Are your children having a drama-filled summer?

Summer 2019 family-friendly theatre shows in Lincoln

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Theatres are traditionally quite quiet during the summer period when mini audience members are often expressing their dramatic sides on location during their family holidays but this year the city’s arts centres still have a few options for those craving a cultural fix.

LoudmouthAt the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) it’s young people themselves that are ensuring theatre-goers will be entertained.  The centre’s resident youth theatre groups, Shout and Loudmouth, are premiering two new plays written, produced and performed by some of Lincoln’s emerging young artists.  The double bill sees Shout Youth Theatre presenting Phases, “a light-hearted play that explores grief and seeing the world through another’s eyes”.  And Loudmouth Youth Theatre’s performance is On a Roll: The Land of Bogmile, a “role play spoof that celebrates friendship and imagination”.
Saturday, July 27th, 7pm, tickets £5.
Visit www.lpac.co.uk

sammark.jpgIt’s celebrity duo Sam and Mark that will be entertaining a youthful audience at Lincoln Drill Hall.  As seen on CBBC’s Big Friday Wind-Up and Copycats, the pair are taking to the road with a brand new live show this summer including a stop-off at the Free School Lane venue.  The BAFTA award-winning duo are promising “an unmissable hour of entertainment jam packed with sketches, jokes and games in a show full of fun and laughs for all the family.
Saturday, August 10th, 2.30pm, tickets £12.50.
Visit www.lincolndrillhall.com

ElmerTheatre2Over on Clasketgate at the New Theatre Royal its even minier audience members that are being catered for with Elmer The Patchwork Elephant Show stomping the boards.  From the creators of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, the production is based on David McKee’s colourful book series that is celebrating its 30th birthday this year.  “A celebration of individuality and the power of laughter”, the show features 21 puppets, is aimed at age 1+ and has a running time of 45 minutes.
Friday, August 23rd, 1.30pm and 3.30pm, tickets £13 (£11).
Visit www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk
The theatre also has a summer programme of family films including titles such as How to Train Your Dragon 2, Mary Poppins Returns and Wreck It Ralph 2. 

ShauntheSheepThe Terry O’Toole Theatre in North Hykeham is also featuring family-friendly drama on the silver screen over the summer but with a twist.  The unique setting of the venue means it has teamed up with the leisure centre it’s housed in and is offering  visitors Family Film & Swim deals.  After watching movies such as Mary Poppins Returns, Christopher Robin and Shaun the Sheep Movie, film-goers can then enjoy a swim at the One NK centre swimming pool – perfect for cooling down your mini one’s temperatures during this very hot weather too.
August 3rd, 17th, 31st and September 7th, 10am film/12.30pm swim, tickets – film £3.50/swim £2.50 when booked with film ticket.  £2 discount for a family (4) ticket.
Visit www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk 

Celebrity performers will create “warmth and laughter” for panto season.

The New Theatre Royal in Lincoln has announced some of the stars of this year’s pantomime this week.

Running from December 3rd, 2019, to January 5th, 2020, the production of Robin Hood will welcome both familiar faces and new celebrities to its Clasketgate stage.

Barney Harwood - Press AnnouncementBarney Harwood returns to the city as the brave hero Robin Hood.  Last year’s Huntsman in Snow White, the winner of a Children’s BAFTA for Best Presenter will be wielding a bow and arrow this time.

Chris Johnson - Press AnnouncementAlso back by popular demand is Chris Johnson who will play Will Scarlet.  CBBC’s “Yonko” has been a regular in both Christmas and Easter pantomimes at the New Theatre Royal since Cinderella in 2017.  Speaking about returning to Lincoln Chris says, “The thought of once again spending my festive season at the New Theatre Royal makes me a very merry man indeed! In fact, I’m all aquiver!”

Melinda Messenger - Press AnnouncementModel and presenter Melinda Messenger is heading the list of new celebrities due to tread the boards.  Performing the role of Fairy Stardust, Messenger says, “Panto is such a great Christmas theatre tradition that the whole family can enjoy, I really love the warmth and laughter it brings to everybody and can’t wait to work with Natalie and the team at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln”.

Zoe Hedge - Press AnnouncementRounding up the star casting is Zoe Hedge as Maid Marian.  Zoe appeared on The Voice UK (2017) as one half of the duo Capital B, who were chosen to be on Sir Tom Jones’s team.

The theatre’s visitors can expect this Christmas season to be full of laughs, boos and audience participation for all the family to enjoy.  Artistic director Natalie Hayes-Cowley says, “Robin Hood will be filled with high energy dance routines, outstanding vocalists, comedy and, of course, added surprises in the script for those stand out wow moments.  Perfect entertainment for all the family this festive season.”

There will be a signed performance on January 3rd at 6pm and a relaxed performance on December 7th at 11am.

Tickets start from £16.50 and can be booked via the box office on 01522 519999 or online at www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk 

An elephant, a Froojamaflip and SuperKitty

Newark Book Festival 2019

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