At the end of last year we did something as a family that we hadn’t done before.
We all went to the theatre to watch a pantomime.
It was a performance of Snow White and it was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure who enjoyed it most, the grown ups or the children. There were jokes that worked on different levels, with just the right level of innuendo and slapstick humour.
What I really loved though was watching my children watching the performance.
They were so engaged by what was happening on the stage.
There is a real magic in taking children to the theatre, no matter what type of performance they’ll be watching.
I was really lucky growing up, in that my parents took me and my siblings to see all sorts of shows at our local theatre.
My dad in particular is a big Shakespeare fan, so we saw a few of his plays over the years. I studied Shakespeare at school, like most people probably did, and I remember being told that the best way to get your head around his work is to actually go and see it performed.
And that is so true. The language can be really hard to make sense of at times, when you try to just read his plays. But when the words are brought to life in front of you it all makes sense.
My favourite Shakespeare experience though was going to see the reduced Shakespeare company. They perform all 37 of his plays in 97 minutes and it is just brilliant.
It wasn’t all highbrow experiences though.
We also saw some comedians who visited our local theatre as they toured the country. I remember Jack Dee in particular being really funny but not all that appropriate at times to be watching as a teenager with my parents!
There were a few shows that we saw on more than one occasion.
Buddy – the Buddy Holly story was one of these shows that we all absolutely loved. There’s a scene in the show where the band record ‘Every day’, and the drummer is playing his part with his hands, tapping them on his legs, and I still find myself doing it to this day whenever I hear that song.
The one show that will always make me smile the most though is Return to the Forbidden Planet.
I actually bought the soundtrack about a year ago to listen to on the school run and I love belting out all the tracks.
What I love so much about all these experiences that I had with my family, going to the theatre, is all the worlds that they opened up to me.
All the music that I got to experience; performed live and with such joy and passion. The history of classic Shakespeare plays. The breathtakingly immersive experience of shows like Les Miserable.
My children are possibly a bit too young still for most of these kinds of shows but there are more and more child-friendly productions being put on now.
I actually went to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with my sister a few years ago at the Bristol Hippodrome and that’s definitely a show I would take my children to now if I saw it touring again. We’re quite lucky living where we do because we have the Grand Theatre here in Swansea but are also close enough to Cardiff and Bristol that we could take the family to the beautiful theatres there too, depending on what productions are on.
There is so much possiblity when it comes to taking the children to the theatre.
From the big West End shows like The Lion King and Matilda, to productions aimed at really little children like The Very Hungry Caterpillar show and The Snail and The Whale, there is something for all ages and all interests. And they’ll all open up a whole new world of entertainment for the family.
If you want to find out if a particular show is on in your area you can find out here.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post