I’ve refound my love of Warwick Arts Centre. It’s only 25 minutes drive from us and it has so many great theatre shows, concerts and exhibitions, we really should make more use of it. We saw Paddington Bear’s First Concert a few months ago, and around the same time I booked for both of their family Christmas shows.
The first one, The Lost Gift was a spontaneous decision and I didn’t really know much about it. But given we would be at at the Arts Centre for The Gruffalo’s Child anyway, I thought I’d book us in for it as well.
The Lost Gift
So the other day we headed over there and made our way to the Mead Gallery for our session at the Lost Gift. There were around 15 of us going through the experience and we all had our headphones on before entering to hear the intro. I had thought it would be a walk through set of displays with a challenge, but it was more like being involved in a play.
With the headphones on we made our way into the first winter wonderland area where we heard about the task we’d be doing and that we’d be meeting different characters along the way. A quick play in the snow, we all put on scarves ready for the journey through the woodland before removing our headphones again and going through the door to see the first character.
The story is all about trying to find a lost gift. Some children took gifts to give to other characters along the way as part of the story, and we certainly met some fun and interesting characters. In each room we had different tasks, one of which was joining up everyone’s thoughts to make the lights and sensors flow and communication happen. Everyone got involved from small toddlers to the adults. The characters were fun (and a bit wacky), as we made our way through towards the Winter Festival and finding the lost gift.
All the children got to choose a snowflake to take away afterwards, and once we’d finished we were able to do some snowflake making in the activity area.
While the story was great for children, there was a bit of sitting around listening to the story in some places, which for some may mean children get a bit fidgety. Although the toddlers seemed quite happy playing with the snow. I was surprised that N did try and join in most bits, although I did get a check to see if I was close behind. It’s definitely one for the kids though – the sets are basic although totally suitable for this occasion. If you’re going for luxury ornate decorations that’s not what you’ll get. It’s a family ‘be in a play or adventure’ kid of event.
Exploring Warwick Arts Centre
We’d planned things so we could have lunch in the café in between. N was straight away into the lunchboxes (although in my mind they were a little dull – roll, piece of fruit and drink, plus little box of raisins. He didn’t seem to mind). Followed by a donut. That scoffed, he was then off looking at the Christmas food gift displays.
Because he’d brought his little purse with him, N was determined to buy something, so I managed to get him onto the chocolate lollies rather than the larger bags of sweets. He decided to buy both himself and his cousin one, so we got the money out that he needed, and I sent him off to pay on his own. At first he was a bit worried about me not being there, but handed over his money (then the lollies), and ran back to me.
Luckily the dubious looking £1 coin that he and his uncle had found while metal detecting was accepted, but I could see them discussing it!
It was really hot in the arts centre and we had a bit of time to spare before The Gruffalo’s Child show, so we headed outside for a quick walk round. N wanted to see the same sculptures we’d seen before but we did wander round to the next one I’d spotted as we drove in…until the rain came down and we had to hurry back, having gone out without an umbrella. That little bit of a breather and cool air got us ready in time to find our seats for The Gruffalo’s Child.
The Gruffalo’s Child
We really enjoyed seeing The Gruffalo in London in the summer, and N kept asking if we were going on the train to see the Gruffalo’s Child. Eventually he realised we were already at the theatre and didn’t need to go anywhere else.
The theatre and concert hall at Warwick are both lovely. Plenty of seating room, and we’d got great seats, just at stage level and raised enough so N had no problems seeing over the heads of the people sitting in front.
Before the lights went down and the stage lights came up, the mouse came out into the audience, where lots tried to scare her with their toy gruffalos. Very funny, and nice to see N getting into the swing of things even with an actor out in the audience.
The play was really good again. The man playing the Gruffalo, Snake, Fox and Owl was great, although the snake wasn’t quite as smarmy and camp as the London actor…or maybe it was just that we were hoping that was coming after last time. N was tickled by the characters again, and got involved where audience participation was needed. I think performing at school’s really helped with his confidence in doing that, and just being out and about at more theatre performances.
I’d definitely recommend families going to see the show. It was a shame that the theatre wasn’t full but having 2 day time performances during the week (even if it is a school holiday) makes a difference.
N really enjoyed his day out at Warwick Arts Centre, and it was great to be able to do 2 shows on one day. The only issue now, is that N wants to keep making snowflakes.
Have you seen any Christmassy shows this season?
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