philippa photo head and shouldersby Philippa Cross who would rather be outdoors than in, alone than in a crowd. She prefers dogs to cats, with a major leaning towards bulldogs. She hopes to win the Pulitzer prize for her yet unpublished novel. She started Thumb Media with a partner in June 2009

You’ve probably heard all about the shows on at the People’s Theatre at the Civic from time to time. If what you need is a push to just book the tickets and make the effort to go along these school holidays– I hope this will do it. It’s the perfect underwater adventure for land-based moms and dads who slave away all day.

It’s perfect for littlies (6 and under). I am just so delighted I discovered it. I feel like the best mom on earth (which I am).

Actually, I’m not. I’m usually too busy to even look into these things, let alone find a weekend that suits, and then book. If your family is anything like mine, trying to get it all together to attend a show is almost impossible, especially at this time of year. This is one experience that deserves the effort. The fact that there are two shows on a Sunday, a morning and an afternoon one, appeals tremendously.

We navigated our way through the road-works (a subject for a whole other day) in Joburg city centre, and arrived at the People’s Theatre to see The Little Mermaid.

An unforgettable experience awaited us. The theatre is special not only because of the magnificent shows it produces, but because of the mermaidworld it introduces to children. It’s a delightful alternative to TV, to play station. It’s a wonderful opportunity to appreciate talent, and a chance to be transported.

Our precious little people can enjoy the entire theatrical experience from beginning to end. It’s all about them. But the joy I saw in them made my cup runneth over.

They get dressed up for the occasion (we had a number of mermaids in the audience), and have to wait in the foyer before the show starts. This involves excited mingling among friends and strangers, and buying and sharing of refreshments. Our party of 3 year olds made friends with some other littlies, and they all shared their jelly tots. (Except the pink ones. My son refused to share the pink ones.)

The bell rings, and the doors open, at which point they (with mom and dad’s help of course) have to find their own, pre-booked little chair.

The curtain is down, the lights dim, the theatre goes quiet. The excitement is tangible. The music starts, the curtain is raised, and an entire world is revealed.

I was so impressed with the quality of the production – something I’m sure didn’t occur to my 3 year old. But I noticed. Not an expense was spared. The costumes were so beautifully designed and made. The stage design and décor was world class. The performances were world class. I enjoyed The Little Mermaid at the People’s Theatre as much as I enjoyed the Phantom of the Opera at the State Theatre a few years ago. I even cried.

For the dads – I have to tell you, my husband (who is very manly, and not obsessed with pink jelly tots) enjoyed it thoroughly. I have no doubt he’ll come with us next time we go, which will be in March 2010 to see The Jungle Book.


Join the Kids Club.

Among other great benefits, For R70 a year, you can enjoy a free ticket on your birthday, and get called up onto stage.

For more information visit The Peoples Theatre on Jozikids.

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