Tale of treacherous travels is a theatrical treat

#Blogtober18: Ditty #NationalPoetryDay


“Stick Man lives in the family tree.
With his Stick Lady love and their stick children three.”

StickManTheatreJulia Donaldson’s perilous tale of a morning’s jog gone wrong leapt off the page on to the stage – and around the auditorium – to the delight of a rapt young audience.

Performed by Scamp Theatre at the Lincoln Drill Hall as part of the Lincoln Book Festival at the end of September, Stick Man saw the author’s rhythmic verse brought to life with inventive staging, puppetry and live music in a mix of styles with the space for the child’s own imagination to join in too.

My six year old enjoyed the chase scene around the auditorium as park warden followed dog followed Stick Man and loved the beach ball being thrown through the audience too and my three year old was thoroughly caught up in the drama of Stick Man’s every increasingly hazardous travels that include him being mistaken for a flag pole, a sword and kindling among many other things.

Advertised as “most suitable for children aged 3+ with their friends and families” I wasn’t sure the more darkly lit than most children’s theatre show would capture the attention of my one year old but she loved the sparkly light effects of the underwater and wintry scenes.

Today is National Poetry Day and the theme this year is Change which the tale of Stick Man certainly embodies so, if you have a copy of the rhyming story at home already, it would make perfect bedtime reading tonight!


Is Stick Man being performed near you? Click here to find out.

Would you like to see more Julia Donaldson tales adapted for the stage? 
Tall Stories will present The Snail and the Whale at the LPAC in Lincoln on Thursday, October 25th.
Freckle Productions will perform Tabby McTat at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln on November 4th and 5th.

Has this traumatic celebration of the numerous ways a stick could be used fuelled your desire to go on a collecting spree on a walk through some trees?  My previous posts:
Stick Inspiration
The Stick Book
might give you further inspiration on what your woody haul can be magically transformed into – just make sure they’re just sticks and not Stick Men!


New county visitor website launches on Lincolnshire Day

A new website encouraging people to visit Lincolnshire launched today, helping to celebrate Lincolnshire Day (October 1st).  Visit Lincoln, the city’s “official Destination Management Organisation” tells us more… 


Created by the award-winning tourism team at Visit Lincoln and local marketing agency The Energy Cell, the county website – www.visitlincolnshire.com – has been designed to inspire new visitors to Lincolnshire with striking photos, videos and experiences.

“As experts in tourism we have used the expertise and knowledge of the team to promote Lincolnshire alongside the city,” said Lydia Rusling, Chief Executive of Visit Lincoln Community Interest Company. “We were able to use research into visitor trends with quality visitor experiences to present an inspirational microsite, which aims to boost the visitor economy and increase the performance of the area’s businesses.

“Tourism is a competitive industry and we had to ensure Lincolnshire’s reputation as a place to visit continues to grow. It is essential visitors have a responsive and inspirational website to help them plan a trip to Lincolnshire – the internet is the first port of call for the tourism industry.”

To attract new visitors to the county the website showcases three appealing destinations of Lincolnshire – city, countryside and coast. An interactive map enables visitors to familiarise themselves with the highlights whilst inspiration and experiences are featured across culture, entertainment, heritage, family fun, sport, shopping and the great outdoors.

Talking about the design of the website, Joel Murray digital marketing manager at Visit Lincoln said: “The website has been designed and built to inspire and signpost to a wealth of information across Lincolnshire, helping visitors plan their visit. We are not duplicating content that already exists, but instead providing an inspirational overview of what the county has to offer on one helpful site.”

Lincolnshire County Council is committed to the development of the tourism industry across Greater Lincolnshire, and working with the county’s local authorities, have supported Visit Lincoln with the creation of a new website to showcase Lincolnshire.

“The design of the new website has been entirely driven by the results of the recent research we commissioned,” said Cllr Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development Lincolnshire County Council “This gives us a very clear picture of what is needed to attract visitors to Lincolnshire and the website reflects that.”

The website development has been supported by Lincolnshire County Council, Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, West Lindsey District Council, East Lindsey District Council, North Kesteven District Council, South Kesteven District Council, South Holland Council, Boston Borough Council and Lincoln City Council.

Find out more at www.visitlincolnshire.com 

Where would you recommend tourists visit in the county?  Let us know in the comments below…

Autumn theatre season 2018

It’s not about panto yet – oh, no it isn’t!

The minis enjoyed a dramatic afternoon on Saturday watching the opening show in the Terry O’Toole Theatre’s autumn/winter season, Christopher’s Caterpillars, and there’s plenty more family-friendly stage shows to look forward to ahead of the annual refrains of pantomime and winter offerings.  Here are some of what young audiences can look forward to in and around Lincolnshire in the next few months.

Embassy Theatre, Skegness
October 21 – Milkshake! Live: Starring Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur and more.
Call 01507 613100 or visit https://embassytheatre.co.uk/whats-on/

Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham
HowToHideALionOctober 9 – How to Hide a Lion: Pigtails Productions, Polka Theatre and Oxford Playhouse present an adaptation of Helen Stephens’s book.
October 20 – Monstersaurus: Big Wooden Horse present this adaptation of Claire Freedman and Ben Cort’s book featuring young inventor Monty.
Call 01476 406158 or visit http://guildhallartscentre.com/

Lincoln Drill Hall
StickManTheatreSeptember 28th-29th – Stick Man: Part of Lincoln Book Festival, Scamp Theatre present their adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s tale of a perilous journey home to the family tree.
October 10 – How to Hide a Lion: Pigtails Productions, Polka Theatre and Oxford Playhouse present an adaptation of Helen Stephens’s book.
October 28 – A Frog Called Woanda: Laura and her frog friend Woanda search for a lost ring through a whirlwind of twists and turns that combine dreams with reality, laughter with tears, fears with friendship.
Call 01522 873894 or visit www.lincolndrillhall.com

Louth Riverhead Theatre
October 25 – Stories on a String: Presented by Dotted Line Theatre and Polyglot Arts, Stories on a String brings the mysteries of the Amazon jungle to life through live Brazilian music, songs and puppetry, for ages 6+.
Call 01507 600350 or visit https://louthriverheadtheatre.com/

LPAC, Lincoln
SpotAlienOctober 6 – How to Spot an Alien: What do you do if you think your aunt is an alien? 12 year old Jelly and her cousin JonJo have their suspicions.
October 21 – The Nutcracker: In this classical ballet Clara and the Nutcracker combat the Mouse King and join the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier on a wonderful journey through the glistening Land of Snow to a kingdom made entirely of sweets.
October 25 – The Snail and the Whale: Tall Stories presents Julia Donaldson’s tale of wanderlust and friendship.
Call 01522 837600 or visit https://lpac.co.uk/

Newark Palace Theatre
September 30th – Milkshake! Live: Starring Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer & Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur and more.
October 29th – Tabby McTat: From the book by Julia Donaldson, Tabby McTat is a cat with the loudest of meee-ews and a best friend with a guitar. 
Call 01636 655755 or visit www.palacenewarktickets.com

New Theatre Royal, Lincoln
BingLiveOctober 13th-14th – Bing Live: Join Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they find out how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs. 
November 4th-5th – Tabby McTat: 
From the book by Julia Donaldson, Tabby McTat is a cat with the loudest of meee-ews and a best friend with a guitar. 
Call 01522 519999 or visit www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe
October 27th – Crafty’s Halloween Spooktacular: Come in your scariest Halloween costume and help Sally the Scarecrow solve the mystery of the ghostly goings-on and discover who has stolen the golden pumpkin.
Call 0844 8542776 or visit www.scunthorpetheatres.co.uk

South Holland Centre, Spalding
ButteflieTFOctober 24 – Butterflies: Tangled Feet and Half Moon present this tale of three friends who embark on an exciting adventure to chase their butterflies away.  They cross new seas to unchartered lands, on a journey filled with discovery.  The only trouble is, they are all a bit worried about it.  What if they get wet? What if they make a new friend?  What if they don’t?
November 17 – The Suitcase Kid: Act II Theatre Company present this adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s book following the story of 10-year-old Andy whose parents have just divorced.
Call 01775 764777 or visit www.southhollandcentre.co.uk

Stamford Arts Centre
LandOfNodOctober 18 – A Frog Called Woanda: Told through live action, puppetry, music and shadows, this is a funny and touching story of love, loss and friendship.  Performed n simple French for ages 6-10 years.
October 20 – Land of Nod: Moon on a Stick Productions blend puppetry, captivating storytelling and an enchanting musical score in this starlight adventure.
November 1-3 – Goodnight Mister Tom The Musical: College Players present this adaptation of the award-winning book by Michelle Magorian following the life of an evacuee.
Call 01780 760203 or visit http://stamfordartscentre.com/

Terry O’Toole Theatre, North Hykeham, Lincoln
TinForestOctober 20th – Tom Thumb: CBeebies presenter Patrick Lynch presents a beautifully crafted and imaginative re-telling of the fairytale.
November 17th – The Tin Forest: An uplifting, humorous and touching show featuring puppetry and musical fun, with mechanical birds, live music, a wind-up circus and exotic animals of all shapes and sizes.
Call 01522 883311 or visit http://terryotooletheatre.org.uk/childrens-theatre/ 

Looking for some dramatic entertainment further north?  Click here to find out what Family Theatre at Northern Stage this October there is in Newcastle as highlighted by Debbie from My Boys Club.

Gentle tale of cavies, caterpillars and colourful change

CC2a“They’re so wriggly, they make me giggly and I want to do a wiggly dance” –  there’s not many pets that you can say, or sing, this about but caterpillars fit the bill.

Which is probably a good thing as the larvae are a very good-sized pet for a guinea pig rather than the dog, cat or elephant alternatives Topsy Turvy Theatre sing about in one of the opening numbers of their show Christopher’s Caterpillars.

The minis enjoyed watching the cuddly cavy in the company’s adaptation of Charlotte Middleton’s original title, Christopher Nibble, at the Terry O’Toole Theatre last year.

We discovered and took home two further adventures of the eponymous hero for bedtime reading that afternoon so were delighted to discover they were bringing one of the sequels back to the North Hykeham theatre today.

CC1aThis time Dandeville’s foremost dandelion-growing football player discovers some colourful crawlers in his herb garden and, along with his friend Posie, decides to adopt them.

With the help of cafe owner Mr Rosetti they learn how to care for them and, using some handy imaginary magnifying glasses, the audience gets to watch their progress too – until one day they disappear…

The pair then set out to solve the minibeast mystery, creating some beautiful artwork along the way.

It was no mystery to the very clever audience of course as it seems Luke isn’t the only one to have studied the life cycle of a butterfly at school but the young theatre-goers were persuaded to let the furry friends find out for themselves and their foreknowledge didn’t dampen their delight in the flight the curly charges took following their final transformation.


The gentle tale was interjected with fun, interactive songs that gave the children opportunities to get up and move and the only dampening of the audience came from the water sprays overshoot when Christopher’s friends were watering the plants, growing more excitable reactions.  With the chance to meet the main guinea pig himself and shake him by the paw after the show there’s definitely a few more Nibble fans in Lincoln now.

Hopefully Topsy Turvy Theatre will be back next year with the recycling fun of Christopher’s Bicycle!

Find out more about the theatre’s children’s programme at http://terryotooletheatre.org.uk/childrens-theatre/

Looking for further caterpillar activity ideas?  Click on #30DaysWild Day 8 – Who’s been eating these leaves?

Haunted halls, pumpkin patches and terrifying trains

Halloween events 2018

Putting the boo in peekaboo!

When I was getting upset at seeing all the back to school shop displays at the end of August I turned the corner of an aisle and came face to face with several shelves full of grimacing pumpkins and the thought of Halloween also looming on the calendar left me with a big grin on my face too.

Last year’s Halloween was definitely a cause for celebration in the Malpi household as Faith returned home from hospital following her heart operation just in time to join in the festivities but we’re definitely hoping this year’s run up to trick or treat time will be slightly less stressful.

If you’re looking for activities that are more fun than fearful, there are plenty on offer in Lincolnshire and just across the county border to keep your mini monsters amused.

As always – some events need advance booking, there are only so many pumpkins in a pumpkin patch and, of course, all live (and undead) events are subject to change so be sure to click on the links to check the details and phone/book before travelling.

Do you know of an event we’ve missed?  Tell us about it in the comments or email us at hello@theminimalpi.co.uk and don’t forget to keep checking back in case we’ve found more.

And, if you’d like to find out more about the day’s Celtic roots of Samhain, pop over to Sarah’s The history behind Halloween post on her blog Kippers and Curtains.

September 29:

7pm-9pm: Ceramic Halloween Lanterns, The Little Pottery Studio, Lincoln

October 1:

7pm-9pm: Halloween Witch Gnome Ceramic Workshop, The Little Pottery Studio, Lincoln

October 6:

7pm-9pm: Pumpkin Lanterns Ceramic Workshop, The Little Pottery Studio, Lincoln

October 6-31:

Pick up a Pumpkin Festival, Maxeys Farm Shop, Kirklington, Nottinghamshire

October 7:

10.15am: Sunday Storytime – Monster Stories, Waterstones, High Street, Lincoln

October 12:

11am-8pm: Spalding Pumpkin Festival, Spalding Town Centre

October 13, 14 & 20-31:

Bell’s Pumpkin Patch, Benington, near Boston

October 13 – 31:

PYO Pumpkins, Doddington Hall, near Lincoln

October 17 – 28 (on usual open days):

Pumpkin Rolling and Halloween Trail, Easton Walled Gardens, Grantham

October 19

10am-11am: Toddler time – Funnybones, Hartsholme Country Park, near Lincoln

October 19 – November 4:

Halloween Pumpkin Festival, The Pink Pig Farm, near Scunthorpe

October 20 – 28:

Halloween Trail, Gainsborough Old Hall

Prison of Smells, Spooks and Stories, Lincoln Castle

The Burghley Halloween Trail, Burghley House, Stamford

October 20 – 29:

Halloween Pumpkin Picking, Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham, near Gainsborough

October 20 – 31:

Pumpkin Trail, The Workhouse, Southwell

Scarecrow Competition, Doddington Hall, near Lincoln

October 20 – November 4:

Halloween Monster Hunt, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Nottinghamshire

Haunted Halloween, National Civil War Centre, Newark

Uphill Lincoln Pumpkin Trail, Lincoln

October 21:

10.15am: Sunday Storytime – Room on the Broom, Waterstones, High Street, Lincoln

October 22:

9am-noon: Kids Club Halloween Session, The Little Pottery Studio, Lincoln

9.30am: Harry Potter Magical World Workshop Day, Stamford Arts Centre

10am-11am: Spooktacular Halloween Party, Age 6 months to 7 years, ARTventurers, Witham St Hughs Village Hall

October 22 – 26:

Noon-4pm: Halloween Craft Workshops, Burghley House, Stamford

October 22 – 27:

Spooky Crafts, Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

October 22 – 29 (except 28th):

10.30am-3pm: Halloween Spook Walk & Activities, Bransby Horses, near Lincoln

October 22 – 31

Hallowe’en Half-Term, Tattershall Castle

October 23:

10am & 1pm: Pumpkin Carving, Harstholme Country Park, near Lincoln

12.30pm-2.30pm: Half-term Halloween Cookie and Cupcake Decorating, Lucarlys Sports Bar, Cleethorpes

2pm: Pumpkin Carving, Wolds Words, Louth Library

3pm-5pm: Hero and Villain Halloween Afternoon Tea, The Secret Garden Tearooms, Elsham Hall

October 23 & 24:

10am-3pm: Land of the Dead Craft Workshop, Age 6-11, Wolds Words, The Riverhead Theatre, Louth

October 24:

10am-11.30am: Room on the Broom Event, St Giles Children’s Centre, Lincoln

11am & 1pm: Room on the Broom Storytelling, Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

6.30pm-8.30pm: Halloween Disco, Fun Farm, North Hykeham, Lincoln

October 24 – 27:

Doddington Hall’o’ween: Ghost Hunter, Doddington Hall, near Lincoln

October 24 – 31:

Half Term Halloween Fun, Rand Farm Park, near Wragby

October 25:

Pumpkin Children’s Party, Music with Mummy, Pavilion Bar, Saxilby

9.30am-12.30pm: Halloween House of Horrors Cupcake Workshop for Children, Age 9+, The Back Garden Bakery, Bracebridge Heath Pavilion, Lincoln

10am: Pumpkin Carving, Lincoln Arboretum

10am-11.30am: Kids Halloween Cookie Decorating, The Globe, Cleethorpes

10am-3.30pm: Ghosts and Ghouls at the Museum, Museum of Lincolnshire Life

1pm: Mask Making, Hartsholme Country Park, near Lincoln

1.30pm-4.30pm: Children’s Halloween Cupcake Decorating Workshop, Age 4+, The Back Garden Bakery, Bracebridge Heath Pavilion, Lincoln

2.30pm-3.30pm: Room on a Broom with Rhubarb Theatre, Wolds Words, Louth Library

October 25 & 26:

10.30am-2pm: Glitter Tattoos and Spooky Face Paint, Bransby Horses, near Lincoln

October 25 – 29:

Halloween Trail, Hartsholme Country Park, near Lincoln

October 26:

10.30am-noon: Halloween Slime & Pumpkin Painting Workshop, Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham

6pm-8.30pm: Halloween Roller Disco, Fun Farm, North Hykeham, near Lincoln

October 26 & 27:

5pm-7.30pm: Fright Night Spooky Walk, Tattershall Farm Park

October 26, 27 & 31:

Stamford Family Halloween Ghost Walks, age 6+, meet at Stamford Arts Centre

October 27:

9am, 10.30am, noon: Halloween Slime Workshop, The Little Pottery Studio, Lincoln

11am-3pm: Beauty and the Beast Halloween Grotto, Hildred’s Shopping Centre, Skegness

11am-4pm: Halloween Trick or Treat Day, Bransby Horses, near Lincoln

11am – 5pm: Ghostly Halloween Hall, Gunby Hall, near Spilsby

1pm-6pm: Haunting Halloween, Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough

2pm: Crafty’s Halloween Spooktacular, The Plowright Theatre, Scunthorpe

3pm-9pm: Cleethorpes Halloween Fireworks and Funfair, Meridian Park Showground, Cleethorpes

4pm-6pm: Halloween Party, The Gamekeeper Wacky Warehouse, South Hykeham, Lincoln

6pm-8pm: Halloween Roller Disco, Cleethorpes Leisure Centre

October 27 – 28:

Halloween Trick or Treat Workshop, The Sewing Hut, Cleethorpes

October 27 – 31:

Halloween School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, Belvoir Castle, Grantham

October 27 – November 2:

Halloween Festival, White Post Farm, Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire

October 27 – November 4:

Halloween, Sundown Adventureland

October 28:

10.15am: Sunday Storytime – Winnie the Witch, Waterstones, High Street, Lincoln

11am-4pm: Halloween Children’s Activities and Family Tours, Nottingham Industrial Museum and Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

2pm, 3.30pm: Halloween Slime Workshop, The Little Pottery Studio, Lincoln

2.45pm-5.45pm: Halloween Special, Lincolnshire Wolds Railway

3.30pm – 6pm: Lab Rascals Science/Halloween Workshop, Lucarlys Sports Bar, Cleethorpes

4pm-8pm: Normanby Hall-oween Spooktacular, Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

5.30pm-7.30pm: Spooky Halloween Walk, Elsham Gardens and Country Park

October 29:

10am: Spooky Exotic Animal Encounter, Tattershall Farm Park

October 29-31:

Halloween Crafts and Spooky Finger Buffet, Picnic Stop, Cleethorpes

October 30:

3.30pm-6pm: Halloween Party, Holly Tree Soft Play, Washingborough, Lincoln

6.30pm-8pm: Nocton Pumpkin Trail – Kids Carving and Slime Workshop, Nocton Social Club

October 30-31:

Fuzzy Ed’s Halloween Disco, Grimsby

October 31:

noon-1.30pm & 5.30pm-7pm: Halloween Party, The Party Balloon Shop, Grantham

5.30pm-9pm: Nocton Halloween Pumpkin Trail, Nocton Social Club

6pm: Spooky Goings On, Cogglesford Watermill, Sleaford

6.30pm: Halloween Ghost Walk, meet Castle Square, Lincoln

7.15pm for 7.30pm start: Ghost Walk, start Baysgarth Museum House, Barton

November 1:

10am: Disco Toddlers Halloween Edition, Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham


Looking for Halloween events further north? Visit Yorkshire Tots to Teens to discover Erin’s Top 12 Halloween Events in & Around West Yorkshire 2018.  

Summer of Spies

Family activities at the National Civil War Centre

Photo by Stuart Wilde Photography

Are your mini marauders are already running out of ways to keep themselves busy just one week into the holidays?

Then why not send any sparring siblings to the National Civil War Centre where they can properly hone their skills of devious deception this summer?

The Newark museum’s family activities programme starts today and includes performances full of pretence and cunning craftiness all on an intriguing espionage theme.

Invited to the launch of Summer of Spies earlier this month, our mini mischief makers were immediately absorbed in a task to search for 10 gold coins hidden around the Appletongate venue’s courtyard area.  Their swag could then be swapped for the chance to fire a cannon.  They obviously felt this well rewarded their efforts as they insisted on repeating the task numerous times.

Photo by Stuart Wilde Photography

But when we were finally able to prise them away from their quest for bounty they discovered lots of other ways to become duplicitous detectives.

Apprentice secret agents had the chance to learn the science behind their subterfuge by making periscopes to see round corners, cracking codes and writing messages in invisible ink.

But it’s not just ciphers that need to be secret, identities do too, and the chance to create their own disguises was the choice they made that quickly filled up the rest of their time at the evening event.

Just like last year, the minis loved sampling all the hands on activities that will featured at the centre at different stages of its Summer of Spies but the thing that impressed mummy the most were the friendly, thoughtful and helpful staff who didn’t bat an eyelid at our slightly delayed, divided and disheveled arrival but simply concentrated on getting the minis having fun straightaway.

Summer of Spies runs from July 28th to September 2nd and the centre is offering 20% off admission for families with at least one paying child during this time.

Family Craft Activities:
July 28 – August 5: Seventeenth Century Spy Kit
August 6 – August 12: Locked Letters and Secret Seals
August 13 – August 19: Cloak and Dagger
August 20 – August 26: Hide and Seek
August 27 – September 2: How To Be Invisible

Performances by either Aphra Behn: Mistress of All Trades or The Anonymous Spy take place every day (except Sundays) at 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

Find out more at www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com 

#30DaysWild Day 24 – Texture

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_24We enjoyed a lovely hot day out at National Trust property Nostell today.

We were very grateful to whoever decided to put their play area in the woodland’s shade but it was in the sun-soaked garden and meadow of the “18th-century architectural masterpiece” that so many different textures caught my eye.

If your minis like spotting different textures in nature then pop over to Pinkoddy and print out Joy’s Nature Trail Checklist for You and Your Little Ones.  With seasonal as well as all-year-round suggestions, her list includes a smooth pebble, a soft feather and a prickly pine needle.