It goes without saying that we are keen advocates for getting children into the theatre as young as is possible but we also acknowledge it can be stressful with a small pre-schooler in tow.
The production company behind Just Soph has the answer for this. Touring libraries, schools and community spaces across the north Just Soph brings the theatre to the preschoolers. With relaxed spaces and family friendly venues you don’t have to worry about little wrigglers!
Our Chester reviewer popped down to St Mary’s Creative Space to check it out.
Last week my children and I were lucky enough to be invited to St. Mary’s Creative Space to watch a new adaption of the Rudyard Kipling Just So stories Just Soph, aimed at children aged 4-7 it was ideal for us as my youngest is 4 and my eldest turned 7 the very next day.
Despite living only 15 minutes away from St. Mary’s I can honestly say I never even knew it existed but now that I do I have a feeling it will be somewhere we visit on a regular basis. As an old church it makes the most beautiful backdrop for any event but the relaxed seating arrangements made it really child friendly and with all the children sat on cushions on the floor there was no need for parents to worry about fidgeting children blocking other peoples view.
From the minute we arrived we were welcomed with big smiles from the staff and the children were invited to get creative in a hands on area whilst we waited for the show to start. This starter activity really got the children excited about the show and they couldn’t wait to see the connection between what they were making and what they were about to watch.
The show was called “Just Soph” and it quiet literally was, Just Soph, at the front of the room telling three magical stories. How one women managed to captivate the entire audience, adults included, for 45 minutes using very minimal props, an array of voices and a few musical instruments I will never know, but she did. Her confidence was incredible and her ability to adapt the script to take questions from excited children and work around a wondering toddler who kept edging closer and closer, without ever looking fazed was mind blowing.
The show itself was extremely interesting and the use of props was sensational. It really highlighted that the most important thing required for entertaining children is not high tech equipment or expensive games but is an ability to use ones own imagination whilst simultaneously encouraging them to use theirs. My boys particularly enjoyed the story about the whale featuring a boat, a whale and most importantly for the tillder, a fish that looked like Dory. For me I think I rather enjoyed the story abut the camel but that was probably because it delivered an underlying message about the consequences of being work shy which I think was an excellent way of introducing this idea to young children.
Just Soph is currently touring the North west and if you get the chance to pay it a visit I would highly recommend it. However Just Soph is also touring some of the local schools so if you are unable to attend yourself it would be worth inquiring with your child’s school as this is a cracking activity to get the imaginations and the creativity of children flowing. An absolute must for all children aged 4-7.
To find out more check out ‘Just Soph’ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stutetheatre/ and on Twitter @justsophtheatre
The production will also be touring schools in and around Chester, Preston, Manchester and Staffordshire so please check the Facebook page for more information.
To check out our Chester reviewers blog The Strawberry Fountain, a blog on family life and a little piece of pink in a life full of blue see the link below.