Each time the inevitable school holidays approach, if I’m brutally honest, a shudder runs from the tip to the base my spine. No longer can I visit a shopping town centre or go for a leisurely swim without insurmountable disruption to my supposedly sordid routine.
Avoiding the everyday bumper scrape of the school time rush was hard enough, but during the break, it’s as if the school run hell took place all day. Town centre car parks become the epitome of a jam packed metropolis, British weather keeps up its crown for worlds most unpredictable weather as it disrupts many a trip to the local park for a wee picnic and chlorine companies empty their supplies as leisure centres try to compensate for the funny yellow colour of their swimming pools. The whole holiday escapade culminates with Mother’s running out of ideas where to take their “little cherubs” – of course by this time they are Satan’s aspiring generation – and PS2’s and Nintendo DS’s become the sole reason for the drain in the country’s national grid.
Taking all this into account, I decided that there had to be a solution to the lack of recreational activities for mothers to take their kids. I thought it would be a good idea to look no further than the Time Out website and see if my theatre counterparts could come to the rescue. I took a glance through Time Out’s section ‘School holiday activities for kids’, to see if I’d be able to find new possibilities of entertaining the tots, tweens and teens. I was somewhat ashamed to find less than a handful of a decent selection of theatre shows for children.
A fair part of the shows selected were West End with ticket prices starting at around £20 – not at all ideal if you have a few young-ans. The other shows looked fairly decent, although the general selection was far too small. Mothers, for what it’s worth – you have my full understanding.
Lyn Gardner, of the Guardian, pointed out in her blog recently that theatre start times are too late and because of this, theatre buildings aren’t being used to their full advantage:-
Many theatre buildings are woefully underused throughout most of the day and late night, and are like ghosts that only come alive for a few hours in the evenings.
Surely the school holidays are a perfect reason for companies to use theatres in the daytime to entertain the children masses and keep them from being so bored at home. Not only can they entertain, but get our future generation through the theatre doors so we can brain wash them into the magical world of the performance. All jokes aside, it is a shame to see theatre buildings go to very little use in the daytime as well as a lack of children’s entertainment shows. If we have any hope of making theatre in the UK grow far and wide, this is certainly a situation we need to find solutions for. It is pretty simple.
Let’s tear these kids away from the television screens that we, ourselves, were far too subjected to and show them a way that is far more educational, more real and without doubt, a far better way of spending that little precious time.