Monday, 12 February 2018

Dates for your Diary - Storyhouse Chester Announces a Great Line-Up of Family Shows for Spring 2018

Storyhouse has revealed its exciting programme of children's shows for the Spring Season 2018 - promising plenty of fun for all the family at the Chester theatre.

With four fantastic shows, written and produced specifically for children, there's no excuse for youngsters to be bored during the half-term break or the coming months.

The first show to take to the stage this season is Captain Flinn & The Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass on Tuesday 20th February.

Based on the best-selling children's books, Flinn, Pearl and Tom are in the middle of their school play when their old nemesis, Mr T the T-Rex, appears and kidnaps them, forcing the children to hunt for the secretive Magic Cutlass - a sword that grants the holder any wish.


Young fans of dinosaurs have a real treat to look forward to on Saturday 7th April and Sunday 8th April when Dinosaur World Live comes to Storyhouse.

Dare to experience the dangers and delights of the dinosaur world with this incredible interactive show. Youngsters are invited to join an intrepid explorer  across unchartered territories to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including every child's favourite flesh-eating giant the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Stegosaurus.

Dino fans can meet their favourites during a special meet and greet after the Dinosaur World Live performances.


The mischevious and hilarious Gangsta Granny takes to the Storyhouse stage during the Easter Holidays, on Wednesday 11th April to Saturday 14th April.

Based on the books by the best-selling children's author David Walliams, Gangsta Granny and her grandson Ben are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime together. This award-winning West End production is brought to stage by the acclaimed producers of Horrible Histories.

Fans of dance and music are also catered for as world music group Kabantu return to Storyhouse on Wednesday 21st February. After proving to be a big hit at the Chester venue last June, the quintet perform as part of their Debut Album Tour, which has been produced by Mercury Prize nominated Gerry Diver.

Storyhouse Artistic Director Alex Clifton said: "We are thrilled to present such a varied and exciting programme for families over the coming months. Following the success of our Christmas show, The Secret Seven, we want to continue to engage families and young people as much as possible Whether that's seeing a show in the theatre or creating something together in the children's library."

Storyhouse is also producing its annual WayWord half-term festival between the 17th-24th February. The week-long festival is dedicated to families and young people, and features Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, silent discos, stand-up comedy for kids, a raft of workshops, tea-time movies and free arts and crafts.

Tickets for all events are on sale now and can be booked online, over the phone, or in person at the theatre.

Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring that the earlier you book your tickets, guarantees the best seats at the lowest price.

For further information on these events and more, please visit www.storyhouse.com

Saturday, 10 February 2018

An Overnight Stay at the Holiday Inn Express Stockport - A Review

We first became aware of the Holiday Inn Express in Stockport after visiting the area to see The Wizard of Oz pantomime back in August last year. A couple of the cast and crew were staying there and spoke highly of the service they received, so we decided that should we return to the area, we would make use of the hotel and enjoy an overnight visit. An opportunity arose to watch Jason Manford on his comedy tour on the 2nd February and so we booked a room without hesitation and I am very pleased that we did.

The hotel is located right next to the train station and a short walk from the main shopping centre. There is also a Sainsbury's local and a coffee shop adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express, as well as a leisure centre a short distance away, where hotel guests can use the facilities at a preferential rate.


We booked our stay in a double room a couple of weeks in advance of our visit, for the excellent low price of £51 including breakfast! We felt that this was extremely good value for money especially since a breakfast buffet was included, but we were unsure as to how good the hotel would be given the low overnight rate. We needn't have worried though as from the moment we arrived we were extremely impressed with the service, the decor and most importantly our room, which was located on one of the upper levels on floor 5.

On arrival we received a friendly welcome and we were told where we could get something to eat in the evening and where to go for breakfast in the morning. We were given clear directions to our room and told that should we require anything, then to ring reception for assistance. Our rate was confirmed and we paid by card on arrival for the stay. I always prefer to pay on arrival as this means no nasty surprises with items charged to the room on check out, so I always pay for the room and then pay card or cash for any additional purchases as we have them.


The entrance to the lift area requires you to scan your card by the doors, so this was reassuring to know that only people staying in the hotel could gain access to the rooms and corridors. The lifts were clear glass that ran up the side of the building, so you had a good view over the Grand Central area of Stockport whilst travelling up the floors. As we made our way to our room we were already impressed with the cleanliness and modern interiors that ran throughout the hotel. Everything just looked so tidy, immaculate and well cared for.

As we entered our room we were both quite shocked by how large it was. The picture on the website made us think that it would be quite small, but it was in fact really spacious, with plenty of storage areas. There were large floor to ceiling windows that gave us a view over the gardens below and the entrance to the station, as well as a small desk area which was perfect for catching up on emails.


It was clean, tidy and well presented, with stylish and modern furnishings. The bedding seemed high quality with a comfortable mattress and pillows. I liked that there were usb chargers on each side of bed integrated into the headboard, so this was ideal for charging our phones overnight.

There was a large television on the wall opposite the bed and we enjoyed watching a film later that evening after our trip to the Stockport Plaza. Other conveniences such as a kettle, tea/coffee, iron, ironing board and hairdryer were also provided. We made use of the iron prior to going out and this looked like it had never even been used.

The bathroom was spacious, with a large walk in shower. I also really liked the fact that there was plenty of worktop space by the sink, so there was lots of room for my make up when getting ready. Unfortunately I realised shortly after unpacking that I had forgotten my shampoo and conditioner, but a quick call to the reception sorted that out and I was provided with some complimentary miniatures.



We had planned to get a bite to eat before heading out to the show, but unfortunately we had got stuck in traffic on our way to the hotel, which meant that we arrived over an hour later as planned. This resulted in us having no time for an evening meal which was a shame. The menu, although not extensive in size, featured a small range of tasty dishes that included Chicken Tikka Masala, Traditional Beef Lasagne and King Prawn Curry.

Fortunately, we had plenty of time for breakfast in the morning and after a good nights sleep, we enjoyed the Express Start breakfast buffet in the Great Room. There was plenty on offer and we had a fabulous breakfast consisting of both hot cooked items such as scrambled egg, bacon and sausages, as well as pastries and cereal. The coffee machine was fantastic and we both had a lovely cappuccino, in addition to some fresh orange juice. I couldn't believe how much was available to choose from and it made the £51 we had paid for our room seem even better value than we had originally thought.

The staff were constantly busy, making sure all the food items were kept topped up and I noticed that the moment customers left a table, it would get cleared and cleaned immediately ensuring that no guests needed to wait for somewhere to sit. Again the Great Room featured modern furnishings and it was a really nice environment to sit in and enjoy our food.


Check out was incredibly easy and was simply a case of us returning our door key card. The receptionist asked if we had enjoyed our stay and whether there had been any problems. This is always nice to see as it means that the hotel is keen to ensure that guests have had a good stay. Customer satisfaction is important and clearly the Holiday Inn Express recognise this in the service they provide.

If I was to make one negative comment about the hotel, it would be that there is no on-site parking and instead you need to use the NCP multi storey car park a short walk away. We were already aware of this, so it didn't pose a problem for us, but it is worth noting that if you leave the car park you will need to pay each time you park. Rather than paying a set 24 hour fee where you can come and go as you please, you need to pay on each occasion. This therefore may not be ideal if you are planning a stay and intending to visit places in the local area as parking could end up being quite costly. For our visit it cost £8 (usually £16) but hotel guests are entitled to a 50% discount, so just make sure you remember to get your parking ticket validated at reception before leaving.

Whilst my husband and I travelled here as a couple, we will most definitely be returning as a family. I would say that the hotel is family friendly and also offers interconnecting rooms to provide families with plenty of space. They also have a number of rooms that are equipped with a sofa bed should you wish to only book one room and these can sleep up to 4. In addition to this cots are available to hire free of charge. There isn't a children's menu available, however the express menu offers a range of light bite meals and there are also numerous restaurants within walking distance.

Overall we had a wonderful stay and will definitely be staying again in the future. The location is ideal for us when visiting the local theatre and family, but also great for when we are visiting Manchester due to the easy train links from the station nearby. We had a great nights sleep and loved the room size and decor, with our stay being topped off with a wonderful breakfast that was a great way to start our day. We would recommend this hotel and if you would like to find out more about the hotel and the rooms available, then please visit their website here: Holiday Inn Express Stockport

*Disclaimer: Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. I would always suggest visiting the hotel's own website to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 9 February 2018

What's On at Waterside, Sale this February Half Term 10th -18th February 2018

If you are looking for some ideas of where to go with the kids this February Half Term, then Waterside have some fun family shows and events planned to keep you entertained.

THEATRE

Listing Details

Show: Hawk Dance Theatre & The Knotted Project present The Chit Chat Chalk Show
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Tuesday 13th February
Times: 11:30am and 2pm
Tickets: £9/ £7/ Family Club £4.50
Recommended for ages 3-8
Duration: Approximately 60 mins

On Tuesday 13th February, the Hawk Dance Theatre & The Knotted Project present 'The Chit Chat Chalk Show', where you can join their magical chalky adventure!

Kiko is a confused young girl, struggling to understand how she feels about the strange new world she lives in. With her new friends, she embarks upon a quest to discover the mixture of emotions and colours that make her unique! The story dances, draws and giggles its way through from beginning to end. It's sure to put a smile on faces, young and old!

In the Robert Bolt Theatre.


Listing Details

Show: Spark the Goblin Wizard
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Friday 16th February
Times: 11am and 2:30pm
Tickets: £9/ £7/ Family Club £4.50
Recommended for ages 5+
Duration: Approximately 65 mins including interval.

On Friday 16th February, Spark the Goblin Wizard will be bringing his magic to Waterside and will be sure to provide plenty of laughs in this performance that is written and performed by Dommy B.

Spark's magic can turn anything into anything. He'll turn bogeys up his nose into some pink ribbons and bows. He'll make a gorgeous high-heeled shoe out of a pile of donkey poo... However, something strange and terrible begins to happen in Spark's forest. With lyrics, laughs and lots of joining in, poet Dommy B needs your help to save the day!

In the Chambers.




COMEDY

Listing Details

COMEDYSPORTZ 4 TOTS
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Saturday 10th February
Time: 3pm
Tickets: £5/£3
Recommended for ages 6 & under
Duration: 45 minutes

ComedySportz are bringing a brand new show packed with silly games and songs for even younger audiences. Highly interactive, this friendly, non-competitive version of the show will delight and entertain with madcap, improvised games with plenty of physicality, stories, songs, silly noises and big laughs. Join in as much as you want!

In the Chambers.

Listing Details

COMEDYSPORTZ
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Saturday 10th February
Time: 6:30pm
Tickets: £7/£5
Recommended for ages 7+
Duration: 2 hours including interval

ComedySportz is an all ages, all improvised show where two teams battle it out for laughs as players create quick-witted sketches, scenes and songs from whatever suggestions are thrown at them by the audience. It's a show that's fast, feel good and always unpredictably funny. There's a referee on hand to steer the entertainment, call any fouls and help the audience decide the winner.

In the Chambers.



FAMILY FILM

Listing Details

Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Saturday 17th February
Time: 2pm
Tickets: £5/£2.50 Family Club Members
Rating: U
Duration: 1 hour 30 mins

Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru, who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.

About Family Club

You can join Waterside's popular Family Club for just £7.50 per family per year for exclusive offers on theatre shows, special events, half price family films and over half price entry to art club. You can find out more at watersidearts.org/familyclub


Disclaimer: Shows/Dates/Times listing are correct at time of writing, but I would always suggest checking the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

My 2018 Travel Bucket List

My husband and I both recently had a chat about places we would like to visit, or destinations we would like to return to. This is a conversation we have had regularly over the years and our opinions and thoughts have changed over time, especially since having children. I therefore set about writing my ultimate travel bucket list of places that I would love to visit in 2018. Some of these destinations are places that my husband and I have visited before, but would like to return to again with the kids, whilst others are places I have always dreamed of exploring.

Dubai 

Back in 2005, when my husband and I got married, we embarked on a luxurious honeymoon where we booked round the world flights and visited five different destinations that included Los Angeles, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore & Dubai. The whole trip was amazing, but Dubai in particular was just incredible with the hot sands, crystal clear waters, superb shopping centres and some of the nicest food we have ever tasted. Every person we met was so friendly, it felt incredibly safe and it really is a stunning place. Since then, we have seen Dubai tourism continue to grow and have seen just how much there is now on offer for families too. Whilst our dream holiday 12 years ago was all about the luxury and relaxation, Dubai is now on my bucket list for the fun, entertainment, waterparks and beach activities that are all on offer for a great family holiday.

Atlantis - The Palm certainly ticks all the boxes for me, offering the perfect combination of 5 star luxury with the added bonus of a wide range of family friendly attractions. It would be incredible to go swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, enjoy the thrilling rides at Aquaventure and be wowed by the 65,000 incredible marine animals in The Lost Chambers Aquarium. The fact that there is also a kids club with an extensive activity schedule would also guarantee my husband and I some quality time together, whilst knowing our children were being well taken care of. It would be lovely to enjoy just a couple of hours of relaxation in the spa together, or have an evening meal in one of the restaurants, making it the perfect holiday for both kids and grown ups.

Although we have visited Dubai before, I have no doubt that it has changed considerably since our last visit. It would be amazing to see how the skyline has changed, as well as visiting all the new attractions on offer. A sunset boat ride would certainly be a treat for all of us, in addition to a Dubai Desert Safari where we could ride over the dunes and enjoy a delicious evening barbecue dinner.

Does any of this make you want to try Dubai? If so then Destination2 Holidays have some great deals, as well as lots of other ideas for places to stay or visit.

Photo Credit: Christoph Schulz on Unsplash.
The Maldives

The Maldives is one of those idyllic picture postcard places that just looks stunning. With beautiful white sandy beaches reaching into the Indian Ocean and luxurious resorts situated on their own private islands, it is definitely a destination where you can indulge and relax whilst enjoying the tropical climate.

If my husband and I were to travel without the children, perhaps as a second honeymoon for our anniversary, then The Maldives would probably be our first choice for an adult escape. Whilst a lot of the resorts do offer activities for children, I can just picture myself enjoying the peace and quiet whilst sunbathing by a stunning water bungalow.

Although a peaceful romantic break here sounds perfect, there is also plenty to do to keep us entertained such as snorkelling or diving and exploring the coral reefs. A speedboat trip to the capital of Male would also be amazing, so that we could enjoy the local culture and shop in the markets.

With such a wide choice of resorts to stay in, the only difficulty would be having to pick just one.

Photo credit: Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash
Thailand

Next on my bucket list is Thailand, which is a destination that I have not had the chance to visit before. You may be starting to see a theme with my list, since they all feature beautiful sandy beaches, however I have actually picked Thailand for a few different reasons.

Of course the beaches would be stunning, but Thailand is a place that I would love to visit with my children because of the wide range of diversity and cultural history. With so many places in Thailand to choose from, I think I would definitely consider a multi-centre holiday in this destination in order to make the most of our trip. Koh Samui definitely appeals to me because of its pristine beaches and luxury resorts, but at the same time I think Phuket would also be a great place for some family fun thanks to the water sports and theme parks on offer.

A trip to a temple would be a must do activity to learn more about the history in the area. I also know that my children would love to see some elephants. I wouldn't want to ride an elephant or go on an elephant safari, but perhaps a trip to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary would be ideal. This would allow us to see some rescued elephants being cared for, whilst watching them enjoy their surroundings at a respectable distance away. I believe this would be both educational and inspiring for all of us.

Another reason I would love to visit Thailand is the cuisine. I love food and I love trying new flavours and ingredients, so it would be the perfect opportunity to try out some of the delicious dishes available.

Photo credit: Peter Nguyen on Unsplash
Singapore

Singapore is somewhere my husband and I have visited before on our honeymoon, however this was the fourth destination on our travels and by this point we were so tired that we literally spent our days sunbathing by the pool. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and we had a really enjoyable time, I do feel as though we missed an opportunity to go exploring and head into the city to see the sights. For this reason Singapore is definitely on my travel bucket list for 2018.

We previously stayed on Sentosa Island which boasts some fantastic hotels and attractions, but I would love to return to the city with our children and show them some of the amazing architecture as well as visit Orchard Road. For some excitement and adventure we could visit Universal Studios Singapore™ and KidZania and for a more relaxing day out, then a trip to Gardens by the Bay would be a must.

Gardens by the Bay is located next to the Marina Reservoir and covers a staggering 101 hectares. Featuring a wide array of floral displays, trees, plants and unique features such as the Flower Dome, and the world's tallest indoor waterfall.

In terms of a hotel, I think I would choose a city centre hotel with an outdoor pool. There is so much to see and do in the area that I would want to concentrate more on exploring than relaxing if we were to return.

Which countries would you put on your 2018 Travel Bucket List? Have you visited any of the places I have mentioned?

Photo credit: Mo Baghdadi on Unsplash
*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post with Destination2.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 - Competition

As a family we love to go camping and have also owned tourer caravans and hired motorhomes in the past. All of these are a great way of getting out and about and enjoying weekend breaks or holidays together. We have therefore teamed up with the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018, to give away 5 pairs of tickets to the show, which is taking place at the Birmingham NEC from the 20th to the 25th February 2018.

All the new season tents, trailer tents and folding caravans are displayed, together with camping and outdoor leisure accessories and, of course, the UK's largest exhibition line-up of caravans, motorhomes, campervans, caravan holiday homes and lodges.

Visitors can try their hand at motorhome manoeuvring, campervan test driving, and caravan towing* as well as exploring UK and overseas camping destinations. Whether new to camping and leisure vehicle holidays or an avid adventurer, the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 offers staycation inspiration and advice for all.


With encouraging everyone to spend '24 hours outdoors ' in 2018, a theme of this year's show, the Discovery Theatre's celebrity line-up includes inspiring and informative talks from a number of renowned names. Adventurers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Anna McNuff share tales of their epic expeditions, whilst Rowland Rivron, Monica Rivron, Matt Allwright, Katie Chapman and Monty Halls also appear.

An array of cookery experts take to the stage throughout the show's six days, sharing quick and easy on-the-go recipes. See demonstrations from celebrity chefs such as Rustie Lee, Dean Edwards, Paul Da Costa Greaves, Chris Bavin and more.

With new-for-2018 attractions including a skate rink and Holiday Park Experience as well as favourites such as an assault course and climbing wall, there's plenty of free activities to enjoy. Also pitching up are The Camping and Caravanning Club and the Caravan and Motorhome Club offering thousands of camping destinations at home and abroad, while partners such as The Woodland Trust offer inspiration on walks and getting outdoors.


Tickets can be purchased online at www.ccmshow.co.uk or by phone on 0844 873 7333. Children aged 15 and under enter for FREE!

*Driving licence required.

As mentioned previously, we have a fantastic competition for our readers, to give you the chance to win a pair of tickets to the show. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and then complete your entry using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win a Pair of Tickets to the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show 2018

Terms and Conditions from the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018
  • Tickets are to be collected at the press office at the NEC, the press office is located outside Hall 4, suites 4.8 and 4.9. It is accessible from within the hall during the following hours. You can choose which day you want to visit:
Tuesday 20th: 09:45 - 17:00
Wednesday 21st: 09:45 - 17:00
Thursday 22nd:  09:45 - 17:00
Friday 23rd: 09:45 - 17:00
Saturday 24th: 09:45 - 17:00
Sunday 25th: 09:45 - 12:00

  • £7.00 Senior (Over 60s), £8.00 Adult when booking before 23:59hrs 19/02/18 after which time prices revert to the on-the-door price of £9.00 Senior and £10.00 Adult. A £1.25 transaction fee applies. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge. Car parking is included in the ticket price. No dogs (except assistance dogs). Children 15 years and under go free when accompanied by a paying Adult/Senior. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for monetary value. For full terms and conditions please visit www.ccmshow.co.uk.
Competition Terms and Conditions
  • There are five (5) prizes each consisting of a pair of adult entry tickets to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome show 2018. 
  • Tickets can be used on one (1) day of the show only between the show dates of 20th-25th February 2018 at the Birmingham NEC venue.
  • Competition closes on 10th February and winners shall be notified by email.
  • Winners will have 24 hours to respond to the winning email notification before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries, so please remember to check your emails on this day to see if you are a lucky winner.
  • Email address will be collected for the purpose of contacting winners only and will not be shared/sold to a third party.
  • Winners names only will be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and ticket collection.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • The winner shall be required to collect their tickets from the press office at the show. Tickets will NOT be posted out.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • There will be no contribution made towards travel.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Dates for your Diary: Bing Live! Visits Two North West Venues - Chester & St Helens - September 2018

Calling all Bingsters! Bing and his friends are going on tour in the first ever Bing Stage Show! Bing Live! will visit Storyhouse, Chester on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th September, as well as hopping on over to St Helens Theatre Royal on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th September as part of a major UK tour in 2018.

Joing Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they learn how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs. Flop and Amma are there to help, but in this magical world of make-believe things don't always go according to plan...

The CBeebies favourites are brought to life in a brand new stage production full of fun, laughter, music and magical puppetry. Bing Live! is the perfect first theatre trip for pre-schoolers and their families.

Going to the theatre....it's a Bing thing!


Bing Live! is produced by Minor Entertainment (In the Night Garden Live) and directed by Will Tuckett, guest principal character artist of the Royal Ballet, whose production of Wind in the Willows won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment in 2014.

The show will also bring together a first-class creative team to ensure a quality family entertainment stage show for audiences of all ages. Bing is adapted for the stage by Helen Eastman with costumes and puppet design by Tahra Zafar. As Head of Costume, Hair and Make-Up for the Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies staged in London, 2012, Tahra managed the production of 23,000 costumes for all four cereomonies. Her film projects include: Star Wars VII The Force Awakens, X-Men First Class, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and The Fifth Element and for television: In the Night Garden, Zingzillas and The Adventures of Abney and Teal.

Since it's launch on CBeebies, Bing has been a huge ratings hit and it's the number one top rated pre-school show on BBC iPlayer. Celebrating the joyful, messy, reality of preschool life, Bing finds the big stories in the smallest moments that little ones and the grown-ups in their lives will recognise....whether it's dropping your ice-cream or losing your favourite toy.

The series has won an International Emmy Award in the Kids' Pre-School category in 2016, a Writer's Guild Award and a BAFTA nomination for Best Pre-School Series. The animated series, which saw Mark Rylance make his children's television debut voicing Flop, is produced by Acamar Films.

Andrew Collier, Creative Director of Minor Entertainment, said "We're thrilled to be bringing Bing to the stage - we know families throughout the UK love Bing as much as we do, and we can't wait to see children's faces light up when they meet him at the theatre for the first time."

Michael Shields, CEO of Acamar Films and producer of Bing said: "Seeing Bing take a leap from the screen to the stage is hugely exciting for all of us at Acamar. We are thrilled to be working with Minor Entertainment to bring the 'Bing Live' shows to our young audience. Introducing Bing fans to possibly their first experience of theatre is a tremendous creative challenge and Minor has shown imaginative flair, exceptional attention to detail, and their passion for bringing preschool characters to life has been evident throughout our collaboration with them. We can't wait to watch the reaction from Bingsters to seeing Bing and Flop on stage next year."

For further information on the show, please visit www.bingliveshow.com

Listing Details

Chester

Venue - Storyhouse Chester, Hunter Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2AR
Show - Bing Live!
Dates - Wednesday 5th September to Thursday 6th September
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Tickets - Adults £18.50/Children £16.50
Box Office - 01244 409113
Storyhouse website - www.storyhouse.com
Twitter - @StoryhouseLive
Facebook - StoryhouseLive

St Helens

Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ
Show - Bing Live!
Dates - Tuesday 18th September to Wednesday 19th September
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Tickets - Prices vary

Box Office - 01744 756000
Website - www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH
Facebook - www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

*Disclaimer - Information correct at time of writing, however I would always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

February Half Term Fun with WayWord Family Arts Festival at Storyhouse, Chester - 17th to 24th February

If you are looking for something fun to do with the kids this February Half Term (17th to 24th Feb), then the multi award-winning Storyhouse Chester have recently revealed a fantastic line-up of events for families to enjoy.

Family arts festival, WayWord, is now in its 5th year and is a week long festival that is dedicated to families and children. For seven days, Storyhouse in Chester will have a programme, featuring performances, workshops, children's illustrators, writers and discos.

Alex Clifton, artistic director at Storyhouse said: "We are so excited to be bringing our family festival to Storyhouse for the first time. WayWord is a celebration of ideas, of playing, being creative, learning and having fun together."

Gruffalo Illustrator Axel Scheffler will be coming to Chester on the 22nd February to talk about his latest book with Smartie winner Julia Donaldson - The Ugly Five. Waterstones Children's Book Winner, Jonny Duddle will also be returning to the festival to discuss his latest adventure in the pirate world Scurvy Sands.

There will be performances for families to enjoy in Storyhouse's theatre - Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs based on the bestselling picture books will be on stage on Tuesday 20th February and beatboxer Lee Gibling will perform and give a workshop on Saturday 17th February. Musicians, Kabantu return to Chester to perform a concert followed by a music-making workshop for ages 4+. There will also be lectures on the Science of Doctor Who and Star Wars.

New for 2018 is WayWord Flicks - a selection of family favourite short films, screened on Storyhouse's Big Screen located in the art deco foyer. Price includes a ticket, headsets for audio and a snack.

Workshops will feature throughout the week: Storyhouse's in house dance theatre company Fallen Angels are doing a dance workshop for all the family on Monday 19th February. Creaters of Wallace and Gromit  Aardman Studios will lead a session on clay modelling. Acapella singer James Sills will do a workshop on performing songs from musicals, followed by a performance in the Garret. There will also be a hip-hop dance workshop, plus code a drone, Lego stop motion and computer game design.

The return of 'play in a day' on Saturday 24th February, sees participants work with theatre makers to write, rehearse and perform a play in a day. Storyhouse's Atrium will welcome families to dance together at the Silent Disco and Artful Playground will perform with their swing band.

Festival favourite Den Building returns for its 5th year and families will come together to create incredible hiding spaces. Storytelling is at the heart of the programme with sessions daily in Storyhouse's children's library - The Den. There will also be Caveman parties, a puzzle/board game library, puzzle room - like a children's Crystal Maze and free themed arts and crafts including kite, dreamcatcher and puppet making.

Storyhouse's independent cinema will be screening kids movies: Aardman's latest film Early Man, plus documentary Jane and classic reissue Doctor Dolittle.

Tickets start at only £4. To find out more and to view the full schedule of events, please visit the Storyhouse website or visit their social media pages which can all be found here:

Storyhouse website - www.storyhouse.com
Twitter - @StoryhouseLive
Facebook - StoryhouseLive

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Dates for your Diary - Gangsta Granny at Storyhouse, Chester on the 11th-14th April

David Walliams' comic creation Gangsta Granny will soon be heading on a madcap adventure, to steal all of the laughs at Storyhouse Chester this April.

Birmingham Stage Company - the acclaimed producers of Horrible Histories, George's Marvellous Medicine and Tom's Midnight Garden - are bringing their hugely successful stage version of David Walliams' Gangsta Granny to Storyhouse from the 11th to the 14th April 2018.

Gangsta Granny tells the story of Ben and his grandmother. It's Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing - staying with Granny! There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake, and Ben knows one thing for sure, it's going to be so boring. But what Ben doesn't know is that Granny has a secret - and Friday nights are about to get more exciting that he could ever imagine as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny! "All you can do in this life is follow your dreams. Otherwise you're just wasting your time" Gangsta Granny.

Walliams, one of the judges on the popular Britain's Got Talent TV Show and creator of the ground-breaking comedy series Little Britain and Big School, is now the best-selling author for children in the country.

He began his publishing career at Harper Collins in early 2008 with his debut novel The Boy in the Dress. Then, after writing two other popular stories, he published Gangsta Granny in 2011, which was shortlisted for both The Red House Children's Book Award and for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. The book also soared straight to number 1 in the children's book charts and his books have been translated into no fewer than 50 languages.

At Christmas 2013 a TV version of Gangsta Granny was shown on BBC One with an all-star cast including David Walliams himself.

David Walliams said at the first night of Gangsta Granny from the stage at Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre: "What a fantastic show! It's truly brilliant! And so much better than the book!"

Photo Credit: Mark Douet
Gangsta Granny is a must for all families as the show will be enjoyed by everyone from 5 to 105! It's both laugh out loud funny and thrilling but also features some very moving and truthful things to say about family relationships. Having premiered in 2015, the show has been touring the UK ever since and has also enjoyed a West End season throughout Summer 2017.

Tickets are on sale now with all the listing details you need below:

Listing Details

Show - Gangsta Granny
Venue - Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR
Date - Wednesday 11th April to Saturday 14th April
Times - Evenings 7pm / Thursday, Friday & Saturday Matinees at 2pm
Ticket Prices - From £20.50. Children's tickets from £16.50.
Box Office - 01244 409113
Website - www.storyhouse.com

Photo Credit: Mark Douet

Friday, 26 January 2018

Becoming Nature Detectives with The Woodland Trust

We are regular visitors to our local woods at Wepre Park, which is packed full of wildlife, adventure and history. Based in Connah's Quay in Flintshire, we find it a great place to go for a few hours at the weekend as there is always plenty to see and do, as well as it being a completely free activity for us to enjoy as a family. The ancient woodland is extensive and a long winding path leads you through the trees, past the red rocks and up to the ruins of Ewloe Castle. We often finish our walks through the woods with a trip to the visitor centre for an ice cream and my children enjoy some time on the park. We always have a great time on our trips to Wepre, however last weekend it was made even more enjoyable with the help of the Woodland Trust.

The Woodland Trust are the UK's largest woodland conservation charity, that currently boasts over 500,000 members. The charities aim is to protect woods, restore ancient woodland and create new native woodland that all helps to benefit wildlife and people.

We became aware of their Nature Detectives membership scheme for children, which helps them to discover more about woods and trees, as well as the wildlife that depend on them. For the very reasonable price of £1.50 a month (and an extra £1 for each additional sibling), members receive a lovely Nature Detectives welcome folder that includes the following:

  • An action-packed activity booklet
  • Stickers
  • Nature Detectives Passport
  • A bookmark
Nature Detectives then receive a new pack every season, posted directly to members four times per year, with each set containing more new fun activities to enjoy. The Woodland Trust also keeps members up to date with details of family-friendly events, as well as regular updates full of fun facts and fresh ideas.



Emma, Ben and Riley each received their welcome pack through the post and the first thing they all picked up was the activity booklet. The opening page had a space for a tree photo diary, which I thought was a lovely idea. Basically you choose your favourite tree, stand next to it and smile. Then simply print the photo out and place it in the space provided. Each time you receive a new activity booklet, you just repeat the process and then you can look back on how both you and the tree have changed over time. The welcome page also provides you with details of the website where you can go online to download some activity sheets. We managed to get some great ideas off the site including bark rubbing, pine cone painting and even how to make a simple birdfeeder.

The booklet also contained a colouring page and lots of fun facts. When you complete the activities you can award yourself a sticker, which you then place in your Nature Detectives passport. Emma absolutely loves art so this was the first activity she chose to complete and awarded herself the Arts & Crafts sticker. Some fun games were also provided in the book including the Wild Woodland Race, a Tree Wordsearch, Caterpillar Maze and a fun Who Am I? quiz. The last couple of pages gave us lots of ideas for building an outdoor den using long sticks and branches, as well as leaves, grass and moss for the roof. Unfortunately it was a bit too wet the day we visited the woods, but den building is definitely something we will try on a drier day.

We took our booklets and Nature Detectives passports out with us on our most recent visit, as well as some handy Woodland Trust Swatch Books which are available from the Woodland Trust online shop here for £4.99 each - Woodland Trust Shop



The swatch books we took with us were Minibeasts, Leaf Identification and my boys favourite which was Poos & Clues! As soon as we got to the woods, we set about being nature detectives and looking for clues that we could identify. It didn't take long for us to spot our first clue thanks to a dog owner who was obviously caring enough to take their dog for a walk, but not kind enough to pick up their business after them! With the most obvious clue out of the way, we wanted to focus more on the wildlife and so we walked down towards the waterfall and stream as we knew this would probably be a good place to spot some footprints in the nearby mud.




As we made our way to the waters edge, we spotted some scratch marks on a tree that looked very similar to the badger scratches in the swatch book. A few people had spotted us looking for clues and two very nice ladies stopped to ask us more about what we were doing and to ask where we got the books from. They also pointed us in the direction of where they had seen badgers before and gave us suggestions of where we may find some setts that we could spot from a safe distance.


We continued our search along the muddy woodland path and found some very small footprints that we think could have possibly belonged to a rat or large mouse. We also found what we think was possibly a fox footprint (the boys are convinced it matched the picture in the book) but with so many dogs around it could have quite have easily been a paw print. If you look slightly to the left of the centre in the image below, this is the print that they found. What do you think?


As I mentioned previously the Woodland Trust Nature Detectives website also features lots of fun ideas to try. These are all really cost effective ways of keeping the kids entertained and they are also categorized into age groups so it makes it easy to find something age appropriate for your child. You can also filter your activity results by season, key stage, activity type and topic, meaning that there is always something different to try no matter what time of year.

If you would like to find out more about Woodland Trust Nature Detectives then you can visit their site here to obtain further information - www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/. The Nature Detectives Membership targets three age groups which are 0-2, 3-5 and 6+ so even the youngest members of the family can join in the fun.

Alternatively you can find out more about joining here: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/naturedetectives/join/form/

If you are unsure where your nearest woods are, then there is also a handy map tool here, where you can just enter your postcode and it will tell you where woodland around your area is located.

Overall we had a fantastic time becoming Woodland Trust Nature Detectives and my children found the activities we tried, really fun and interesting. My youngest son has asked to visit another local park in the next couple of weeks so that we can have a look around some new woodland surroundings, which I think is a great idea. We are now also going to make a habit of downloading a new activity sheet each time we visit some woods, so that we always have something different to enjoy. I think that the membership fee of only £1.50 a month is great value and also helps to contribute to the charity and their efforts to help protect the UK's woodland and wildlife.



Disclaimer: My children were provided with the initial welcome pack, along with some additional swatch books for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Making my money go further with the January Sale at B&M Stores

With Christmas out of the way, January brings another two expensive events for our family as my son Ben has his birthday at the beginning of the month, followed by my other son Riley a couple of weeks later. This means that we really need to budget well over Christmas and throughout January, to make sure we can afford everything to make our boys birthdays special.

One thing that really assists us with this is the January sales, as we are able to pick up some great bargains that can help us to save money and prevents us from having to spend too much. One of our favourite stores to go bargain hunting in is B&M Stores as we have a huge shop just less than a mile away from our home and there is always plenty in store. We particularly love their homeware range and toys selection as there is a great choice to choose from, which helps to make a shopping trip enjoyable.

My youngest son Riley absolutely loves building, this can be anything from constructing vehicles, to creating little houses. He will use anything he can find to do this including building bricks, wooden blocks or even cardboard boxes that he quickly takes from me when any post arrives! I therefore recently visited my local B&M Stores to look for some construction toys that I could add to his birthday present collection. There was certainly no shortage of items to choose from! After a good browse around, I found some fantastic bargains that were just perfect for what I had in mind. For less than £20, I managed to pick up this fantastic haul:


Firstly I noticed the Brick by Brick Police Mission set on the top shelf. I saw the £14.99 price sticker, but underneath there was a large mega value label on the shelf stating a price of only £6.99. I thought this was actually an error as it seemed so cheap, so I grabbed one of the boxes and took it to the till to have it price checked. I couldn't believe it when the shop assistant confirmed the price.


The set contained a humongous 487 pieces which gave you the opportunity to build all the following items:

  • 1 x Police Station
  • 1 x Police Helicopter
  • 1 x Police Transporter
  • 1 x Police Motorbike
  • 1 x Police Car

The set also came complete with 6 individual figures and a set of instructions. It also stated on the box that it was compatible with other brick brands, so this meant that Riley could combine these bricks with his existing toys and that sounded like a winner to me!

On my return to the toy aisle, I noticed that there were some different sets in the same range. Realising that this was a bargain not to be missed, I had a look at the other choices that were available. One of them consisted of a dinosaur and some vehicles and the other was of a construction yard. I decided to opt for the construction set as Riley loves diggers and again I was very impressed with what the box included.


The Brick by Brick Site Crew Collection contained 448 pieces which allowed you to build the following:
  • 1 x Building
  • 1 x Scaffolding
  • 1 x Crane
  • 1 x Excavator
  • 1 x Heavy Load Transporter
Again this box also included six figures and a set of instructions to help with the building process. This meant that for only £13.98 I had managed to purchase over 900 building bricks. Bargain!

I also wanted to buy some large base plates for Riley to build on, I wasn't sure if B&M would sell these, but I soon found them located a little further down the same aisle.


These base plates were only £2.99 each and were ideal for Riley to be able to build his creations on. We have only had smaller base plates previously, but these were really large and meant that he would be able to build several buildings on them with ease. I opted for two different colours just for some variation and again I was pleased to see that these were compatible with other building block brands. This took the total price for all of thes items to only £19.96 which I think is excellent value for money!

B&M is now one of the leading variety retailers in the UK and it is easy to see why. Stocking a great range of both value and top brand products, there are now an incredible 560 stores across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you aren't sure where your nearest one is, then you can use this handy store finder tool that is available on the B&M Stores website.

As you can see I chose to make my money go that bit further by purchasing some toys that I know Riley will love. However, B&M also have some amazing products across all their ranges in the January Sale and you can view some of these online on their website, or keep up to date with the latest offers by following the B&M Social Media Channels which are:

Website - B&M Stores
Facebook - facebook.com/bmstores
Twitter - @BMStores


*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post with B&M Stores. I received £20 vouchers to purchase items of my choice for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Let's Go PJ Masks DVD Review & Competition

If you are a regular reader to the blog, then you will know that Riley is a huge PJ Masks fan. I am pretty sure he has seen all the current episodes and he also has a great collection of figures and toys. In addition to this, he also told me that he regularly plays PJ Masks with his friends at school, where they pretend to be the different characters and "Go into the night, to save the day!" whilst running around the playground.

Last October we reviewed the PJ Masks Time to be a Hero DVD which has seen plenty of use over the last couple of months. Riley was therefore delighted to receive the brand new Entertainment One (eOne) PJ Masks DVD in the post this weekend called Let's Go PJ Masks. Our previous DVD was packed full of crime-fighting and adventurous fun and so we were looking forward to watching the PJ Masks trio solve some more mysteries and work together as a team.

We had been busy building dens in the living room hidden away from the pouring rain outside, so Riley's special delivery came just at the right time as I handed him his parcel from the postman. With the den, blankets and snacks at the ready, it was the perfect setting for enjoying some superhero fun!



If you are unfamiliar with the series, then PJ Masks depicts the tales of Conor, Amaya and Greg who by day are three normal school kids but by night, if the city is in danger the trio put on their pyjamas and activate their animal amulets. They magically transform into their superhero alter-egos: Catboy, Owlette and Gekko and together make an unstoppable team.


The episodes featured on this DVD are:
  • Gekko & the Snore-A-Saurus - Luna Girl turns a sleep-walking Cameron into her very own human puppet. It's up to PJ Masks to save the day...but Gekko has to stop messing around first!
  • Catboy and the Shrinker - Romeo and Night Ninja team up to shrink the PJ Masks with Romeo's shrinker invention. When Catboy gets shrunk, he forgets that even a little guy can save the day...if he can use his small size to his advantage.
  • Blame it on the Train, Owlette - When the new Fairground Flyer Train goes missing from the fair, Owlette is determined to get it back quickly. But if she wants to defeat Romeo's new super train, she'll need to learn that a little patience goes a long way.
  • Looking after Gekko - When Night Ninja steals the school bus and converts it into his very own super-vehicle, it's up to our heroes to stop him in his tracks. But for that to happen, Gekko needs to learn that asking for help doesn't make you weak.
  • Catboy's Tricky Ticket - Catboy only has two tickets to the Jayden Houston concert and has to decide which of his best friends to take to the show. Owlette and Gekko offer him presents to sway his decision and Catboy's newfound greed could ensure Luna Girl ruins the concert for good.
  • Clumsy Catboy - Romeo plans to use his newest device to make everyone in the world so clumsy that they can't stop him from taking over the world. But when agile Catboy is the first to be "clumsified", he can't admit it and tries to save the day without any help.

With a running time of 72 minutes, it is the perfect length to keep little ones entertained (whilst also allowing us parents a few moments of peace)! It has a U rating, so it is suitable for all the family to enjoy and I must admit that I quite like watching the episodes too.

Riley's favourite character is Gekko, so as I read the list of episodes to him, he was excited that the first episode was all about Gekko and the Snore-A-Saurus. The title alone captured his attention and so we lay in the den together to begin our PJ Masks episode marathon. One element of the show that I particularly like is that there is usually an underlying message in the episodes that not only teaches the PJ Masks trio some valuable lessons, but also gives children watching the programme something to think about. 


Riley thoroughly enjoyed all the episodes and as well as finding the DVD entertaining, he thought some parts of the show were really funny too. His favourite episode was Looking After Gekko, which he asked to watch again several times after the full DVD had finished. Featuring vibrant and loveable characters, it is easy to see why PJ Masks is so popular with young children. The episodes on this DVD are great fun and packed full of adventure and excitement that I know Riley will want to watch over and over again.

If the action-packed DVD itself isn't enough, then children will also love the fun free stickers that are enclosed. These are great for making a little PJ Masks picture or could even be used to decorate the DVD case and add a personal touch.


The DVD is available to purchase and download from 5th February, with Amazon currently offering buyers the chance to pre-order it for only £7.99!

If you are feeling lucky however, then why not enter our fantastic competition below, for your chance to win your very own copy of the DVD. Simply have a read through the T&C's and then enter using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win a Let's Go PJ Masks DVD

Terms & Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a Let's Go PJ Masks DVD.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or older.
  • Competition closes on Sunday 11th February at 12 noon. The winner shall be drawn at random and contacted by email within two working days.
  • The winner shall have 14 days to reply to the winning email notification to claim their prize, before an alternative winner from the remaining eligible entries is drawn.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • The winners details only shall be shared with the promoter, for the purpose of prize fulfilment.
  • Please allow up to 28 days for delivery.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary copy of the DVD for review purposes. This post contains an affiliate link. Price of £7.99 correct at time of writing 23/01/2018 but may be subject to change.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Dates for your Diary - Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment - Liverpool Echo Arena 11th-15th April

When my children and I visited Liverpool's Echo Arena to watch Disney on Ice presents Frozen back in 2016, my four year old son Riley was mesmerised by the bright and beautiful characters, elegantly skating across the ice. It is an event that he regularly still talks about and I can completely understand why. There was definitely something very magical about listening to Let It Go, whilst watching the performers on the ice. We were therefore over the moon to discover that Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment, will be skating back into the Echo Arena this April featuring a whole host of Disney character favourites.

Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favourite Disney stories when Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment comes to Echo Arena Liverpool from Wednesday 11th April until Sunday 15th April. This action-packed ice spectactular showcases beloved characters from Disney•Pixar's Cars, Toy Story 3, Disney's The Little Mermaid and the Academy Award®-winning Frozen. Plus, don't miss the chance to warm up alongside Disney On Ice stars at the Fit to Dance pre-show!


Get ready to enter a dazzling world of Disney Magic, live on ice where Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney•Pixar's Cars perform high-speed stunts and race across the ice like you've never seen before! Be amazed and join Ariel as she dives into the underwater kingdom of Disney's The Little Mermaid. Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and other favourites from the Toy Story gang as they try and escape from Sunnyside Daycare in one of their most daring adventures ever from Disney•Pixar's Toy Story 3 - proving that the toys are back in town! Then enter the wintery world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa from the BAFTA and Academy Award® winning, number one animated feature film of all time, Disney's Frozen. Join Anna as she embarks on an epic journey with the hilarious snowman Olaf and rugged mountain-man Kristoff to find her sister, the magical Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter.


Even before this magical journey begins, Disney fans will get moving and shaking alongside Disney on Ice stars during the new, high-energy Fit to Dance pre-show to get the crowd fit and active whilst having fun!

"Worlds of Enchantment connects classic and new Disney stories," says Producer Kenneth Feld. "Audiences will be blown away in Radiator Springs when they encounter the unforgettable crew of animated cars, built to scale and live on ice. They will will see their all-time favourites like The Little Mermaid and discover the world Arendelle in Frozen."

From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, see some of your family's favourite Disney moments come to life in Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment!

Listing Details

Show - Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment
Dates - Wednesday 11th April to Sunday 15th April
Times - Wed, Thurs, Fri: 6:30pm / Sat & Sun: 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm
Venue - Echo Arena Liverpool, Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP

Tickets - £18 to £43*
Family packages are also available.
* Plus booking fee

For the complete list of tour dates, please visit www.disneyonice.co.uk

You can also keep up to date with the latest developments on social media by visiting the following channels:

Facebook - www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIceUK
Twitter - @DisneyOnIce #WorldsofEnchantment
YouTube - www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram - @DisneyOnIce


Sunday, 21 January 2018

Dates for your Diary - Cinderella at St Helens Theatre Royal - 24th March to 15th April

Boot-scoot on down to St Helens Theatre Royal this Easter as Regal Entertainments are egg-static to announce that Steps pop-group member Lee Latchford-Evans will play the role of Prince Charming in their panto, Cinderella.

Guaranteed to be Steps above the rest, the show will be on stage from Saturday 24th March to Sunday 15th April, and tickets are on sale now.

Best known as one fifth of pop-phenomenon Steps, Lee has and still is achieving incredible success with the Brit award-winning band, selling in excess of 20 million records worldwide with famous hits such as Stomp, It's the Way You Make Me Feel, 5, 6, 7, 8, and recent iTunes Number 1 single Scared of the Dark. The band recently released their fifth studio album, Tears on the Dancefloor last April which also hit Number 1 on the UK iTunes chart and has since gone Gold. Steps recently completed their Party on the Dancefloor UK tour selling out 22 arenas across the UK & Ireland.

No stranger to panto, Lee has starred in Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast amongst others. The star has also appeared on the St Helens Theatre Royal stage as love lothario Bob, in Regal Entertainments' 2015 production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too! Other stage productions include Bill Kenwright's All Creatures Great and Small, and the West End production of Grease the Musical.

Lee said: "I'm really excited to be back performing at St Helens Theatre Royal. I received such a warm welcome from audiences when I was there in 2015 in Rita, Sue and Bob Too! This time I'm playing Prince Charming, I absolutely love pantomime it's a great fun way to give the audience some escapism and the atmosphere is always incredible."

"What makes it that little bit more special, being from Ellesmere Port, it's like performing to a home-town crowd. I cannot wait! I'll be seeing you at Easter, St Helens!"

Chantelle Nolan, Theatre Manager added: "I am delighted to announce Lee Latchford-Evans is playing the role of Prince Charming in our magical Easter Panto this year. We can't wait to hear his fantastic voice, and see some of those classic dance moves he's been showing off on tour this last year!"

The rest of the show's STEP-tacular all-star cast will be announced in the coming weeks, so Lee will soon know who will be playing his Dancing Queen at the Grand Ball.

Cinderella tells the story of a beautiful girl who is reduced to a life of servitude by her 2 ugly step-sisters, but that will all change when an invitation to a grand ball at the palace arrives. With a bit of magic and some help from her friend Buttons, Cinderella is transformed into the belle of the ball. But what will happen at the stroke of midnight?

Enchanted pumpkins, glass slippers, a sparking fairy-tale carriage and lots of fun to entertain the whole family, be sure to book tickets early. It would be a tragedy to miss it.

Cinderella runs from Saturday 24th March to Sunday 15th April and tickets are on sale now!

Listing Details

Show - Regal Entertainments Ltd presents Cinderella
Dates - Saturday 24th March to Sunday 15th April
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ

Tickets - From £13*
*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

Box Office - 01744 756000
Website - www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH
Facebook - www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Dates for your Diary - The Wizard of Oz at St Helens Theatre Royal from 13th-18th February

Get ready to go on a magical adventure over the rainbow with Regal Entertainments and their enchanting February Half Term pantomime production of The Wizard of Oz. The show will be heading to the St Helens Theatre Royal from Tuesday 13th February to Sunday 18th February and will be sure to delight the audience with a great selection of brilliant songs and show-stopping choreography.

After the show's success whilst touring last year, which included playing to packed-out auditoriums in Stockport, Southport, Rhyl and Liverpool, it is now coming back to St Helens due to a huge demand.


Starring BBC's Pitch Battle star Maddie Hope Coelho as Dorothy, this magical show is sure to put a smile on the faces of even the meanest of munchkins. Maddie trained at Laine Theatre Arts, West End MT and the Royal Ballet School. Her theatre credits include Fairy Goodapple in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mary Margaret in Singin' in the Rain as well as appearances in Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin.

Click your heels together and join X-Factor's David Heath as the Scarecrow, the brilliant Philip McGuiness as the Tin Man, the loveable Si Foster as the Cowardly Lion, and the adorable little dog Toto, as they follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Merry Old Land of Oz to meet the Wizard so he can make their dreams come true.

David Heath was a contestant on ITV's The X Factor back in 2006 as a member of boy band Eton Road. Since his time on the show he has turned his talents to theatre with credits including Billy in Wag -The Musical, as well as pantomime leading men including Aladdin, Prince Valentine in Snow White and Prince Valiant in Sleeping Beauty.

Guaranteed to give an oil-slick performance as the Tin Man, the charming Philip McGuiness is a panto regular, having previously played Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Finally, Si Foster is no stranger to the St Helens Theatre stage, or to a panto, he is back as the Cowardly Lion, searching for courage from the Wizard.


The Wizard of Oz is a firm family favourite which tells the story of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they embark on a wondrous adventure over the rainbow in the magical land of Oz. So why not join Dorothy, Toto and all their new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion as they journey down the Yellow Brick Road to The Emerald City om search of the Wizard of Oz who can make all their dreams come true.

Wizard of Oz Producer, Chantelle Nolan said: "We are so excited to bring The Wizard of Oz back to the theatre for February half term. The show was a roaring success, not just in St Helens, but on tour too. I know that people are just as excited to see the show again as I am, so get your tickets soon, before they sell out!"

Listing Details

Show - Regal Entertainments Ltd presents The Wizard of Oz
Dates - Tuesday 13th February to Sunday 18th February 2018
Times - Tues: 1pm / Weds - Sat: 1pm & 5:30pm / Sun: 1pm
Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ

Tickets - From £14*
*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

Box Office - 01744 756000
Website - www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH
Facebook - www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal