Theatre is an unforgettable experience for children. Holding onto the tickets in your hand outside whilst you wait to be shown to your seats, the hubbub in the auditorium, the smell of theatre, like Chanel, nivea hand cream and chocolate éclairs, the silence in expectation….the lights dim, the audience lets out a hushed ‘sssssshhh’ and the curtains open.
What will happen, what will we see?
It’s a wondrous journey into a story with all the senses involved.
Theatre has always been a part of our life perhaps growing up with theatre ‘in the blood’ owing to a history in the arts and of course the family's own independent Little Theatre in Bath. (That's a whole other story) Even Fantastic Mr Fox came by!
Gathering together we put on so many productions to whoever would be around. I recall full productions of Annie, with our cousin Tamarose playing the best version of Miss Hannigan! I still remember the dance routines too! Each Christmas at the grandparents home when every family member would gather to celebrate together... post dinner we would disappear to rehearse our production adapting stories and making up our own often comedy version of the Nativity. It became a tradition and the grown ups would roar with laughter and applause. Often followed by our own laughter and applause when it was time to watch them trying to play charades post a few bottles of red wine!
I think I know every musical word for word song by song! I was the little girl that wanted to dance with Fred Astaire, fall in love with Cary Grant (an affair to remember) and join Don and Kathy in their production of ‘singing in the rain’. Whilst my sisters had a more 80's appropriate crush on Adam and the Ants and Duran Duran (so much was this love they begged for our newborn brother to be called Duran Duran…poor mother gave in ‘Duran’ is now his middle name! – sorry Adam).
Childhood is made of little memories that stay with us, leaving their mark. If there are memories I’d like to fill my childrens' hearts with it would be those that you get from the joy of creative arts. Theatre is a huge passion of mine and I hope that by introducing it into my daughters lives at a young age their appreciation will last and grow throughout their lives, enriching them along the way.
My favourite 8 shows from my 'must see' list this winter:
Lost and Found is showing at the Polka Theatre 12 Oct - 12 Feb
The Snow Queen showing at the Polka Theatre 19 Nov - 5 Feb
Beauty and the Beast at the National Theatre 1 Dec - 5 Jan
Alice in Wonderland at the Little Angel Theatre 20 Nov
showing at Little Angel Theatre from 8 Dec
Peter & The Wolf is showing at The Southbank 29 - 30 Dec
Also showing Hansel & Gretal 16 Dec - 1 Jan
And the Rain Falls Down at the Young Vic 24 Feb - 12 Mar 2011
So book some seats, dress up warm and head out to your local theatre. I'm sure you'll get hooked if not on the love of theatre yourself, then simply by watching through your childrens eyes and revelling in their delight.