This week appears to be an interesting week for me. On Thursday, I went to catch the musical, Wicked with Kimberly. On Saturday, I also attended a bloggers event at Unicorn Theatre and we caught one of the early shows of The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark. It is a play, adapted from a popular children’s book by Jill Tomlinson.
Ever since we came to London 2-ish years ago, I have only watched like maybe 4 West End productions and one musical at the National Theatre. In fact, last Saturday was the first time I brought the children to watch a play. Since we are living in London, the global cultural hub, I think I should be exposing the children more to this aspect of life and learning as well.
As a overly-anxious parent, I tend to be worried about how Ryan and Gillian would behave should they attend such events. I worry if they make too much noise, if they get bored(and start moaning) or just cause any undue distress to fellow patrons. However, after attending our first play together, I realised that my concerns could be managed and the children did have a good time watching the play.
The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark
Unicorn Theatre is a good introduction place for young audience. Being children-friendly, productions are made with the audience in mind. We watched the production- The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark and the experience was both engaging and relaxing. (You can see more photos of the production on the Facebook.) The audience were able to sit near the performance on chairs or comfortable cushions. While watching the play, children were able to interact actively with the actors . I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who intends to watch the show but, Ryan and Gillian enjoyed many aspects of the show. The duration of the show at 50 minutes was just right for children as well. While watching the show, there were no, ‘I am bored…’ and no,’I want to sleep…’ moments. To me, it means the children were positively intrigued.
After the play, some of the children went to had a swing on the structures used during the play. Ryan even managed to get a picture with Lawrence Walker, who played Plop, the barn owl. I think there are many take-aways from the play- the simpler ones would be what are some animals that come out in the night, what are constellations and the more abstract ones would be what are some of our fears and how can we overcome them.
The Owl who is Afraid of the Dark is starring from 13 September to 21 November 2016 and you can check out for more timings here before purchasing tickets.
Family Blogger Event/ Unicorn Theatre
Post show, the bloggers went for a discussion with the team at Unicorn Theatre and from what they shared, you can tell that they are passionate about the arts and how they would like to share this magical experience and vision with the young ones. The director behind the play came and explained his thought-processes as he embarked on adapting the play. Personally, I feel that the team(actors, back-stage, business) at Unicorn Theatre, they truly want to make this experience of going for plays/musicals as enriching as possible for the children and family.
On Saturdays, there are also free drop-in activities for children from 12 noon to 2pm. Some of the art activities are themed around the shows happening at Unicorn Theatrr so that children can build on their schema on what they have watched or are going to watch.
One of the things that I like about Unicorn Theatre would be their location, which is very near London Bridge Station. In that area, there is always plenty to do. In our case, we could easily make a day out with the children. Just within walking distance away, there is Jamie’s Italian, the Bourough Market which I love, Giraffe and a number of eateries. After which, there are still many family-friendly areas to explore such as Tate Modern, Design Museum, HMD Belfast… This is what E and I usually aim to do for our Saturdays- to travel, discover and live London as much as possible!
Unicorn Theatre also tries to make sure that their ticket prices are as competitively priced as possible. West End tickets can be pricey, at £80ish to £120 per pop and sometimes it is hard to justify these prices for a family day out. With Unicorn Theatre, families are allowed more affordable options but still watching great productions at the same time. In this age of increasing obsession with science, technology, engineering and math, the arts still has its place for the children’s growth and learning. In fact, like what I have mentioned earlier in my blog post, maybe it is time for me to intentionally make time for the children’s exposure in this area as well. We will definitely be looking forward to our next trip to the Unicorn Theatre!
Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark at the Unicorn Theatre. Opinions are of my own and I have given honest feedback and review of our experience.