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Family time

PUBLISHED: 15:59 31 July 2013

Children's theatre at Catton Park.; Photo: Bill Smith

Children's theatre at Catton Park.; Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2011

For the first time in its 34-year history, Norwich Puppet Theatre has launched a unique Early Years programme, to bring smiles to the faces of young children and enthuse, inspire and engage them for the future.

The groundbreaking project is specifically targeted at pre-schoolers and has been developed with the help of the county’s youngsters.

“A child’s early theatre experience can be magical. Lots of people remember coming here to the puppet theatre as children and it sews a seed of interest so it is important to make it a really positive experience,” says the theatre’s marketing officer Libby Waite. “We want to involve as many children as possible, especially those who might not usually go to the theatre.”

For the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the theatre welcomed a leading international show called STAR as part of its commitment to the early years programme and it has now created its own show called Three Colours, which will open in August.

Creating a world where you can dive in to the deep blue sea, hop around with green frogs or gaze at the crackling red of a bonfire, the show places children and their parents at the centre of an imaginary world using projection, light, puppets, music and dance. “It is a fantastic, vibrant, sensory experience,” says Libby. “There will only be 50 audience members and there won’t be traditional set seats, we want little ones to feel completely part of it.”

Three Colours was created and directed by the theatre’s director Joy Haynes – and the team have been working with pre-school children to ensure it is perfect for the age group. “During workshops with nurseries and children at the North City Sure Start centre we explored how they perceive the colours red, green and blue, and what it triggers in them. It is interesting because what we associate with all these colours is actually quite different to a small child,” she says.

As well as the performances, there will be puppet making workshops for two to five year olds and new workshops for tots. “This is our first programme ever for early years children but it is something we will definitely be building on. It has been such a great, positive experience and we hope lots of young children can take part.”

For information, 01603 629921; www.puppettheatre.co.uk

The world’s a stage

Throughout the summer, in parks and public spaces across Norwich, there will be a host of free outdoor theatre events to entertain and enthuse children. From the Wizard of Oz and Rumpelstiltskin, to science and space inspired show Which Way Is Up? and the interactive Horatio’s Last Hurrah!! there is something to entertain all ages. Norwich City Council also runs neighbourhood play days during the summer which include face painting, Punch and Judy, crafts, bug hunting, games and wacky races.

For performances, dates and times, www.norwich.gov.uk

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