Wow. December and January have been the busiest months for blogging about the arts. Tons of you have managed to fit in trips to the theatre, cinema and museums. I’ve read so many posts about these Christmas treats, that I’m already dying for next year to come around….
First up, it’s Panto. What would Yuletide be without this grand old institution? Pantomime is a distictly British phenomenon – apparently we’re the only country that sees fit to put on shows involving cross-dressing, slapstick, and out-of-work minor soap actors, in every town large enough to boast a Costa or Starbucks. Love ’em or hate ’em, pantomimes are everywhere over Christmas; they’re usually performed to a high standard (hundreds of years of history help with that); and they’re a great theatrical rite of passage for youngsters.
GeekMummy enjoyed revisiting her youth and taking her daughter to their first ever Panto together, Jack and the Beanstalk at Crewe Lyceum. Polkadot Family sang along to tunes from Frozen at Aladdin, put on by St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth. And Mummy of Two was impressed at the professionalism shown in Polkadot Pantomime’s Cinderella, at the South Holland Centre in Spalding.
The Sensory Seeker went to the relaxed performance of Dick Wittington at Bristol’s Hippodrome, which welcomed those with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Sensory, learning and communication disorders and other difficulties. Globalmouse Travels also caught the Hippodrome’s Dick Wittington, to much excitement at the 3D underwater section, and the appearance of CBeebies’ Mr Bloom.
Of course, there are also more up-to-date Christmas traditions: like the Snowman at Sadlers Wells, now into its 17th year and covered by both Mari’s World and Culture Baby. We at the Pigeon Pair and Me went to see Christmassy classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Rose Theatre, Kingston-Upon-Thames. Me and My Shadow took in Disney On Ice at Greenwich’s O2 arena as part of a festive mini-break.
Parentshaped celebrated children’s favourite, Peter Pan, this year’s holiday show at the Polka Theatre, London; and another old kids’ treat, Treasure Island, went down well with Family Travel Times when they saw it at the National Theatre. A couple of bloggers, A Strong Coffee and Minis and More, both posted round-up summaries of all the shows they’d visited over the holidays – there really was so much to choose from, it was difficult to know which performances to go for.
Raisie Bay listened to some Christmas classics, performed by the London Concert Orchestra at Birmingham Symphony Hall. Dear Mummy went to the National Trust’s Mottisfont, in Hampshire, where the Nutcracker ballet had been used as a theme for their annual wonderland. And – last but not least – Hatty Daze followed up the delightful BritMums Winter gathering at the Imperial War Museum, with a visit to their Horrible Histories Spies exhibition.
As well as stage performances, cinema featured highly in bloggers’ Yuletide activities. There’s a round-up of reactions to Disney’s new film, Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast, here on the BritMums blog. ChelseaMamma and her family climbed aboard the Polar Express at Dartmoor, an experience based on the film of the same name. Mums Do Travel visited locations from the cinematic version of Paddington, on her recent trip to London. And Mummy Barrow has set up a film club, so we can all cosy up over the dark winter months, and join in with reviewing films together.
And finally: looking forward. 2015 is set to be a very exciting year for children’s arts and culture. If you’re looking for inspiration, instead of leafing through those travel brochures, why not check out this list of top picks from Babes About Town? It’s guaranteed to lift you out of the Winter gloom.