If your children are aspiring thespians, eager to show off their latest production, you may find the need to create a makeshift stage for an outdoor theater. While it may seem like a daunting task, this can actually be accomplished relatively easily even without the help of a skilled carpenter. For an informal children’s stage, you won’t need much. See what you have lying around that could be transformed into stage material. First, you’ll need a platform. If you have a deck in your backyard, or a porch, encourage the children to use this since it’s already a slightly elevated surface and you know it’s stable.
If it is a larger production (all the neighborhood kids are getting together to be in the play) or if you can’t or won’t use your existing porch or deck for whatever reason, see if you can find a couple of old box springs. If you don’t want to use your own, drive around town and look for ones that people have set out at the curb for the trash to pick up. These would be great to use since the kids can paint and decorate their stage any way they want. Since a box spring obviously isn’t solid on top, purchase some sheets of plywood from your local hardware store to give the kids a stable surface to walk on (if the box spring idea doesn’t appeal to you, you might pick up some cinder blocks while you’re at the store to use instead).
Arrange the box springs to create the stage shape you or your children desire and place the plywood on top. Secure the boards by hammering in nails at the edges. Once this has been done, the children can paint and decorate their platform.
If the kids want a curtain for their theater, a tension rod or shower curtain rod with an old curtain will do the trick. You can hang the rod from a sturdy tree branch in order to suspend the curtain. Simply take some nylon rope, tie it to one end of the rod, toss the loose end of the rope over the branch, slip the curtain on, and then tie the rope to the other end of the curtain rod.
Seating for the audience can be created from folding chairs, lawn chairs, or outdoor benches. For a more informal, relaxed seating area for guests, towels or blankets can be used to let members of the audience relax on the lawn.
Finally, your makeshift stage will need some final touches. Desk lamps and work lights are great for projecting light into specific areas giving the kids their very own spotlight. The children may also want to make large figures out of cardboard to display at either side of their stage so they have a place for actors to hide when the curtain ‘is up.’
Acting is a great way for children to express their creativity. However, you want to make sure that they are safe while they perform. Oversee the progress in the construction stage of their play, as they will surely have suggestions of their own. Once all safety precautions have been taken into account, offer to become your child’s very own paparazzi to get keepsake photos the family will adore. The summer the kids got to make a stage for an outdoor theater will surely be one they’ll never forget.