What do you love the most about live performances? I love seeing characters come to life, escaping into a magical moment and soaking up the atmosphere. Theatre is enjoyable for all ages and allows us to take time out into another world. Children’s theatre, though, feels even more special. Children love to have their imaginations inspired with and getting involved with a live show.
Recently, me and Ollie took Eric to see his first play. It was a special time, one ticked off the bucket list for us and a First for Eric. I was worried he was going to be too young, he’s 1.5 years old now; would he enjoy it, or just wander off? So off we went to try it out. We went to see Curly Tales at Moor Theatre Delicatessen. I was prettyyyy excited!
Curly Tales are a local, yorkshire based theatre company who are passionate about inspiring children through magical theatrrical performances. Their new show, the Hare and the tortoise, is specifically designed for ages 3-6. With this in mind I expected songs and dance, lots of audience involvement and loads of fun for little ones.
The Moor Theatre Delicatessen was a great space for Curly Tales. The Moor Deli is a unique, community run theatre space. It was nice to see the big space set up for the show. There were blankets and pillows set out for the children along the front of the chairs which gave it a relaxed, homely feeling.
It was busy… a sold out show, but we were still able to get a spot right in the middle to enjoy the most of it.Eric was happy enough to watch the show as soon as it started and he couldn’t take his eyes of Emily and Jen.
There were lots of jokes, classic panto (“Shout it out!”) and music. Eric loved the opening scene with an acoustic song, with Jen playing the guitar. He was mesmerized! The props were pretty; there was a few animal post boxes hidden around the room for a scene where the Hare runs around the audience delivering mail, Eric loved these, especially the Badger box.
Emily & Jen kept all the children involved (and adults too!) with scenes specifically made to get the kids up and dancing, jumping and games at the end of the show. I really loved how they encouraged the chidren to get up and moving; it really brought the show together gets the kids involved! It stops boredom creeping in andand you could see the kids were so happy.
Eric was a little too young to join in at these points but he was clapping, dancing and loved the excitement of it all. It must have felt pretty special for the kids up playing with the hare and tortoise!
The show was just the right length for kids; around 45 minutes. There was a prompt start which is fab for restless toddlers and moved along fast with no long drown out scenes. It was simple, fun, cute, funny and oozing with talent. At the end, Emily & Jen had photos with any of the kids, which was a really nice touch. They were incredibly down to earth and actually, we ended up bumping into them after the performance… We had a chat and they’re so lovely. They were people I could be friends with and it was really nice to be able to get on with them. It just made it all a little bit different and special.
Thank you for creating special memories for us, Eric loved his first show and it was the perfect introduction into going to the theatre as a family. It was 100% toddler friendly, and I will be looking out for more Curly Tales shows in the future. I hope they come back to Sheffield; it would be a lovely family tradition!
I spoke to Curly Tales and the team behind it all, they answered some of my questions so we can get to know them a little bit better. I’m excited for their next shows!
Could you tell us a brief history about Curly Tales?
JEN: Two years ago, we both left drama school and landed a job together in Leeds working with children in a story-telling centre. It involved performing snippets of stories, leading workshops and running drama sessions. It taught me so much about myself and my confidence around children grew. Through this work we- or should I say Emily- had the idea of creating a Christmas show.
EMILY: I did indeed, it was so much fun. We’d come back home after work to compose songs and create characters. I’m not sure we really knew what we were doing but it came very naturally.
JEN: So many fairy tales have boring journeys for the girls and we loved adventure as kids. We wanted our protagonists to be inspiring, encouraging and fearless. After performing our Christmas show, we stepped out on our own as Curly Tales. Since then we’ve performed to over 32 different community venues across Yorkshire.
EMILY: That’s our brief history, which is actually quite impressive when you put it like that!
What was your inspiration for The Hare and the Tortoise performance?
JEN: It’s a traditional tale that we thought would be easy to perform with two people. Little did I know I would be playing the Hare…
EMILY: Sorry about that, Jen is quite literally dripping with sweat after the show.
JEN: Too much information!
EMILY: Anyway, you never really get to know the characters in the story books and we wanted to flesh them out to show not everyone is one sided. In fact Topple really lacks confidence and Hatty is the perfect person to help provide that in the end.
I was looking at your past shows, The Shoemaker’s Christmas Wish sounds magical! Could you tell us a little about it? And will you be performing it this Christmas?
JEN: We’re so glad you said that as the show is designed to be a magical experience for all the family. It’s an absolute joy to perform in- I grin all the way through. It’s an adaptation of The Elves and The Shoemaker and follows the story of Charlotte; a passionate and positive young woman who has inherited her grandma’s shoe shop and begins to run it on her own.
EMILY: She’s finds it difficult to drum up business and is close to cancelling Christmas, until one night a cheeky elf stops by and brings the sparkle back in her life. All the songs and music are composed by ourselves. After the show I stay dressed as the elf for at least 30 minutes because tots will come over and giggle or stand and stare in amazement.
JEN: The elf is hilarious and got naughtier every show. It’s a three-hander piece with the wonderful Lucienne Browne as the Shoemaker. As for the future of the show, we are looking to put the piece on at Christmas again so stay tuned for more info…
What was the highlight of coming to Sheffield to perform at The Moor Deli?
EMILY: For me it was meeting a brand new audience who hadn’t seen any of our work before. In fact, I don’t know about you Jen but I was nervous that only two people would show up but luckily Sheffield delivered and the audiences giggled their way through the whole show. The children’s feedback was brilliant too.
JEN: Theatre Deli is an amazing space with staff to match and we’d really love to work there again in the future. Also our whirlwind of a producer Julia lives in Sheffield which makes it an even better city in our books.
Do you have anything exciting coming up we should be looking out for?
EMILY: At the moment we have a few tricks up our sleeve.
JEN: Yes, there’s a fundraising event for ‘Baildon’s Imagination Library’ in June. They’re an awesome charity who donate books to children for free which we LOVE. Obviously the more people who can attend the more money they make so if people live locally get yourselves along. Our website will be updated shortly with more details on how to book.
EMILY: As well as this, we’ve also got Jackie and The Beanstalk in development, plans for Christmas and potentially another Leeds based tour. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for more details.
JEN: Oh and If anyone did come and see our show in Sheffield, go on our Facebook page and write a post or review to let us know what you and your tots thought!
How often do your family go to the theatre and what was your children’s first show? I would love to know! Comment and let me know!
Thank you for reading 🙂