There’s more to Saturday morning than just cartoons. For more than 30 years a major theater in DC has been hosting completely free shows for children every Saturday morning. For some families, Saturday Morning at the National has become a tradition. With so many shows a year it probably won’t come as a surprise that shows are varied. Kid-friendly versions of Sleepy Hollow and Dickens classics are offered alongside international cultural performances, comedy acts, kid-rock shows, puppets, and more. Most shows are good for four and up, although younger children are welcome.
The show we recently saw, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was very interactive and fun. After the performance some time was set aside for children to ask questions and meet the actors.
While waiting for shows to begin, families wait in National Theatre’s lobby. Once it’s showtime, families are ushered upstairs to see the show. Children can sit on the floor while parents sit on chairs behind the children. Most shows run about 50 minutes. There is a lounge close to the performance area where kids can go for a break if they are having a hard time sitting through the show. Stroller parking is available.
There are two shows each Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Check the National’s website for the schedule of Saturday morning shows. While Saturday Morning at the National performances are free, tickets are required. Tickets are distributed 30 minutes before showtime or you can reserve tickets in advance online. While seating is limited, it’s rare to be turned away. There is on-street parking available near the National. It is also near Metro Center if you prefer to take public transit.
Saturday Morning at the National is an incredible free resource and a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to live theatre.
Although not free, National Theatre also has several other Broadway shows good for children coming up on their regular schedule, including Cinderella, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz.
Photos by Jamie Davis Smith.