So, it's 2016 and the Arts Crusade is on.
Our first family cultural outing of the year was to the panto at the Hackney Empire. What a blast. Colourful, funny, clever, spectacular at times and the kiddos loved it too.
Next up was something more challenging - The Nutcracker, by the English National Ballet at London's Coliseum. I booked our tickets a couple of weeks before Christmas,
when I got wind of the FREE child places from a friend. For two days of
each year, kids go free to the ballet - brilliexcellent! (I'll keep you
posted on facebook and twitter, please let me know if you hear of any
deals I can pass on.)
Our kids are 7, 5 and 1 and the older ones are up for the IDEA of going to theatres and museums, but in reality, they can get bored really quickly and then it all kicks off.
So it was with some trepidation that we set off to the ballet - making it out of the house with clean clothes, faces and hands was a major achievement let me tell you. Don't know what I was more nervous about - the three kids having a meltdown or the fact that it was hubby's first time at the ballet too...
En route, I summarised the story of The Nutcracker and explained that there would be no singing or speaking, just music and dancing. By the way, I think this was crucial preparation - my 5 year old would've cracked up (not in a funny way) if he hadn't been forewarned...
The staff at the Colliseum couldn't have been nicer, they were so well prepared for the onslaught of boisterous children and stressed out grownups. When babies got antsy, they had no problem with them having a supervised crawl, allowing everyone to stay in the theatre or come and go quietly throughout the whole performance.
The theatre itself was magical, the costumes were stunning, the story was (kind of) followable, the dancing was spellbinding and the music, oh, the music!
Afterwards, we asked the kids which they preferred - panto or ballet? They both said panto. But as soon as we walked through the front door, it was on with the tights, ballet pumps and Classic FM (LOUD) and they danced through dinner, till bedtime. Edie wants to go to the Royal Ballet School and Oisin is coming home from school this evening to build a stage curtain in the living room. It was so blinking inspirational. (Watch the video on the facebook page)
I guess that's it. When children see and hear beautiful, classical, gorgeous things, it makes them aspire to be free, to learn, to be even more special than they already are.
Next up, a museum trip. I'll keep you posted.
The Arts Crusader