Education: Matinees

Access the Arts Education Program

In collaboration, the Sandler Center and the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts Foundation offer a unique cultural experience to teachers, students and homeschool families through the Access the Arts education program. We believe that all children should have access to arts programming, regardless of their socio-economic status. At the core of this educational program are our weekday matinees, chosen with the area's students and teachers in mind. These performances provide many students with their first experience in a world-class performing arts venue, while also providing a fun learning experience to support and enhance the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs). Performances are offered at special student rates, and funding is available through the Sandler Center Foundation for Title I schools in need of financial assistance.



Our student lineup for the 2017-18 season is listed below. These matinees, which are geared toward grades K-8, are each offered at 10:00AM and 12:00PM, and are approximately one hour in length. Student tickets are just $10 each. One chaperone adult seat is offered at no charge for every ten student seats reserved.

Student Matinees for the 2017 — 2018 School Year:

*This performance is part of a special collaboration and not yet open for reservations. Please check back for updates.

My Father's Dragon*
NOVEMBER 20, 2017
Enchantment Theatre Company
Grades K-5
Study Guide Link

Curriculum Connections:
Visual Arts and Drawing
Performing Arts: Theater, Music, Dance
Language Arts: Reading and Creative Writing as Storytelling, (with a focus on the concepts of imagination, creativity, and problem-solving)

When nine-year old Elmer Elevator hears about a baby dragon who is help captive by the ferocious animals of Wild Island, he sets off on an adventure to rescue the dragon and return it home. With talking animals, a daring rescue, a flying dragon, buried treasure and lots of humor throughout, this fabulous adventure is brought to the stage in Enchantment Theatre's distinctive style. Using puppets, masks, inventive scenic effects and original music, Enchantment Theatre is delighted to bring you the story of a compassionate and courageous young boy and his unlikely friendship with a splendid yellow and blue-striped dragon.

Miss Nelson is Missing
NOVEMBER 21, 2017
Theatreworks USA
Grades K-4
Study Guide Link

Curriculum Connections:
Communications and Language Arts

The students in Room 207 were the worst-behaved class in the whole school: spitballs stuck to the ceiling; paper airplanes whizzing through the air – even though they had the sweetest teacher of all, Miss Nelson. But when Miss Nelson unexpectedly does not come to school one day, the class gets the strictest substitute they have ever met: Miss Viola Swamp! The search is on for Miss Nelson, who seems to have vanished. Hopefully the students of Room 207 will find her before it's too late – for them! This lighthearted musical from Two Beans Productions reminds us all to show appreciation to those that we value!

Let It Shine: The American Civil Rights Movement
JANUARY 8, 2018
Bright Stars Touring Theatre
Grades 3-8
Study Guide Link

Curriculum Connections:
Language Arts
Reading: Literature, Informational Texts and Foundational Skills, Speaking and Listening and Language
History/Social Studies

This powerful show brings to the stage pivotal moments of the American struggle for Civil Rights. The Freedom Riders, "Bombingham" and the Montgomery bus boycott are just a few of the key events that unfold before your audience. Key figures and dynamic songs from the time period are welcomed to the stage with an accessible script that provides a great launching pad for understanding this challenging time in our nation's past.

The Lightning Thief
JANUARY 30, 2018
Theatreworks USA
Grades 2-6
Study Guide Link

Curriculum Connections:
Communications and Language Arts
Relationships and Family
Social Studies

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy has ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. Adapted from the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

Nugget and Fang
FEBRUARY 5, 2018
Grades PreK-3
Study Guide Link

Curriculum Connections:
Family Relationships

ArtsPower's colorful new musical tells the story of Nugget, a minnow, and Fang, a shark, who get along swimmingly — until Nugget's first day of minnow school. There, Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget's trust, Fang takes desperate and hilarious measures. Nothing goes as planned. Fang is moping in deep waters when he notices that Nugget and his minnow schoolmates are caught up in some big trouble (and one very big net). Holy mackerel! Can Fang save the day and prove he's a true friend?

Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey
MARCH 22, 2018
Lightwire Theater
Grades K-4
Study Guide Link

Curriculum Connections:
Communications and Language Arts

Marvin the mouse wants to be popular. Constantly bullied and picked on by the "cool" rats, he is labeled as a looser and a geek. As respite from the continuous badgering, Marvin retreats into his science books and a world of fantasy. He longs to have adventures and to be the hero. Join Marvin on the space adventure of a lifetime: a trip to the surface of the moon on his homemade rocket, where he meets a strange cast of misfit creatures, learns of infinite peril and views awesome beauty. Will Marvin make his dreams come true and experience the glory and acceptance he craves? Lightwire Theater is proud to present Moon Mouse, a cosmic adventure about celebrating differences.

Lightwire Theater creates and delivers unique theatrical experiences with their puppetry-based neon creatures that come to life.

ACCESS the ARTS is proudly supported by Annie Sandler, PRA Group, and so many generous supporters in our community.

For questions about matinee reservations, please contact Christine Layne at 757-754-6402 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Reservation forms may now be submitted using our online form. If you have submitted your reservation and have not received an acknowledgment via email about your reservation within one week, please feel free to reach out to Christine Layne.

*The Standards of Learning (SOLs) noted above are suggested alignments. Depending upon classroom activities and exploration related to these matinees, these may vary or be augmented.

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