An elephant, a Froojamaflip and SuperKitty

Newark Book Festival 2019

Advertisements

Hands up those who had lots of fun at the annual Newark Book Festival last weekend – we certainly did!  And we’ve been heads down with hands busy turning pages ever since re-reading our new addition to the mini’s home library, SuperKitty by Hannah Whitty and Paula Bowles.

With Luke and Daddy at Beavers camp for the weekend it was just us girls that took the bus and train to the Nottinghamshire town to enjoy lots of literary activities.

On Saturday, there was hula hooping, singing, Maisy Mouse meeting and ear-wearing, SuperKitty storytelling, drawing, mask making and face painting.

On Sunday, there was an elephant!  And there was a person made out of fruit and vegetables!  There was painting, octopus crown making, a ball pool, sand pits, a hot air balloon trail, Paddington Bear craft and, of course most important of all, there was ice cream to finish the weekend off with.

As well as a boost to her desire to be able to read all the words herself, Willow also came away from the festival talking excitedly about vegetables thanks to Fred and his friend Froojamaflip.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped us get the pushchair on and off trains and up and down steps in Newark and to all the lovely festival volunteers who helped this very directionally-challenged mummy.

Next year’s festival dates are July 10th-12th, 2020. 

Pass through portals of light into the worlds of your imagination

Lincoln Luminarium 2019

“Enter a dazzling maze of winding paths and soaring domes” 

There are lots of events and activities on offer to keep you and your mini ones entertained this Easter but few can be as sensorily stunning as the return of a Luminarium to Lincoln.

Our minis were guests of the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) for the launch of the interactive sculpture last night which the Brayford venue is hosting for an extra day this year due to its popularity in 2018.

For 2019, the city is hosting the QODLUMIN, inspired by the beauty of natural geometry and by Islamic architecture.

Luke was won over even before passing through the airlock when he was handed a map of the domes as cartographer may feature highly in what he wants to do when he grows up.  As Willow often cites rainbow colours as her favourite colour, an experience that immerses you in radiant light and colour was sure to impress and she made it quite clear that, because she was enjoying it so much, she wasn’t ready to go when it was time to leave.  And I loved that it was as much of an experience for Faith who, as well as enjoying the freedom to crawl around the space, enjoyed spinning under the beautifully patterned ceilings.

Entering through the green portal-like dome was a highlight for me as I felt it immediately transportative but it was the monochrome dome (“inspired by the chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp designed by Le Corbusier”) that Luke was fascinated by and kept returning to.

Visitors are invited “to wander, to lie down, to sit down and enjoy the ambience and the space” – for Luke, he was moved to dance through the interconnecting tunnels, pods and domes which, of course, added a delightful new dimension to the experience for me to see.

An immersive experience in itself it’s also a springboard for imaginations both young and old.  Step into the picture, fall down the rabbit hole, follow the yellow brick road through the looking glass, pass through the irresistibly enticing portal, hack into a digital state of being, ride through a wormhole and find yourself in an otherworldly forest as you’re transported to extraterrestrial territory – the only limit to your mind’s travels is your own creativity.

It’s only here until Sunday so find out more quickly at https://lpac.co.uk/ and www.architects-of-air.com 

Snow White’s strong performances are on trend

SnowWith the opening few minutes featuring a unicorn fairy and a song from The Greatest Showman, New Theatre Royal pantomime audiences will quickly be assured that the show they are about to see is very on trend.

Topical references are littered throughout the production of Snow White including birds that deliver Twitter messages, an X-Factor scene, a sly reference to O2’s recent connectivity issues and an audience-pleasing wrecking ball entrance in the style of Miley Cyrus.

The minis were guests of the city’s theatre for Saturday morning’s performance of the fairytale that included all the traditional elements of such a seasonal show too.

Boasting an all-star cast with X Factor and Celebrity Big Brother star Amelia Lily as the Unicorn Fairy and Prank Patrol presenter Barney Harwood as the Huntsman, we were delighted that CBCC’s Christopher Johnson was returning to the venue as Muddles having enjoyed his performance in the similar role in last year’s pantomime.

SW3

The role of the mystical Magic Mirror was undertaken by a different person or people each time it appeared in an ingenious way to introduce even more, both national and local, famous faces.

SW2Those of us who wouldn’t necessarily recognise the actors from their previous CV entries because our televisions are still stuck firmly on CBeebies can rest assured that each actor throws themselves into their latest stage role with great energy, encouraging as much audience interaction as possible.

And Paige Cook certainly played her part of the Wicked Queen with appropriate venom as my three year old hasn’t stopped telling me how naughty she was and that she needed to go to jail ever since seeing the show.

And there are plenty of other wow moments too – from the dwarfs arrival on a train to the tune of “Hi Ho” Silver Lining, to an aerial silk dancer, to an impressive rendition of What is this Feeling? from the musical Wicked.

SW1We enjoyed the show even more than last year’s production of Aladdin even before we actually ended up in it.  With a couple of children at the last minute thinking better of going up on stage to sing with Muddles, Mummy Malpi enthusiastically volunteered her three year old who was equally keen to take the spotlight.  What Mummy Malpi hadn’t realised is that this year a parent had to go on stage with their child too!  Fortunately for me Muddles was very kind and I’m sure most eyes would have been on Willow, who had borrowed her friend’s Snow White dress to wear for the occasion, and her fellow child volunteer as they confidently joined in with a rendition of 2018’s viral song Baby Shark.

With a narrative that relies on it’s female lead being kind hearted to a fault and being saved by a true love’s kiss, it’s difficult to see how it can be easily updated to portray a  stronger modern woman but a slight twist in the story’s final proposition even ticked that box.

Visitors to Clasketgate’s theatre can be sure of rousing entertainment and a great start to their seasonal celebrations.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs continues at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln until January 6th.  Find out more here: www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk or call 01522 519999. 

Theatrical tale of tails inspires audience to want to take part

img_10341.jpgAlways one to enjoy it when cast members run around the audience, Luke started enjoying a stage adaptation of Tabby McTat even before the characters took to the stage.

It was Terence who made it up the stairs to introduce himself to those seated in the circle and his continuing goofy clowning antics throughout the show confirmed him as Luke’s favourite.

The minis were the guests of the New Theatre Royal Lincoln for Freckle Productions’s late afternoon performance of Julia Donaldson’s musical tale of feline adventure on Sunday.

Willow enjoyed all of the opportunities to join in with the tale of friendship and loyalty and has since been attempting to teach her friends at nursery how to do the special paw shake apparently.

Advertised “for all ages”, Faith enjoyed the “heroic and epic lighting changes” as well as the harmonious songs and mummy enjoyed the inventiveness of some of the staging, including the depiction of the brass band, on the sparse set.

Presented by Samuel Spratt telling his father’s story, the other three actors swapped hats to indicate which role they were performing as the tail tale took us through Tabby’s life from street cat to home cat to cat on a mission to find his friend.

Called up on stage one by one to fulfil Samuel’s storytelling needs, Luke was convinced that the only reason he hadn’t fit the bill of being able to help act out McTat’s journey was his lack of appropriate hat and knowing all the words in advance – cue on returning home him immediately looking for his beloved summer baseball cap mummy had tried putting away for the winter and requesting another reading of the book.  Considering he hadn’t been feeling well before we went, the show fully captured his, and his sisters’ imaginations, and provided all of us with some much needed theatrical magic.

Are Freckle Productions performing Tabby McTat in a theatre near you?  Find out at www.tabbymctat.com 

The next family production to be hosted by the New Theatre Royal Lincoln is pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but there’s lots of fun promised for 2019 too with There Was An Old Lady, Twirlywoos, Wizard of Oz, the Amazing Adventures of Pinocchio, Dear Zoo, Sooty’s Magic Show and The Tiger Who Came to Tea already programmed into the venue’s next season – find out more at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk 

Freckle Productions to perform a purr-fect play

#Blogtober18: X-rays and broken bones

“Tabby McTat was a busker’s cat with a miaow that was loud and strong…”

In Julia Donaldson’s feline tale McTat is purr-fectly happy singing all day long with his best friend Fred until one day Fred sustains an injury whilst chasing a thief and the two are separated.  Tabby finds new home comforts but soon misses his friend.

The cast of Tabby McTat. Photo Credit Robin Savage (3)

Fans of the rhyming story and those who don’t yet know whether they find each other again can enjoy a brand new stage adaptation of the book when Freckle Productions performs it at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln.

The show may be new but Freckle Productions has previously bought Donaldson’s creations to the stage with Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and say “Brought to life on stage with original songs and inventive puppetry, Tabby McTat is a heart-warming story of friendship and loyalty”.

The cast of Tabby McTat. Photo Credit Robin Savage (7) (1)“I have a very soft spot for Tabby McTat, perhaps because I used to be a busker myself, and also because I am a great cat-lover, says Julia Donaldson, “So I’m absolutely delighted that Freckle Productions are going to be dramatizing my story and I can’t wait to see it.”

Suitable for children and families of all ages, the show’s tour is coming to the city venue on November 4th at 1.30pm and 4.30pm and November 5th at 11am and 1.30pm.  Tickets are £14, under 2s free.

Find out more at www.TabbyMcTat.com or book tickets at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

Fortunately Fred recovers from his broken leg and bang to the head but he’s not the only one who’s incurred a hospital stay due to an accident.  For more stories on the theme of X-rays and broken bones click on the #Blogtober18 image below. 

#Blogtober18

 

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!

#Blogtober18

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.