Valley Performing Arts Center Expands Its Children’s Programming

The Valley Performing Arts Center on the campus of California State University, Northridge today announced the expansion of its programing aimed at children and families.

The first show, in what VPAC officials hope to be a regularly scheduled set of weekend performances, will be “Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid: Live!” on Saturday, March 8, at 1 p.m. “Sid the Science Kid: Live!” marks the first time that families, not just school groups, are invited to enjoy the center’s season programming. Tickets for performances aimed at children and families range from $10 to $25 per person.

“Being located on a university campus, we are fortunate to be able to collaborate with our students to provide extra fun and education to the children who attend our shows,” said Steve Thachuk, interim director of the Valley Performing Arts Center. “During ‘Sid the Science Kid: Live!’ the courtyard outside the center will feature an interactive science fair created by future teachers from CSUN’s biology classes.”

The theme of the show is the five senses. After the performance, children will get a chance to visit exhibits that let them explore their ability to see, hear, feel, taste and smell.

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison hailed the expansion of VPAC’s arts education programming to include more family-oriented shows. She said the programming provides the children an opportunity to learn about the arts and, depending on the performance, other subjects as well. She noted that the “Sid the Science Kid: Live!” show offers additional opportunities to learn about science.

“The more we do in their formative years, the better students they will be in the future,” she said.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander said the expanded arts education programming “could change the lives” of local children.

“We’ve got a world class stage here with incredible performers, who can teach them and get them engage at an early age,” he said. “That’s so important.”

Since its opening in spring 2010, the Valley Performing Arts Center has been committed to providing rich arts education through its school outreach programming. Anthony Cantrell, VPAC’s director of arts education experiences, and a series of visiting artists have held more than 150 special matinee performances and related in-school drama and dance workshops in schools across the San Fernando Valley.

Cantrell will conduct post-opera workshops at several Valley schools and he attended a special performance of L.A. Opera’s “The Prospector.”

Throughout the school year, Cantrell develops resource guides and presents pre-show workshops to prepare the students for shows they will see at the Valley Performing Arts Center. He introduces students to the characters, plots, history, terms, theatrical devices, visual stage pictures, musical sounds and themes of the performances.

He also works with the center’s guest artists to hold master classes for local youth studying dance, theater or music. This spring, master classes for high school and/or CSUN students will be held by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Guitar Passions and the Parsons Dance Company.

VPAC’s arts education program also includes a Summer Arts Institute for Educators. The center hosts a professional development event that helps teachers broaden their strategies to integrate the arts across the curriculum.

The 1,700-seat Valley Performing Arts Center has established California State University, Northridge as a hub for culture and performing arts in the region.

For more information about VPAC’s arts education program, contact Cantrell at (818) 677-8847.

To purchase tickets for “Sid the Science Kid: Live!” visit the Valley Performing Arts Center website at, or call the ticket office at (818) 677-3000. Tickets to the “Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid: Live!” are $10 to $25 each.