Family events: Arts for everyone

Live arts events stimulate imaginations and sharpen critical thinking skills, but let’s be honest: There’s nothing better than a kid bouncing in a seat, eagerly waiting for a show to start.

The following groups partner with ArtsWatch, and they provide the content.

“Carols” by Nikiforos Lytras, 1871.




As Metropolitan Youth Symphony (MYS) enters its 44th season, it has reason to celebrate. MYS is one of the nation’s largest youth symphonies, with 14 ensembles constituting orchestra, band, percussion, and jazz, and an enrollment of over 500 school age students from the greater Portland metro area and SW Washington. Its 2017 – 2018 concert season consists of three Downtown Series performances at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (Tickets $11 – $40), one concert at the Newmark Theatre (in conjunction with Friends of Chamber Music, Tickets $11 – $40), and 12 concerts throughout the community at schools and local venues (Tickets $5 – $10). Its board and staff are dedicated to MYS outreach programs, community collaboration, and continue to devote time and effort to community impact, equity, growth and education.

Music from the Americas
November 12 – 7:30pm
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Tickets: $11 – $40
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Music Director, Raúl Gómez
Also featuring performances by Concert Orchestra and Interlude Orchestra
» Gershwin: American in Paris
» Gabriela Lena Frank: Three Latin American Dances
» Selections with Mariachi Una Voz and Mariachi Tradición

Jamming with PROJECT Trio
January 7 – 7:30pm
Newmark Theatre
Tickets: $11 – $40
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Music Director, Raúl Gómez & PROJECT Trio
In Partnership with Friends of Chamber Music
» A high octane mix of music including rhythmically charged PROJECT Trio originals and covers ranging from classical to jazz to hip-hop and rock.
» Original PROJECT Trio selections

Arabian Nights
March 4 – 7:30pm
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Tickets: $11 – $40
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Music Director, Raúl Gómez
Also featuring performances by Overture Strings and Vivaldi Strings
» Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
» Commissioned piece by MYS student Katie Palka

Season Finale: Titan
June 3 – 7:30pm
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Tickets: $11 – $40
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Music Director, Raúl Gómez
Also featuring performances by Symphonic Band and the Concerto Competition Winners
» Mahler: Symphony No. 1, Titan
» Concerto Competition Winners




The mission of Northwest Children’s Theater and School is to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of young audiences. NWCT produces four Mainstage shows per year and administers one of the largest theater schools on the West Coast. This season marks its 25th anniversary. All shows take place at 1819 N.W. Everett St., Portland.

Amelia Earhart’s First Flight
Sept. 23-Oct. 15
The Starlings, NWCT’s all-bird, all-puppet acting troupe, return for this imaginative exploration of the airplane. Follow Amelia Earhart on an interactive, puppet-fueled extravaganza as she soars through the history of women in flight from the early airplane to the space program.

Dec. 2-Jan. 1
NWCT’s original, Gershwin-inspired tap musical is back and bigger than ever. Having danced her way through a sell-out run back in 2013, Cinderella returns for the holidays with new scenes, an expanded score, and just a pinch more magic.

Chitra: The Girl Prince
Feb. 3-25
NWCT is thrilled to partner once again with Anita Menon, who co-directed 2015’s smash hit, Indian-dance infused adaptation of The Jungle Book. Featuring epic martial arts sequences and a wide range of dance styles, Chitra tells the story of a warrior princess who struggles to stay true to herself while balancing her responsibility to her people with the call of true love.

Peter Pan
April 21-May 20
NWCT is delighted to close the 25th Anniversary Season with our flagship production. What better way to celebrate our birthday, than with the boy who never grows up! This original adaptation first flew across our stage in 2012, and we can’t wait to re-join Peter, Wendy, and friends as they befriend mermaids, battle pirates, and revel in the magic of imagination.




Oregon Children’s Theatre has been creating extraordinary theater for young audiences for thirty years. They bring great stories to life on stage, with productions distinguished by their professional polish and awe-inspiring staging.

Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt
October 21-November 19, Ages 4+
X marks the spot as Judy and her brother Stink set sail on a nautical adventure to find Cap’n Weevil’s secret pirate treasure. But they’ll have to race their swashbuckling rivals, Tall Boy and Smart Girl, to see who will be first to find the gold! Will Judy and Stink crack the secret codes and spot the hidden clues before time runs out?

Pete the Cat: The Musical
January 20-February 18, Ages 4+
When cool, smooth Pete the Cat moves in with the perfectly normal Biddle family, he rocks their world with his strumming and strutting. The whole family loves Pete, except for Jimmy, the world’s most organized 2nd grader. But when Jimmy draws a blank in art class, Pete takes him on the inspirational road trip of a lifetime!

And in This Corner: Cassius Clay
March 3-25, Ages 8+
Every superhero has an origin story. Twelve-year-old Cassius Clay’s story begins in segregated Louisville, KY, when his bike gets stolen and he meets a police officer who teaches him how to box. Step into the ring with Cassius as he becomes one of the world’s greatest boxers and civil rights advocates, Muhammad Ali.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
March 31-May 13, All Ages
Eric Carle’s iconic creatures from four different stories crawl from page to stage with the help of a marvelous menagerie of 75 magical puppets. Colorful and kinetic, this adaptation captures all the charm of Carle’s original tales and illustrations, while conveying simple messages about the value of creativity, belonging, and growth.

A Year With Frog & Toad
May 5-27, Ages 4+
Best friends, Frog and Toad, have an adventure for each season of the year: sledding down snowy hills, planting springtime flowers, splashing in summer swimming holes, and raking up autumn leaves. Along their way, they celebrate the differences that make each of them unique, but also makes their friendship so special.




Portland Youth Philharmonic, PDX’s locally-grown orchestra, celebrates its 94th season with five exhilarating performances in the historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Astonishing audiences since 1924, PYP invites you to experience live symphonic music like never before, performed by the Portland orchestra that Oregon ArtsWatch rates as second only to the Oregon Symphony.

Beethoven’s 5th
November 11 – 7:30 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

  • Antonín Dvořák: Hussite Overture
  • Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 (Natalie Tan, 2016-17 Piano Competition Winner)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

December 26 – 7:30 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

  • Enrique Granados: Intermezzo from Goyescas
  • Isaac Albéniz: Fête dieu à Seville
  • Manuel De Falla: Suite No. 2 from the Three-Cornered Hat
  • John Williams: Theme from Jurassic Park

Voices of Light
January 26 – 7:30 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

  • A screening of Carl Dreyer’s silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc accompanied by Richard Einhorn’s oratorio Voices of Light
  • Featuring live performances by Camerata PYP, In Mulieribus, three Portland State University choirs
  • Part of the Northwest Film Center‘s 34th Reel Music Festival

Tchaikovsky’s 4th
March 3 – 7:30 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

  • Lev Zhurbin: Current (Portland Premiere)
  • Concerto Competition Winner TBD
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4

Pictures at an Exhibition
May 6 – 4:00 PM
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

  • George Butterworth: A Shropshire Lad (Huw Edwards, guest conductor)
  • Gerald Finzi: Clarinet Concerto (David Hattner, clarinet, Huw Edwards, guest conductor)
  • Soloist Competition Winner TBD
  • Modest Mussorgsky/ Maurice Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition




The Portland Ballet, led by artistic directors Nancy Davis and Anne Mueller, nurtures young dancers ages 3-22. TPB students are trained with professional intent by a faculty that includes some of the nation’s finest dancers and choreographers, and many students go on to professional companies and conservatory programs around the world. Providing professionally produced performance experience has been at the core of TPB training since the company was founded in 2001.

The Enchanted Toyshop by John Clifford
Tourbillon, new work by Anne Mueller
Both performed with the PSU Orchestra, under the direction of Ken Selden
November 24-26, 2017
Lincoln Performance Hall, PSU

  • After last year’s sold-out shows, The Portland Ballet is reviving its holiday hit, The Enchanted Toyshop. The magic begins when two children are accidentally locked in a toyshop, and Pinocchio reigns over a parade of toys that come to life to entertain the guests. Playing cards, poodles, Pierrots, and Russian nesting dolls are all part of the fast-paced fun.
  • Inspired by the look of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Anne Mueller’s celebratory new Tourbillon will be elegant and romantic, with costumes reminiscent of 1950s cotillion ballgowns, including long gloves and tiaras.

May 4-5, 2018
Lincoln Performance Hall, PSU
The academy’s annual spring concert will be a mixed-repertoire program of contemporary and classical pieces. Featured works will include Us by Portland choreographer Josie Moseley and excerpts of Donizetti Variations by George Balanchine. The concert will showcase the skills of TPB’s advanced dancers in the Youth Company and pre-professional Career Track program.

Up Close
June 8-10, 2018
TPB Studio Theatre
In a gala style with many shorter pieces, Up Close will showcase TPB’s pre-professional Career Track dancers and alumni who are now dancing in professional companies and conservatory programs around the country. TPB alumna Caroline MacDonald, now at Nevada Ballet Theatre, will premiere a new work. Last year’s concerts with the Career Track dancers sold out early, and a program a few years ago that featured TPB alumni was incredibly popular.


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