One of the things I love most about our move to Devon is the fact we’re no longer four hours from any of our family. As much as my parents often wound me up as a teenager, these days I rather like them.
The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine’s family are still far away up north, which isn’t ideal, but my own parents are less than an hour away on the other side of Dartmoor near the North Devon coast. It means we get to see them regularly, giving us school holidays to catch up with the northern contingent of our family.
When I was growing up, my mum worked as a drama teacher. My very first trip to the theatre was to see Swan Lake when I was just three years old. I’ve wanted to take Frog to the theatre for ages, but the right play, location and time hadn’t yet come up. That was until last weekend, when my mum took Frog and I out for a girls’ day to have lunch and watch a play, something we wouldn’t be able to do if we still lived in Berkshire.
We left my dad and the NLM at home to do some DIY (lucky them!) while we jollied off to Exeter. Lunch at Pizza Express overlooking Exeter Cathedral was a huge success. The warm roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese salad is rather tasty, and Frog was as excited by the colouring pencils, balloon and free paper hat as she was with her dinner of pasta.
A short stroll took us to The BikeShed Theatre, a small quirky theatre (complete with vintage cocktail bar – definitely want to go back there for an evening performance!) nestled down the end of an alley in the centre of town. My mum knows a thing or two about plays, being a retired drama teacher and all, so she had chosen the venue and the performance.
We were there to see Eliza and the Wild Swans, a play by The Wardrobe Ensemble. Turns out we were right to let Mum pick the play – it was hilarious, captivating and constantly energetic.
One of Mum’s former students was involved in setting up The Wardrobe Ensemble, showing that no matter what a certain education secretary thinks, teaching and encouraging children to do expressive arts at school IS a worthwhile job *falls off soapbox*.
Frog. Was. ENGROSSED. She was laughing along and frightened at the “scary bits” and mystified by the whole idea of being grown-up enough to sit in a proper theatre and watch a proper play. (Granted, there was a hairy moment just before the interval when she started getting fidgety, and again just before the end, but overall she was entirely won over.)
A little snapshot of our day. Hopefully one of many more still to come.
Do your kids like the theatre? Seen any good plays you’d recommend?
Ghislaine Forbes says
One to see with small children and a bucket and spade is “Mr &Mrs Moon” by Oily Cart at The Clwyd Theatr Cymru. Reviewed by Lyn Gardiner at “The Guardian” and on until 25th January. The show places the audience around a giant sandpit to tell the story of the lunar couple Mr & Mrs Moon.
I think Wales may be a little far to go for F’s next theatre trip. Can you find something closer to home?!
What a wonderful thing to do with your mum and your daughter, I knew G would turn out to be a fab granny !
I agree, the creative arts are essential as part of every child’s education.
Seeing our own daughter, whom you know, blossom in confidence is significantly due to the drama she did at school .
The creative arts are SO important. And you’re right, G is a great grandma. Don’t tell her that though – she’ll get a big head! x