage you to laugh and interact with them.
  • The whole family can clap and cheer at the end to show their appreciation for the actor(s) and behind-the-scenes theatre makers.

Could the darkness of the theatre be frightening? Balloonacy_Shape_white

The audience lighting will be kept on, but dimmed for Balloonacy. It will be bright enough for young children to see their parents and their surroundings.

Will my children be able to see the stage?

NextStop Theatre is designed so that all of the 114 seats provide a great view of the stage for kids. The kid-friendly elevated seating even allows for smaller children to stand and move around a bit in their row or sit on a parents lap for the best view possible.

Do parents and caregivers pay for a seat?

Tickets are needed for all audience members entering the theatre, small and not-so-small.

Is seating first come first serve or assigned?

All seating at our theatre is General Admission, so when seating starts (about 30 minutes prior to show time), you can choose any available seats in the theatre except the front row. (Note: the Front Row is designated as Accessible Seating for those who cannot climb stairs and may be reserved online.)

How early should we arrive?

Arrive early. Thirty minutes is ideal. If you have time, let your kids explore the theatre. It’s a good idea to use the bathroom before taking your seats, as Balloonacy will run about 40-45 minutes (depending on the amount of audience interaction) and is presented with no intermission.

Can I Buy Tickets at the door?

Yes, you can buy tickets at the door, but we don’t recommend it. It’s $1 more expensive per ticket, and seating is extremely limited. Many of our shows sell out. You can buy tickets online or by phone up to show-time in most cases. (Last minute tickets may also be subject to peak pricing.)

Will my children be engaged by the show? If my child becomes frustrated or over-excited and needs a small break, what can I do?  

“Balloonacy” is a pantomime show, eliciting both the children’s reactions and interactions, and should keep children well engaged. Laughter and exuberant verbal participation are encouraged at these performances(!). However, the lobby provides a quiet area help excited children to calm down, and they can re-join the performance when able.

Are snacks allowed in the theatre? Are snacks provided?

Outside snacks are allowed for “Balloonacy”. We also sell snacks and drinks in our lobby, including options like our Great Harvest Bread Cookies, popcorn, Goldfish Crackers, Fruit Snacks, candy and juice.  Remember: please don’t leave a mess, as it can upset our theatre ghosts!

Is NextStop a peanut free facility?

While we do not serve or sell nuts or products with nuts at shows for young audiences, our facility is not nut/peanut free. We DO sell nuts and products containing nuts at other programming, and we cannot prevent other patrons from bringing nuts and nut products inside the theatre.

Is there room for strollers in the theatre?

If needed, strollers may be parked in the lobby but with our close, convenient parking, it’s probably best to leave strollers in the car.

Any tips on dress?

Casual attire is welcome, but some dress up for the fun of it! To ward off air-conditioning chill, you may want to bring light sweaters or jackets.

Have another question? Don’t hesitate to write NextStop at boxoffice@nextstoptheatre.org