#TheatreFirsts

My first memory of going to the theatre was on a school trip when I was about 6 years old.  We went to the Polka Theatre to see The Voyage of the Dawntreader. The details of the actual day are non-existent, but the fact that I remember the visit over 30 years later proves that it was a special, and memorable, experience!voyage of the dawntreader

Think about your first experience – what did you see? A play, a musical, a ballet, the panto, a puppet show or even a magic show?  Whatever it was, odds on are that you have a memory of it.  It’s so important that we create and build those same experiences and memories for our children, and in taking them to see a show (or two), hopefully we will achieve that! Particularly now, in this digital age, many believe that it’s even more important to encourage experiences that go beyond the use of phones and tablets!

I recently asked on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for people to share their first theatre experience. Here are some of the responses –

tf

twitter Took my daughter to see a puppet show and at the end of every scene she enthusiastically shouted BYE BYE to everyone on stage

twitter We took the kids to @TheAlbanySE8 to see their first play. We go there a lot!

twitter We took my daughter (4 at the time) to see The Tortoise and the Hare ballet. It was fab. 25 mins long so no bored, fidgety children

twitter  Starlight Express when I was 8. Totally blew me away!

twitter I remember seeing Babes in the Wood when I was 4. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be there

twitter Took my daughter aged 3 to a My First Ballet Cinderella; she wore a massive tutu & went to the loo 4 times! But loved it!

fb We took the girls to the Hackney Empire last Christmas to see Sleeping Beauty Panto. It was great they absolutely loved it and so did we

fb Our first with our girl was the Cinderella – my first ballet. Brilliant show and miss enjoyed most of it (only missing the bits when she was lying down for a feed)!

insta I recently took my 3 year old to his first show in Wimbledon called The Tiger Who Came For Tea 🐯 and he absolutely loved it! 😍

insta My first memory of the theatre as a very young child is going to the pantomime at Bradford Alhambra! First west end show was Grease with Shane Ritchie and Samantha Janus playing Danny and Sandy- how nineties! First show I took my daughter to was tiger who came to tea!

Theatre helps us, and our children, to learn.  It places us in situations which teach us about people, places, and events we may not have otherwise experienced.  Simultaneously fuelling imagination and encouraging creativity – both essential in helping our children to learn and develop.

It is so lovely hearing about people’s experiences, especially when they are such fun and positive memories! Do you remember yours? 

What’s on this month – October

Whats on SW19 (1)

Wimbledon/SW19 

DATE SHOW THEATRE
Now until 12 November  

Hansel & Gretel (Sunday afternoons)

 

Merton Arts Space (performed by The Colour House Children’s Theatre)
Now until 5 November  

Rapunzel

 

Colour House Children’s Theatre
28 October Little Folk with Albo Colour House Children’s Theatre
 

Now until 15 October

 

Child of the Divide Polka Theatre
6 – 8 October In a Nutshell  

Polka Theatre

 

18 Oct – 29 October My Brother, My Sister, and Me Polka Theatre
20 – 22 October Friends for all Polka Theatre
25 – 29 October Little Red Riding Hood Polka Theatre
2 – 7 October Flashdance New Wimbledon Theatre
 

 

Surrounding Areas / Further Afield

DATE SHOW THEATRE
10 – 14 October Joseph and the Amazing Colour Technicolor Dreamcoat

 

Richmond Theatre
13 October The Frog Prince Punked (Age 14+) Omnibus Theatre
15 October Dr Seuss’s The Lorax The Old Vic
21 Oct – 7 Jan ‘18  Stick Man Leicester Square Theatre
24 – 28 October  The Hunting of the Snark (Age 4+) Rose Theatre

 

 

Performing Arts in SW19 – Clubs and Classes

performing arts

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a ‘beginners guide’ to some of the drama,  music and dance clubs for children in Wimbledon and around! Some I have first hand experience of (*highlighted), others I have read good things about.  Most offer trial classes so there is an element of trial and error until you find the right place for you and your little one.  So to start..

THEATRE CLUBS AND CLASSES 

Perform*

Perform

My eldest daughter went to after school classes when she was in reception.  The weekly lessons really brought her out of her shell, and she enjoyed liveliness of the classes, and the very serious costume requirements for the shows! Lessons and terms are themed, and from what I remember – energetic and (most importantly) lots of fun. Trial available.

Perform Wimbledon, Mansel Road Centre, SW19 4AA

 

Stagecoach* 

stagecoach

With 3 locations in Wimbledon, this is another popular Performing Arts School.  My daughter did a holiday workshops a few years ago and was a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz – impressive considering they only had a week to put on a show, with a range of ages! Again, a very professional school offering a 2 week trial (chargeable).

Stagecoach Wimbledon, Bishop Gilpin School, The Mansel Road Centre, and New Wimbledon Theatre

 

Polka Theatre

polka

The very famous SW19 children’s theatre runs a weekly drama club and youth theatre for ages 5-14.  Using storytelling, movement and imaginative games for the younger children, moving onto mask, puppetry, mime and physical theatre for the older children.  More serious expert drama training for the youth theatre.

Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, SW19 1SB

 

Jigsaw Performing Arts

Jigsaw-Est-logo-POS

Drama, Singing and Dance – weekly weekend classes for 3 year olds up to 18 year olds.  Every Sunday at Ricards Lodge High School. 2 week (chargeable) trial.

Jigsaw Performing Arts, Ricards Lodge High School, SW19 7HB

 

Razzamataz Theatre School

raz

Based near Southfields station, this school teaches singing, dance and drama for 2-18 year olds. The company successfully appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2007! Free taster available.

Razzamataz Theatre School, St Cecilia’s School, Sutherland Grove, SW18 5JR.

DANCE

Village School of Dance*

villagw

A well established dance school in Wimbledon Village.  Very popular and well loved by the little ones.  Ballet, modern and tap for 3 – 11+ year olds.

The Village School of DanceThe Village Hall 26 Lingfield Road Wimbledon, SW19 4QD

Tippy Toes Ballet*

Based in Hillside Church on Worple Road, a lovely ballet school for ages 2-6.

Tippy Toes Ballet, Hillside Church, 37 Worple Road, SW19 4JZ

 

Kuntals Bollywood Dance

From their website – a wide range of dance courses for adults and children from Bollywood to Bhangra Masala right through Classical fusion to Street dance. Based in the Mansel Road Centre for ages 4 – 13+.

Kuntals Bollywood Dance Company, The Mansel Road Centre, Trinity United Reformed , Church, SW19 4AA

 

Rosie Chesson Dance and Fitness 

rc

Street Dance for ages 2-9+ Lessons take place in Raynes Park at The Lantern Arts Centre.  The little ones will learn Locking, Popping, House, Hip-Hop and Breaking!

Rosie Chesson Dance and Fitness, The Lantern Arts Centre, Tolverne Road, Raynes Park, SW20 8RA

MUSIC

Monkey Music

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With a few sites in Wimbledon, this is a wonderful class for ages 3 month – 4 years. My son absolutely loves his weekly class, and it has fully cemented his love of anything monkey related.  The classes are lively, and the songs are catchy. Trial available.

Monkey Music, different sites in Wimbledon

Caterpillar Music*

caterp

My daughter went to this class for a couple of years.  They take place in the Mansel Road Centre, and usually have a weekly theme so the little ones can bring in a book or toy, or even dress up! Trial available.

Caterpillar Music, The Mansel Road Centre, Trinity United Reformed , Church, SW19 4AA

 

Gymboree Play and Music

gymboree

All my children have been to Gymboree, in Wimbledon and abroad! There are 2 sites in Wimbledon – in the shopping centre and in Tots Landing.  A variety of classes, but all with catchy tunes and experienced, fun teachers. Trial available, and runs through the holidays.

Gymboree Play and Music, Tots Landing Play Café, Broadway Court and Centre Court Shopping Centre


 

So there’s a little starter for you if you’re looking for something performing arts related in Wimbledon.  If you have any feedback about any of the classes then please make comments below. Would love to hear about your experiences!

xxx

A Week Without Television

 

notvSo, the title is a little misleading..I didn’t completely ditch the television for the week, I actually believe that a bit of TV now and then isn’t too bad.  But, I do think there is a balance to be found, and last week I decided to attempt to do something creative and fun with the kids other than defaulting to CBeebies every day! Results below..

DAY 1 MONDAY

We have an overflowing craft box in our house so we pulled out glitter, glue and paper plates to make panda masks –img_6092-1

DAY 2 TUESDAY 

With 3 children, we have been lucky enough to have received lots of presents over the years.  So many in fact, that I’m ashamed to say sometimes they are tidied away into the toy cupboard never to be seen again! Today we pulled out something sparkly and My Little Pony related which I have to admit even I got a little obsessed with..my little pony

DAY 3 WEDNESDAY 

Today we had a search and found a jewellery making kit – again banished to the back of the cupboard..jewellery box

DAY 4 THURSDAY

We made a mad dash from nursery and jumped straight on the tube to head to The Natural History Museum for a bit of lunch and a visit to the dinosaurs! Sadly T-Rex was out of action but there was still plenty to see!dinos1

DAY 5 FRIDAY 

Friday is a lovely nursery free day so we got dressed into our best conker collecting outfits (i.e. Frozen costume) and headed up to Wimbledon Common! conkers1

 

All in all the week was a success! It was especially nice to have the museum as a planned event as we’re usually quite a last minute household – and very much tied down to a strict school/nursery run/baby class regime! I also managed some quality one on one time with my middle child which can easily be forgotten, and which I know we both appreciated!

So there it is, a week without (too much!) TV.  Hopefully there’s a bit of inspiration above for activities as the days start to get shorter and little more chilly!

ENJOY xxx

What’s on this month – September

Whats on SW19 (1)

Wimbledon/SW19

DATE SHOW THEATRE
2 September – 5 November Rapunzel (Sat & Sun)  

The Colour House Theatre

 

8-10 September The Tiger Who Came to Tea  

New Wimbledon Theatre

 

10 September – 12 November  

Hansel & Gretel (Sunday)

 

Merton Arts Space (Resident Colour House Children’s Theatre)
29 September -15 October Child of the Divide  

Polka Theatre

 

30 September  – 1 October Handa’s Surprise  

Polka Theatre

 

Surrounding Areas / Further Afield

DATE SHOW THEATRE
Until 10 September What the Ladybird Heard Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue
6 -16 September The Night Pirates  

Rose Theatre

 

17 September Mr Maker and the Shapes  

Richmond Theatre

 

24 September Me Omnibus Theatre

Crafty Summer

pencil-2427207_960_720

With 3 children of my own I’ve been trawling the internet and social media for those quick and easy winning craft activities to do at home this summer.

So, scissors and glue sticks at the ready and take a look at these top picks!

SUPERHERO CAPE

I found this on Kidspot ,one of my favourite Instagram pages. So easy, and all you need are old t-shirts! Step by step video here –

CRAFT STICK PUPPETS

We always have an abundance of craft sticks in our cupboard, but I have seen them all over Amazon too.  These are really easy to make and very gratifying once done. Also good for putting on an afternoon puppet show!

  1. Paint the craft stick
  2. Add buttons, beads, felt, and googly eyes with glue.
  3. Draw on nostrils or other details, and decorate as you wish!
craft-stick-farm-animals-5

PAINTED ROCKS 

One of the easiest things to do each summer is to collect rocks from the beach andRockskeep a stash at home. Then when we’re stuck for something fun to do during the holidays we pull them out and decorate!  If your kids are feeling creative they can make them into different animals /insect/monsters..

 

GLITTER SLIME

MOST. FUN. EVER This has got to be one of the biggest successes in our house, and my own personal favourite!  It did involve the use of Amazon Prime for a bag of starch (who uses starch?!), but once it arrived we were good to go!

INGREDIENTS

  • 150mls of clear glue
  • Food colouring
  • Glitter
  • Warm water (200 mls per 150 mls of glue)
  • Laundry starch (Around 80g)
  • Extra water for starch mixture
  • A bowl and stirrers
  • Jugs for mixing starch and water
  • Jar to store the slime in

METHOD

  • Measure out 150 mls of glue into a bowl.  Add the food colouring and glitter.
  • Add 200mls of warm water.Adding the colour to the glue - UK Slime Recipehttps://someonesmum.co.uk
  • Make up a jug of starch mixed with water. You will need very roughly 40-80 g of starch. Mix the starch with water, using roughly two parts water to one part starch.
  • Pour the starch mixture, very slowly, into the glue, stirring as you go. The mixture will get white ‘strings’ in it and appear to go lumpy.
  • Keep stirring and adding the starch mixture until a ‘ball’ of white stringy stuff starts to form. At this point, it is best to get in with your hands and start kneading and manipulating the glue with your hands until it comes together.Eventually, the white lumps and string-like texture will disappear and you will be left with smooth slime. The more starch you add, the firmer the final slime will be. Add the starch very slowly as it changes quite quickly!

Theatre Kids SW19’s own finished products!!

 

Enjoy getting messy!

xxx

What’s On This Month – August

Whats on SW19 (1)

Wimbledon/SW19

DATE SHOW THEATRE
16 June – 20 August The Borrowers (5-11 years) Polka
7 July – 27 August Hatch (2-5 years) Polka
1 August The Velveteen Rabbit The Colour House Theatre
4-7 August Alice in Wonderland (Age 5+) The Rose Garden, Morden Hall Park Outdoor – Sixteenfeet Theatre
15-19 August The Importance of Being Earnest New Wimbledon Studio Theatre
25-26 August Bugsy Malone New Wimbledon Theatre

 

 Surrounding Areas / Further Afield

DATE SHOW THEATRE
17 July – 5 August Oliver Twist (Ages 6+) Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
22 July – 28 August The Wind in the Willows (Age 3+) Kew Gardens
29 July – 28 August The Dream Fairies: An Adventure Through Bubble Land (Age 3-8) Kew Gardens

 

26 July – 20 August Fantastic Mr Fox (Ages 6+) Lyric
3 August – 3 September We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Age 3+) Cadogan Hall
7-8 August Outside the Box (Ages 4-7) Little Echo Theatre Company – Putney Arts Theatre
18-20 August The Gruffalo LIVE Richmond Theatre
24 August Pride and Prejudice Illyria Theatre – Fulham Palace 
29 August – 3 Sept The Railway Children Richmond Theatre

 

Top Tips for Taking Children to the Theatre

Following our (successful!) trip to Cinderella: My First Ballet last week, here are a few tips for taking children to the theatre..

  1. Children always get more out of a show if they know the storyline. Read the book or play with them beforehand. Some shows have trailers online – let them watch them so they know what to expect.  Talk about the plot and the characters and make sure they understand.                      books
  2. Check the suggested age for the show. If it’s too complicated they won’t be engaged and will be unlikely to want to go back!                                                                        bored kid
  3. Bring snacks. Lots of snacks. In packets that don’t rustle.snacks
  4. Think about an escape strategy. If like me your children need to go to the toilet every 15 minutes when in public (yet can hold it in for hours at all other times), you don’t want to be sitting in the middle of a row.  I always sit towards the end of a row with my brood, but this obviously depends on the theatre, how bothered you are, and of course bladders.                                               loo roll
  5. Interval ice cream. Always! For the younger ones especially, it’s a good boost to get them through the second half – just in case energy levels are dropping!image1 (2)
  6. Buy a souvenir! A copy of the book or play, a soft toy, an overpriced spinning light  – anything that will remind them of the experience!

GOOD LUCK!

XXX

Whats On this Month – July

Whats on SW19 (1)

Wimbledon / SW19

DATE SHOW THEATRE
16 June – 20 August The Borrowers (Ages 5-11)  Polka
7 July – 27 August Hatch (Ages 2-5)  Polka
14 July – 16 July Ella Enchanted  Colour House Theatre
19 July Captain Noah & his Floating Zoo  Lantern Arts Centre
26 July The Velveteen Rabbit  Colour House Theatre
26 July – 29 July  Romeo and Juliet (Outdoor – Cannizaro Park) Mayhem Theatre Company
31 July The Jungle Book (FREE specially adapted event for children with ASD & SEN) Colour House Theatre

 Surrounding Areas / Further Afield

DATE SHOW THEATRE
4 July – 29 July Extravaganza Macabre (Outdoor Courtyard Age 8+) Battersea Arts Centre
7 July – 5 August The Tale of Two Cities Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
17 July – 5 August Oliver Twist (Age 6+) Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
18 July – 23 July My First Ballet:Cinderella (Age 3+) Peacock Theatre
22 July – 28 August  The Wind in the Willows (Age 3+) Kew Gardens
26 July – 20 August Fantastic Mr Fox Lyric
29 July – 28 August The Dream fairies: An Adventure Through Bubble Land  (Age 3-8)  

Kew Gardens

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