Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dealing with a Difficult Child Volunteer on Stage

comicPerforming for kids is always a unique experience, which can either be a really fun and rewarding or it can be a true test of your patience. Generally children’s shows have lots of audience participation so you’ll end up with all kinds of personality types on stage. Eventually you’ll end up with a kids on stage who just don’t want to behave properly.

I’ve found that these children raise their hand to volunteer to be on stage, but once they’re on stage they really don’t want to help. Sometimes they don’t follow directions intentionally because they’re ‘acting out’ or because they’re nervous, scared, or shy.

If this happens to me I always use the same line. I ask the child: “Do you still want to help? Or would you like to sit down?” You can deliver this line in either a friendly stage whisper if I suspect that the child is shy or nervous, or I can deliver the line loudly in a commanding way in front of the entire audience to demonstrate authority. In either case, one of two things will happen:

  1. The child will say “I want to sit down” or they’ll sit down without saying anything. At this point I can select someone else to come up on stage to finish the routine.
  2. Or; The child will want to stay on stage and at that point they’ve basically agreed to behave properly on stage.

In very rare cases the child will stay on stage but still act up. At that point the only thing you can do is cut the routine short if its something that’s modular, or get to the end as quick as possible so they can return to their seat.

The wonderful thing about this line is that from the audiences point of view, you’re giving the child a choice to either help out or sit down. Whenever I’ve had to use this line I’ve received comments from parents on how well I handled the situation. I hope this tip helps you out next time you’ve got a difficult child volunteer on stage with you.

If you’ve got any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below. As always, don’t forget to ‘like’ and share this post with your other performer friends.

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