For arts institutions, engaging the younger demographic seems to be on everyone's mind. All eyes are on the twenty-somethings, and while those capricious millennials are important, it's the kids—the seven- to sixteen-year-olds seated next to their parents, still curious and open-minded—who are truly the ones with the potential to become loyal and life-long art fans.
After two seasons of offering Bring the Kids tickets, which are specially priced at $1 (when purchased with a full-priced ticket for an accompanying adult), Met Museum Presents has guided parents towards a fun family night out. And while we can't speak to every child's opinion of a performance (and you know they have one!), we are continually inspired by what concerts are most popular for the Bring the Kids program, and how captivated our younger audience seems to be—embracing even the most complex and contemporary programs.
Met Museum Presents chooses to avoid programming "kids shows." We believe that children can handle the same programs that interest their parents: Reich, Bartok, Stravinsky, Gruber; dance, opera, music—if a performance is dynamic and entertaining, age is generally not a factor.
Bring the Kids has become hugely successful since it began two season ago, creating opportunities for families to attend performances together. During the 2013–2014 season, nineteen performances were offered with $1 tickets for kids, with programs ranging from a rare New York appearance by renowned countertenor Philippe Jaroussky with the Venice Baroque Orchestra, to a new site-specific work featuring spoken text and song by composer Kate Soper. In fact, thanks to the popularity of the program, Met Museum Presents will expand its Bring the Kids offerings to thirty-one performances next season.
Looking back on this season, the most popular performances for families were also, in some ways, the most surprising. Nearly fifteen percent of the audience for I Was Here I Was I, a three-act opera commissioned for The Temple of Dendur this past June, were kids. Over twelve percent of the tickets for the Sunday matinee performance of Gloria—A Pig Tale, part of the New York Philharmonic's inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL, were in the 7–16 age range. Holiday concerts are always popular among families as well, but the most Bring the Kids tickets were reserved for The Crossing's performance of composer David Lang's Little Match Girl Passion—a contemporary choral program—than any of the other strictly "classical" evenings.
So whether it's opera, new music, or site-specific experiences in the Met's galleries, Met Museum Presents loves challenging the idea of what a sophisticated listener and audience member looks like.
Bring the Kids $1 tickets are available for children (ages 7–16) when accompanied by an adult with a full-price ticket on select performances. See all Bring the Kids performances for the 2014–2015 season.