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Live is best

By dance & Art, fun for children, Music and singing, Theatre

With the summer holidays around the corner, there is a bit more time to treat children to a trip to see a live performance at your local theatre. Younger children will enjoy a show during the day, and you can take older children in the evening without worrying so much about getting them to bed on time.

Many theatres have more shows on for children during the school holidays and may also run workshops for those who want to get more involved.

Live theatre can be a magical and memorable experience but recent research by Birbeck, University of London, has also shown that taking youngsters to watch a theatre performance could provide a host of developmental benefits, including improved emotional intelligence and opportunities to discuss difficult subjects.

It is now widely accepted that play-acting and role-play is a fundamental part of development, allowing children to engage in different personalities, work their way through complex social relationships and navigate emotional issues. Watching a live performance can offer some of the same benefits. Many of the shows aimed at children have an under-lying moral message and subjects such as love, friendship and bullying are often explored in a fun and safe environment, which can bring about unexpected but important conversations once the show has finished.

Going to the theatre as a family is also a great bonding experience. Parents don’t have to worry about entertaining their children (it’s being done for them on the stage) and everyone can relax, sit back and enjoy the show together. There are all sorts of shows on at local theatres during the summer. Some shows are for the very young and are short and interactive to keep little ones engaged, while others are full length plays aimed at older children. Many shows are now based on children’s favourite books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar or books by David Walliams or Jacqueline Wilson. There are also live performances and sing-a-longs of films such as Frozen or children’s favourite television shows. These can be a good first introduction to the theatre for young children as they will be very familiar with the story and characters.

In order to get the most out of any show, get children excited and looking forward to the show in advance. If the show you are going to has a soundtrack, you could listen to it in advance. This is a great way to get children familiar with the show without overloading them with too much information. If you know the basics of the story, you could tell it at bedtime the night before so children will know what to expect, but family-friendly shows are normally easy to understand.

Going to see a live performance is a truly memorable experience and it is a wonderful way to spark a child’s imagination – you never know where it may lead them!

Kids Week in the West End

Kids Week in London is a wonderful opportunity to see a West End show.
The price of West End theatre shows puts it out of reach for many people, but Kids Week makes it far more affordable and is a way of encouraging families to go to the theatre.

A child aged 16 or under can go free to any participating show when accompanied by an adult paying full price, and you can buy up to two extra children’s tickets at half price. And there are no booking or postage fees to pay! It has proved so popular that it is no longer just on for a week, but for the whole of August.

Tickets are now on sale. The top shows sell out very quickly, but you can normally pick up tickets for the lesser known shows fairly easily and perhaps see something that you may not normally go to.

For further details go to

Come and have a laugh – feel like you again…

By Comedy, Theatre
by Alyssa Kyria (aka The Funny Mummy)
comic and co-founder of Bring Your Own Baby Comedy

I was too scared to leave the house when my daughter Lola was tiny. I would breastfeed for hours and she’d still be hungry. I felt judged when I got out a bottle, and once my nipple shields flew across a restaurant when I was trying (and failing) to feed her! I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to change her, feed her, or park the buggy, so a lot of the time I stayed home by myself.

Once Lola was a bit older I set up Bring Your Own Baby Comedy with my friend Carly. We wanted to create a place that I really needed when Lola was tiny, so we started lunchtime comedy clubs where you can bring your baby along. Somewhere I could have breastfed uncovered if I wanted to (I was always hiding under a huge poncho) or whip out a bottle to feed my baby without being judged. The day my nipple shields flew across a restaurant (a bit like Julia Robert’s snail in the scene in Pretty Woman) really was not my finest moment! We wanted somewhere everything that a parent trying to keep a tiny human alive needs: buggy parking, toys, soft flooring and a helping hand. But most importantly, somewhere we can go to laugh and not have to ‘wind the bobbin up’ (and wind it back again). A place we can feel like ourselves again.

If you would like to laugh and feel like you again (while being able to do whatever you need to look after your baby) come and see us.

We provide the best comedy in the UK at daytime shows for parents and their babies. When I became a mum, I found that I was ‘mumsied’ a lot – so we didn’t want to do that – our comics use adult content as the show is for the parents. I, personally, was about to jump out of a window if I had to sing ‘Wheels on the bus’ while sitting cross-legged with a group of exhausted and fake smiley mums one more time! So nursery rhymes are banned.

If you fancy a bit of a break from the standard baby group, then come and see us and have a laugh. Our shows are monthly on a Tuesday at midday at the Komedia, Brighton. Tickets are £11 in advance (babies get the laughs for free!) Please note we have a 12 month recommended age limit for our little laughers, as our comics perform their usual material.