York Theatre Royal reopens on the 22nd April and we’re ridiculously excited. As well as a really exciting programme of shows, there’s always a great selection of activities for kids. We tried a Storymakers class with our two youngest a little while back and loved it. In case you missed it, here’s what we thought…
I didn’t think there was much of an art to telling a story until I took our three year-old and one year-old along to a session of Storymakers at York Theatre Royal’s De Grey Rooms. We’re a bit late to the Storymakers party: their multi-sensory craft and drama sessions for 2-5 years have been running for five years and are so popular that they’ve had to add extra sessions. And after an hour or so in their company we can see why.
We stepped out of the cold into the warmth of the De Grey rooms – where Storymakers has relocated while the theatre has its makeover – to be greeted by the sight of lots of children happily building their own robots at the well-stocked craft table. Parents were equally happy as the pop-up café was open and serving very welcome hot drinks and cake to fuel the Blue Peter-style making fest. If, like me, your artistic side is a bit lacking and you don’t know one end of a pipe-cleaner from another, don’t panic. Jenna, who runs the sessions, is on hand with good ideas for what to stick where. Even our robot looked pretty cool in the end.
Robots finished, we headed downstairs to the studio (I’ll gloss over the part where the girls and I got stuck in the lift and just say thank you to the kind person who let us out. Never a dull moment, unfortunately). As Jenna and her helper performed in front of us – with props, music and costumes – it wasn’t long before we worked out why we’d been making robots (the craft always relates to the story that week). The story was The Trouble with Dad, an everyday tale of a dad who creates crazy robots in his shed, and the children were all encouraged to get involved in acting out the story. They helped to catch a robber and to work out what might happen next in the story. It was great fun and even the shyest kids – and their robot creations – joined in. After all that excitement, the session ended calmly with everyone sitting down and listening to Jenna read the book.
The girls really enjoyed Storymakers; the 3 year old loved hearing a new story and getting involved in creating it through craft and drama, while the 1 year old proved that you’re never to young to enjoy a bit of theatre. And I learnt that there’s more than one way to tell a story. Bedtime will never be the same again (we might just hold off on the pipe-cleaners though).
Storymakers is run by Mud Pie Arts and takes place on Wednesday mornings, 10.15am to 11.30am. The summer term runs from April 20th to June 29th and it’s £5 per child (£2.50 concessions). For more details and to book, visit the York Theatre Royal website.