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Good Nutrition Takes Center Stage…Literally

Martin Cathrae, Flickr

 Milwaukee Public Theatre says "Eat Your Vegetables!"

Eating healthy is a common battle between parents and children. Milwaukee Public Theatre’s Out to Lunch may alleviate some of that stress.

The performance, written by Neil Haven, is a series of slapstick and puppet sketches that will teach children through entertainment the benefits of eating healthy. Director Bo Johnson found that telling kids to eat their vegetables turns them off. They need to be entertained.

“Writing something that just says, ‘Listen, kids. Eating vegetables is good for you. This is what you should do and this is why it is good’ is the easiest way to turn a kid off,” Johnson says.

Plus, the show is interactive, allowing children to come up and participate in a quiz show. Once the performance is over, children can interact with the set. There is also a workshop for kids to explore as well as a craft area.

Dr. Barbara Leigh, a founder of MPT, says the inspiration came from what happens to people when they do not eat properly. People lose energy, do not think clearly, and become violent because we feel a lack of control.

Other initiatives have taken steps to reverse this problem. MPT is collaborating with the Hunger Task Force and similar organizations, such as Victory Garden Initiatives, Alice’s Garden, New Life (which was an initiative started by kids), and the Urban Ecology Center, to teach children how to garden and do yoga to create a serene, healthy upbringing.

“As we get kids excited about being outside and learning about eating healthier, we also want to make sure that they learn how food enlivens their movement,” administrative coordinator Katharina Hren says.

MPT, being an outreach theatre company, has established residences in five different neighborhoods to continue on what they are teaching through the sketches. They have been working with afterschool programs and hope to continue once the school year starts.

The next performance will be on Tuesday July 16th at Bryant Elementary Playground at 1 PM.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.