Today, we headed down to The Lowry Theatre as a family of 4 for the first time ever. It was Syd’s first ever Theatre trip, and we went to see “Aleena’s Garden”. The show was described online as, “Aleena’s Garden’ is a sensory adventure for 0-3 year olds and their grown ups. Join Aleena as she tends to her garden from the first days of spring through to the snowy fun of winter with the help of some very special friends…
This brand new show from Greater Manchester-based company Colour The Clouds is a perfect first theatre experience for very young children. Our young audience are encouraged to join in, touch and sing along as much or as little as they want to, while their grown-ups have the reassurance of knowing their little ones will be in a relaxed and gentle environment for their first theatre show.”
In case you don’t read my blog regularly, I’ll just explain our family a little… Syd is a typical 4 year old, She loves the usual things and is keen to join in with interactive experiences. Sam, our 5 year old has Autism. He is non verbal, but loves sensory experiences so we thought he’d enjoy this performance. The show was described online as suitable for 0-3 year olds, but after speaking to the booking team, we decided to give it a go.
When we arrived, we were shown into the Studio Theatre and the children were each given a little bag containing things they’d need during the course of the show. The children were then encouraged to spend a little time colouring in a paper flower each which was used during the show too. Sam was very keen for the show to start, and sat right on the front row, choosing to skip the colouring in favour of the best seat.
Once the performance began, the children were asked to take a seat on the blanket on the floor, and adults could either sit with them, or sit on the seats around the edge of the blankets.I don’t want to give everything away, so I won’t go into too much detail about everything that happened during the performance. It is a sensory experience and a half though… Children are encouraged to sign along with Aleena as she takes you through a year in the life of her garden. There’s plenty for children to feel, see, hear and even smell. It really was brilliant, though.
I’d say Aleena’s Garden is great for under 5’s, or those with special needs. I can imagine Sam’s special needs classmates, aged 3-6 years old would all really enjoy the experience.
Syd absolutely loved her first trip to the theatre. She said the magic and the snow were her favourite parts. Sam was amazed by the flying bird, fireworks and the growing flowers. I’m not going to explain more about their favourite parts – you’ll have to experience it for yourself to fully understand and appreciate the magic of it!
Syd loved getting to meet Aleena after the show. She was a bit star struck, but Aleena was wonderful with all of the children – there were babes in arms as well as a couple of 5 year olds, and lots of children at ages in between. Aleena’s helpers were all great too. One lady helped me when Sam got a little overwhelmed, and I saw one helper running off to grab some baby wipes after one of the youngest audience members was sick on her grown up. It really was a very relaxed performance, and I for one enjoyed it almost as much as my children did.
I hope they bring Aleena’s Garden back for another performance – we’d definitely come back and see it again! With tickets priced at £5.50-£8.50pp, and under 1’s going free, it’s a great value experience as well.
Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are our own.