Where Every Family Matters

Theater Review: NCT’s ‘Three Little Kittens’ A Purr-fect Experience for Toddlers

This interactive whodunit play for little ones at Nashville Children's Theatre will have you 'feline' good.

Nashville Children’s Theatre
Three Little Kittens
Created and directed by Ernie Nolan
in the NCT Snuggery
Aug. 12 – Nov. 26, 2023
Sat. & Sun. 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.
NCT’s Copeland Studios
25 Middleton St., Nashville
Recommended for ages 0 – 5


“Mmm, pie …” That’s what my 4-year-old kept repeating on the way home from seeing Three Little Kittens, a new show for ages 0-5 at Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT).

The interactive spy play gets kids out of their seats with songs and movement as three kittens — Patches, Pinwheel and Pippa — search for clues to find their lost mittens.

The show opens up NCT’s 2023-24 season and is part of the NCT Snuggery, a series for ages 0-5 featuring smaller audiences (100 limit); an immersive environment; pre- and post-performance experiences; and music, sound and movement.

For NCT Executive Director and the show’s creator Ernie Nolan, the inspiration comes from his own childhood.

“I was originally inspired by the illustrations and colors in my mother’s childhood copy of Three Little Kittens. That inspired the 1930s’ Little Rascals-meets-cats vibe I was hoping for,” says Nolan. “I was also greatly inspired by classic PBS shows like Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Pre-show Activities

My kid was enchanted from start to finish. Right off the bat, the various play stations set up in the lobby had him hook, line and sinker. Some had crayons and coloring sheets. Others had books, building blocks and even a kitchen play station.

After you get settled in, the kittens come out to greet you and the booming voice of Will Henke (the voice of “Patches”) explains some rules before leading everyone into the theater for the show.

A Truly Interactive Show

One of my favorite things about this show is how many interactive opportunities are sprinkled in for the kids to feel a part of the show.

Each child is given a tote bag filled with various little trinkets — a magnifying glass, some toy cheese, etc. — which they can pull out and use when prompted by the kittens throughout the show.

As a parent, a lot of the fun is watching your kid immersed in a live performance. It was amazing to see him singing and dancing along like he was part of the show. At the end, the kittens find their mittens (spoiler alert) as your kids’ spy work reaches a fitting conclusion. The show teaches about meeting neighbors and building unexpected friendships.

For more information, visit the Nashville Children’s Theatre website



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.