Ready, Steady, Yeti! ignites imaginations

YetiHow many festive theatre goers can say they’ve seen a show featuring a sly, upper class, anthropomorphized furry toy dog who is a master of disguise this Christmas?

Thanks to being guests of the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre for the morning performance of Ready, Steady, Yeti! on Saturday, the minis can count themselves among the elite few who have not only been introduced to the cunning canine Colonel Snitterby but have rapped along with him too.

An ode to the wonders of youthful imagination, Ready, Steady, Yeti! follows a young sister and brother as they go on a Himalayan adventure to search for the Abominable Snowman.  Racing against the Colonel to find the legendary creature first, they sail through frozen seas, traverse treacherous terrain and make it to the top of ice-capped mountains without ever leaving their bedroom and making sure they are most definitely home in time for tea.

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The warm-hearted story, supported by original songs and an inventive set, contrasts the ocassional cold heartedness of competitiveness with the fun and success that can be found in teamwork and friendship, revels in wordplay and celebrates creativity.

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All three minis’ imaginations were thoroughly captured by the tale of the hunt for the mysterious not-so-monstrous monster and were even inspired to stage their own performance on the LPAC foyer’s mini platform after the show.  Willow proved that she had been listening during Yeti! when it was stated that all good stories begin with “Once upon a time”.

Taking on board the message that not everything has to be a race is clearly a work in progress however, loudly and proudly proclaiming herself the winner of getting back to the car first on the way home.

If you want to learn how to do the Explorers’ Salute and discover if a Yeti’s favourite food really is spaghetti then you can catch Ready, Steady, Yeti! at the Lincoln theatre until January 5th.  Find out more at www.lpac.co.uk 

Enter a wondrous wintery world but beware of the witch

LionA story that starts with a world trapped in a perpetual winter where the arrival of Father Christmas heralds the return of hope to the land is a perfect choice for a seasonal show.

The minis were guests of the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) on Thursday for the press showing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe following the adventures of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy as they stepped through the wardrobe’s wooden doors into Narnia.

Dark both in storyline and lighting design, the theatre’s production of C S Lewis’s allegorical tale earned the older recommended age suggestion the LPAC’s winter show normally advertises even more so than in previous years (with younger audiences catered for in the centre’s studio theatre production, this year Ready, Steady, Yeti!).

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The production firmly found its footing when the children were treading the snowy  otherworldly realm and the dramatic scenes made use of the company’s trademark strength of its ensemble work.

The War Horse-esque, of the forest with knowledge older than time, depiction of Aslan, the transformative staging and the delightful light relief in Mr and Mrs Beaver contrasting with big murderous scenes featuring discordant music and the towering evil queen all combined to evoke the childhood imagination that was captured by Narnia when first reading the books.

Some, such as my five year old, may need to watch the scarier scenes from behind their mummy’s hand but many, including my seven year old and myself, will welcome the chance to immerse themselves in an alternate world where good eventually prevails, leaving its audiences looking sideways at their bedroom furniture again when they return home.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe runs until December 24th.  Visit www.lpac.co.uk to find out more.

Putting the puns and peril into pantomime

Robin Hood posterGreat vocals, a crowd-pleasing choice of rousing songs, both laugh-out-loud and pleasingly groan-inducing gags that appeal to all family members – the New Theatre Royal’s latest pantomime is sure to win over all members of its seasonal audiences this year.

Opening with a series of bread puns and a Queen medley, Robin Hood isn’t a first glance a traditional choice for a panto but the Lincoln theatre’s production based on the regional legend has all the elements fans of the annual family entertainment will expect and more.

Robin Hood - Press Image 1 (Credit Caroline Keyworth)

My four year old and I were guests of the Clasketgate venue for Wednesday evening’s show and enjoyed characterful performances, energetic dances and numerous opportunities for audience interaction.  Mummy’s favourites were Will Scarlett’s series of tree jokes and the If I Were not in Pantomime comedy song.

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The actors portrayals of their various predicaments were clearly very engaging to my four year old who was extremely invested in all the performances and almost found the mild peril of the second half’s dungeon scene too much to bear.  Fortunately our titular hero saves the day, of course, and Willow was soon up and joining in with all the celebrations of the finale.

The meet and greet after the show further made my mini star struck one exceedingly happy and I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the cast for how lovely they were with her.  It even given her the chance to meet the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham and discover that, off stage at least, he’s actually really nice.  Although she’s still convinced that “all the bad guys are on the naughty list”.

On Friday night, it was the turn of Daddy and our seven year old to join his Beavers group trip to see the show.  They not only thoroughly enjoyed the heroics and amusements of the medieval tale but the eldest mini also got to join in the fun himself being invited to take to the stage with Nurse Nora and Will Scarlett and lead the audience in a rendition of the song Robin Hood accompanied by his signature dance moves.

Does Robin Hood hit the target as a great way to start your festive season?  Oh yes it does!

Robin Hood continues at the New Theatre Royal in Lincoln until January 5th.  Click here to find out more or call 01522 519999.  

Enjoy festive family fun whilst picking out presents

FandGParents will be trying all sorts of different ways to complete their Christmas shopping once again this festive season.  Alongside finding further childcare to keep them well away from the excitement of decorated and overheated stores to ordering everything online, mums and dads can also choose to attend an event that concerns itself as much with the enjoyment of its little visitors as it does with the selection of presents their grown ups have to choose from.

The Lincolnshire Food and Gift Fair is returning to the Lincolnshire Showground this month.  With more than 8,000 people expected to attend, advance tickets for the Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st event are now on sale.

Doors are open from 9am to 4pm on both days to allow customers to browse the more than 150 exhibitor stands showcasing the county’s finest foods and unique gifts but there will also be plenty of activities to keep little ones busy.

Cookery workshops hosted by 42nd East Bakehouse, a reindeer food bar, pet bandanas designing workshop with Zukie Style, Christmas pottery painting with The Little Pottery Studio, willow weaving with Lincolnshire Willow and storytelling from Lincoln Performing Arts Centre will all be waiting to help mini participants to start their festive fun.  Hobbycraft Lincoln will also be giving children a chance to make festive wrapping paper and design their own Christmas cards.

Jayne Southall, CEO at Lincolnshire Showground, said: “Preparations are well underway for the Food and Gift Fair, and we are getting ready for this year’s Fair to be the best yet! It is a fun festive event to suit all ages and tastes, including foodies, families and Christmas shoppers and is guaranteed to get everybody in the Christmas spirit.

“Visitors will be able to sample the best of Lincolnshire produce, including famous pork pies, speciality cheese, wine tasting, locally distilled gin, chocolate, fudge and much more.

“There will also be free activities for children including hands-on-crafts, Christmas storytelling and baking activities and we also have a few more surprises rolled up our sleeves!”

Tickets for the Fair can be bought at £5 each (plus postage) in advance and are £6 on the gate.  Under fives go free when accompanied by an adult.

Visit www.lincolnshireshowground.co.uk/whats-on/event/foodandgift19 for more information about #FoodandGift19 or call 01522 522900.

Are you visiting one of Santa’s helpers this year?

Christmas 2019

As Halloween’s witching hour ticked by did your avid trick or treaters wake up instantly transformed from creatures of the night into overly-enthusiastic apprentice elves?

Whilst some might be momentarily distracted by the promise of a few flashy fireworks many will already be anxious to start opening Advent doors even though there’s a month to go until the start of the official countdown to the big day.

If finding out what’s on your mini ones’ not so mini Christmas wish lists in time for you to possibly be able to fulfill it on behalf of the man in red then get them booked in early for a special seasonal experience and be prepared to take notes surreptitiously.

The list below predominantly includes grottos but if quantity is what your child is after, or the chance to don the beard themselves, then don’t forget there’ll be a sea of red and white at the county’s Santa Fun Run and Walks including Belvoir Castle (December 1), Wyndham Park in Grantham (December 1)Lincoln (December 15) and Cleethorpes Santa Stride (December 15).

As always, live events can be subject to last minute changes and selling out so be sure to check booking details before you travel and before making any promises to little believers (second edit for Bransby Horses – the equine welfare chairty near Lincoln has been severely affected by flooding and has now had to cancel all its seasonal events unfortunately – it is still asking people to please still visit its gift shop and cafe though, find out more here)

If you know of one we’ve missed, then please email hello@theminimalpi.co.uk with the link and I’ll be happy to add it or let us know where you’d recommend in the comments below.

November 2, 9-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30 and December 1-24:
Santa’s Grotto
Brigg Garden Centre

November 2 – December 24:
Winter Wonderland
Baytree, near Spalding

November 23-24, 30 and December 1, 8-9, 14-24:
Santa Grotto
ARK Wildlife Park, Stickney

November 23 – December 23:
The Real Christmas Experience
Rand Farm Park, near Market Rasen

November 23 – December 24:
The Springfields Grotto
Springfields, Spalding

November 24:
Christmas Charity Fayre
Rhys’ Donation Foundation, Cherry Willingham Village Hall

November 24:
Meet Santa!
Cheeky Monkeys, Guildhall Street, Lincoln

November 29:
Santa’s Grotto at Christmas Light Switch On Event
Old School Hall, Winterton

November 29, 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 and 21-24:
Santa’s Workshop Grotto
Hildred’s Shopping Centre, Skegness

November 29 – December 24:
The North Star “Narnia” Experience
The Pink Pig Farm, near Scunthorpe

November 30:
Sleigh Ride Through Spilsby
Spilsby

November 30, December 1, 7, 8 and 14:
Santa’s Grotto
Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe

November 30, December 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20-24:
Father Christmas and Friends
Belton House, near Grantham

November 30, December 1, 7, 8 and 15:
Father Christmas Grotto
Fillingham Trees, near Gainsborough

November 30, December 7, 14 and 21:
Santa’s Grotto
Oldrids, Scunthorpe

December 1:
Christmas Extravaganza
Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln

December 1:
Photo with Santa
Tiny Feet Studio, Nettleham

December 1:
Santa Paws Christmas Extravaganza
The Pavilion, Sidney Sussex Recreation Ground, Cleethorpes

December 1 – 22:
Father Christmas
Doddington Hall

December 7:
A Victorian Christmas
Wellingore

December 7:
Breakfast with Santa
Jolly Scotchman, Sleaford

December 7 and 8:
Christmas on the Farm
Bluebell Wood Goats and Farm Shop, Nettleham

December 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22:
Tea with Santa
Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, near Skegness

December 7-8, 14-15, 21-24:
Breakfast With Santa
Harvester, Brayford, Lincoln

December 7, 14 and 21:
Breakfast with Santa
Uncle Henry’s, Grayingham

December 7, 14 and 21:
Breakfast with Santa
Captain Kids Adventureworld, Skegness Pier

December 8:
Christmas Fayre
Ruskington Village Hall

December 8:
Glentworth Christmas Fayre
Glentworth Village Hall

December 8 and 15:
Santa Special
North Scarle Miniature Railway

December 13:
Christmas Extravaganza
Sutton on Sea

December 14:
Breakfast with Santa
Whisby Natural World Centre

December 14:
Children’s Christmas Party
Willingham Village Hall

December 14:
Umbrellas Christmas Party
Dunholme Village Hall

December 14-15 and 19-22:
An Audience with Father Christmas
Lincoln Castle

December 14-15 and 21-22:
Santa Specials 2019
Lincolnshire Wolds Railway, Ludborough

December 14-15 and 21-23:
Breakfast with Santa
Skegness Aquarium

December 21:
Christmas Party
Captain Kids Adventureworld, Skegness Pier

Plump, orange and spooky – the ceramic pumpkin search returns!

Lincoln’s uphill Pumpkin Trail challenge is back for its second year this autumn.

The free half-term activity challenges families to track down quirky ceramic pumpkins hidden the windows of the city’s uphill shops and other businesses and has once again been devised by a partnership of the Bailgate Guild, Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln, tapping into the artistic talents of staff at The Little Pottery Studio.

There’s plenty to play for too, because your family could win anything from gift vouchers to an afternoon tea or coffee experience, cuddly toys or a book voucher.

The Pumpkin Trail leaflet includes 29 pottery pumpkins to find as well as some fiendish clues to solve.  The pumpkins will be in the windows of shops and other businesses in the area which stretches from The Strait to Newport Arch.

Many ceramic pumpkins have been individually painted, including those which have been decorated by Lincoln Minster School pupils and the trail area will be easy to spot with the hanging of black and orange bunting on the streets.

Running from Saturday, October 19th, to Sunday, November 3rd, families can pick-up a trail leaflet from the city’s Visitor Information Centre in Castle Hill or participating shops and businesses or download it from www.visitlincoln.com/pumpkintrail.

Completed leaflets can be left with one of the shops taking part in the trail or posted to the Visitor Information Centre, 9 Castle Hill, Lincoln, LN1 3AA. They must arrive before midnight on Monday, November 11th, 2019.

Visit Lincoln’s Chief Executive Mike Timson said: “As a Partnership organisation it’s great to work with 29 businesses and Lincoln BIG to provide another reason to come into Lincoln over half term and in the lead up to Halloween.  The trail will help visitors find shops, pubs, and tea rooms they might not have visited before and will be a fun and active family activity to enjoy in the city.”

Bailgate Guild Chair Nicola Lockwood said:  “We are thrilled to be supporting this year’s Pumpkin Trail.  All the businesses involved are pleased to sponsor this event and they have donated a spectacular range of prizes for the winners.  We’re sure it is going to prove to be more popular than ever.”

Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Sarah Loftus said: “We are very pleased to be a partner in this event.  We know that everyone really enjoyed the Pumpkin Trail last year and we think this attraction will bring many more people to the uphill area this time around.”

Find out more at www.visitlincoln.com/whats-on/uphill-lincoln-pumpkin-trail-2019

The most magical panto of them all…

A spectacular royal carriage and a unicorn will be flying into the Lincoln Drill Hall this Christmas.

After last year’s sell-out production, Jamie Marcus Productions is delighted to be returning to the Free School Lane arts centre from December 6th, 2019, to January 4th, 2020, with this season’s show, Cinderella.

The production promises a fabulous traditional pantomime, packed full of well-known songs, fantastic comedy and spectacular special effects.

James Campbell returns by popular demand as one of the ugly sisters Lady Domestos and he’s looking forward to it: “I’ve performed in over 25 pantos now all over the country and since 2012 at Lincoln Drill Hall,” says James.

“It is always the highlight of my acting year! I love coming to Lincoln over Christmas and the productions at the Drill Hall are always special.

“Who can forget the Red Arrow in 2017 or Peter Pan flying over the audience heads last year?

“The panto is always packed with fun and frolics for everyone; sweetie throw-outs, singalongs, kids up on stage, the John Lewis skit, and of course the incredible special effects.  Last year we played to nearly 15,000 audience members and each year the productions get more spectacular.  I can’t wait for Cinderella to start!”

Tickets to see all your favourite characters, including the beautiful Cinderella, the Ugliest of Sisters, the magical Fairy Godmother, the lovable Buttons and the handsome Prince Charming, start from £12.

Call the Lincoln Drill Hall box office on 01522 873894 or visit www.lincolndrillhall.com/cinderella for further information.