With theatre one of our favourite treats we were delighted to find out the Sherman Cymru was hosting Boing! this half term.
Children back up to full health after using the first half of the break to re-energise the opportunity to stimulate their imaginations could not be passed up.
And the one thing I am learning is that there there are gems across South Wales which know how to put children first. That creating an atmosphere which children benefit from does not have to start and finish the moment they step into the theatre itself.
Having visited the Sherman for a few times over the past year I am always amazed by how much effort is put into keeping children entertained as they wait for the performance to start. There is no standing around waiting for the doors to open, the opportunity to colour and create art to accompany performances is a huge plus to those who arrive with time to spare, for others (like us) who arrive at the last minute having struggled to remember everything (and everyone!) there was no empty foyer to walk through at the end of the performance. With balloons, dressing up, games, and more it was not just a ticket to a 'show', children played, chaos ensued and no-one battered an eye-lid, except to mention the direction for much needed refreshments. (And did I mention? Good coffee. Huge mummy tick!).
|Image Credit: Bristol Old Vic|
And what of 'Boing!'?
Boing! is described as 'exhilarating dance theatre'. It completely is. Like watching Mr J playing squash, I was exhausted watching.
I was brave. I took a four year old and two 2-year olds.
They loved it.
Squeaks thought it was 'really, really funny'.
Tiny didn't like it when they went to bed, he was really upset. Until I explained that we didn't have to go to bed as well and we could watch Wilkie and Joel sleep the same way mummy watches him and his brother sleep. Then he loved every minute.
The boys completely loved the robots (the bit where I was left exhausted).
They all loved the super hero. And I fear for my sheets.
And for anyone whose children are already thinking about Christmas (mine have a list a mile long) this is a great motivator for sleep!
I love that the Sherman does 'proper' theatre.
That probably sounds wrong.
That probably sounds wrong.
I loved taking the children to see Ben & Holly and The Gruffalo. But they know what to expect. It's great, and they love me for it.
Taking them to see theatre can be so much more. And this is where balance can be so good. The children are used to the theatre environment through tv coming to the stage, that stretching their imagination becomes a possibility in this setting.
I love watching their expressions, that commentary is not needed, that they can see things all around and different things will catch their eye and bring their own enjoyment.
I love that the performances are not overly long, there's no contrived interval for sugar intake. The story is complete before ants and pants come to mind.
I love that I can take nearly 3 year olds and they can feel at ease.
Putting children's theatre 'in the round' means everyone can join in from in front of or behind the hidden line.
That there is so much going on that my child constantly chanting 'Boing!' is not in a hushed theatre but in a theatre full of energy where it is not noticed with much more than a knowing nod.
They are enjoying themselves.
So, yes, if you're wondering how to make the most of the remaining days of the half term, if you're looking for a way to learn something new about your children- then definitely try and get tickets to see Boing!