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Theatre

Babies Prom: Music For Tutus

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

The first Babies Prom of the year, Music for Tutus is the perfect way for littlies 2-5 to experience ballet for the first time. Held in the intimate Studio inside the Sydney Opera House, tiny tots are invited to watch, dance and direct the performers throughout the show – making it a stress-free way for families introducing their children to the arts.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

This gorgeous performance features music by the famous composer, Tchaikovsky, with two ballet dancers pirouetting their way through melodies from The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, and an orchestra including a stunning harp, cello, violins and conductor. The two dancers, Emma and Jacob, led their rapt audience through the three ballets in a way that showcased their skills as well as engaged small children with short attention spans.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

The classical music, performed by the Babies Proms orchestra, swept not just the children, but the adults, too, up on an enchanting discovery of three of Tchaikovsky’s best-loved pieces of music.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

The Babies Proms are aimed at children aged 2-5, but this doesn’t mean that kids older or younger won’t enjoy the show. Babies and grade schoolers alike were enchanted by the beautiful dancing and music, along with parents and grandparents. This parent will admit to feeling a tear come to her eye when the score to Swan Lake was soaring through the Studio.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

As the show came to a close, the dancers came down to the children and led them through basic ballet steps, much to the delight of the tulle-clad masses who jostled to get up closer to the pair in their stunning costumes.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Sadly all good things must come to an end, and Music For Tutus ended in the same fashion as all Babies Proms do, with the children being invited to meet the musicians, touch their instruments and pose for photos. Cheese has just started playing the cello at school, so this was a wonderful experience for her to hear a professional cellist live and realise where a lot of practice on this instrument could one day take her.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Kids can ask the musicians questions – or just strum a string and image that they, too, could one day perform in front of an audience at the Sydney Opera House.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

If you haven’t been to a Babies Prom before, this is what you need to know:

Babies Proms are aimed at kids aged 2-5.

They are casual performances where adults sit around the sides of the studio, and kids sit on the floor in the middle. There is no pressure for kids to sit still or not talk – they are encouraged to dance, sing and interact with the performers.

The performance goes for 35 minutes, the perfect length for short attention spans.

All adults and children over 12 months need a ticket.

Seats are not numbered, so most people line up around half an hour before the start of the Babies Prom to ensure they get seats close to the floor where there kids will be seated.

There is stroller parking and baby change facilities in the foyer.

While train is the easiest way to get to the Sydney Opera House, you can also park in the car park underneath. Book online at Wilson Parking for a $9 weekend deal.

For lunch, grab a sandwich at the Sydney Opera House kiosk outside the theatre, or enjoy a sit down meal at Opera Kitchen on the lower concourse level. Their kids’ fish and chips is a winner.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Babies Proms: Music For Tutus
Dates: March 9-20, 2016
Studio, Sydney Opera House

Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us at this performance, and for use of some of their images by Dan Boud in this blog post. Photography during performances are not permitted.

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, Australian Premiere

The Lion Guard Australian Premiere via christineknight.me

My childhood was spent falling in love with Disney movies. I was absolutely obsessed with all of them – starting with The Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, through to the modern ones that came out as I was growing up such as Aladdin and The Lion King. I was 15 when I saw the original Lion King movie, and was obsessed with the music for months (ahem, might have been more like years). When The Lion King stage show came out in my 20s, I saw one of the very first shows in Sydney and cried all over again at the beauty of the music and heartbreaking storyline.

The Lion Guard Australian Premiere via christineknight.me

Now I have my own Disney-obsessed kid, who is still too young to watch the original Lion King movie. She is, however the perfect age for the new Disney Junior series that is a spin off from the much loved movie – The Lion Guard.

The Lion Guard Australian Premiere via christineknight.me

We were lucky enough to attend the Australian premiere of The Lion Guard, where we watched the first extended episode, called Return Of The Roar. At 45 minutes, the first episode is longer than the following ones will be to introduce the new cast, re-introduce beloved old characters, and set the scene for the next generation of troublesome cubs to take on their own adventures. Simba and Nala have grown up and have cubs of their own, including Kion, who is the star of this new series. Cameos from Pumbaa and Timon also link the old with the new, and bring in a motley crew of brand new animal characters: Bunga, Ono, Fuli and Beshte.

The Lion Guard Australian Premiere via christineknight.me

The reason I haven’t shown my four-year-old The Lion King movie yet is I think it’s still too scary for her, but I was confident that a Disney Junior spin off would be age appropriate – and it was. There were moments in the show when I wasn’t sure what direction it would go (the suspense!) and I was relieved that each moment of confrontation was diffused without violence. My very sensitive child agreed at the end that The Lion Guard was great and that she enjoyed it immensely.

The Lion Guard Australian Premiere via christineknight.me

While my daughter is not yet able to articulate why she enjoyed it so much beyond she loved the songs and the honey badger, Bunga, I really enjoyed the skillful animation, beautiful music and the themes that emerged: friendship, loyalty, perseverance, bravery and love. Perfect for my little girl to be watching and learning from.

The Lion Guard Australian Premiere via christineknight.me

I can’t wait to watch the rest of The Lion Guard when it premieres on the Disney Junior Channel on February 6.

Thanks so much to Disney Australia for inviting us to join The Lion Guard.

DirtGirl’s Get Grubby Musical: Sydney’s Best Shows for Kids

dirtgirl's Get Grubby Musical via christineknight.me

With a daughter who loves every kind of Disney princess out there and doesn’t like to do anything “yucky”, her latest love of dirtgirl has been a refreshing change for our family. We watch dirtgirlworld on ABC Kids, and I really enjoy the environmental messages in the show, as well as how it encourages kids to “get grubby” outside.

When I found out the dirtgirl’s Get Grubby Musical was coming to the Sydney Opera House, I was keen to take Cheese to see it. The show is recommended for kids aged 3 and up, and I found my four-and-a-half year old to be the perfect age for it.

dirtgirl's Get Grubby Musical via christineknight.me
Dirtgirl, scrapboy and Costa the garden gnome appear live on stage in a show filled with upbeat music, slapstick jokes and, underneath it all, a serious environmental issue that effects our planet – the loss of our bees. It’s an issue my husband and I have discussed ourselves before with concern, so it was great to see it being played out before us in a way that kids could understand and get involved with, too.

dirtgirl's Get Grubby Musical via christineknight.me

Fans of the TV show will enjoy seeing their colourful favourite charaters come to life before them, against a beautiful backdrop representing the most fantastical garden you’ll ever see. When presented by these hip eco-warriors, making compost out of chook poo and saving water have never been funkier. Catchy, interactive songs engaged the young audience, with the figure-of-eight bee “bum” dance being repeated frequently on our way home.

dirtgirl's Get Grubby Musical via christineknight.me

After the show, the cast came around to the foyer to meet their young fans. They were very friendly and encouraging with their tiny grubby friends, and the kids were so excited to take pictures with them and get their autographs.

dirtgirl's Get Grubby Musical via christineknight.me

We walked away from the show thoroughly entertained, and with a desire for gardening in my daughter’s head. Time to get grubby!

dirtgirl's Get Grubby Musical via christineknight.me

dirtgirl’s Get Grubby Musical
Sydney Opera House
January 22-24, 2016

Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us. All opinions are my own.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

The Best of Sydney for Kids: The Sydney Opera House Day Pack

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

Since we moved back to Sydney, I’ve taken enormous pleasure in rediscovering my hometown with a child. I grew up in Sydney’s south-west, where most of my childhood was spent riding my pony, or biking around the streets with my brother. A far cry from the way we spend time with Cheese as an inner city kid!

We’ve been to the Sydney Opera House to see shows on many occasions. They are always of a high quality, and are a highlight of our year. We even attended the Sydney Opera House open day a few months back, where the House was open to the public. While it was interesting seeing the House behind the scenes, it was very crowded, and we left pretty quickly as Cheese wasn’t enjoying it.

So I was thrilled to discovered that the House has this amazing offering called their Day Pack at the moment, which offers families a Junior Lunch at Opera Kitchen, a special behind the scenes tour of the House on the Junior Adventure, finishing up with a show.

Each Day Pack has a different itinerary, depending which one you choose. They all meet in the same spot, at the Welcome Centre at the Sydney Opera House. You can find this by taking the escalators down from the boardwalk, then walking past the Opera House Bar and Kitchen until you get to the souvenir shop. Look for a sign here, where your guide for the day will be waiting for you.

Our amazing guide was a vibrant, energetic woman named Suanne. She was made to work with children, without a doubt. My daughter loved Suanne. I loved Suanne! Cheese was the youngest on the tour (the average age was about 8), but Suanne managed to keep the interest of all the kids, from little Cheese to the oldest, who were tweenagers, and even earned herself a hug or two along the way.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

Our first stop on our big adventure was lunch at Opera Kitchen. We had a fantastic seat overlooking the Sydney harbour, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. I mean, seriously?! I can’t even describe the beauty of our city on days like this, it’s just too much.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

We chose the Quinoa, Beetroot, Feta & Macadamia Salad (served with your choice of house beer, wine or soft drink) for me, and the Junior Fish & Chips (served with a small soft drink or juice and ice cream) for Cheese. I appreciated that the food was served quickly for a busy day.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

Cheese loved her fish – it was lightly crumbed, nice and hot, and not oily at all. She had two dipping sauces and a lemon wedge to dress her meal with, much to her delight. My salad was enormous, but since it had a lot of lettuce in it, it ended up being the perfect sized portion for lunch, and not too heavy for someone who was about to to a lot of walking afterwards.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

After lunch we grouped together, ready for what I was most excited for – the tour. Suanne made it very clear that the tour was for the kids, not the adults, and had the kids all put their hands in and give our a big cheer “Kids!!”. As their voices vibrated around the concourse, the air filled with excited giggles as the kids loosened up, and thus, the tone was set for our tour. Lots of fun, plenty of laughs, and an extremely energetic look at one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

Our leader Suanne led the kids up the stairs, with us adults struggling to keep up in the rear. Up on the boardwalk, we learned the first of many amazing facts that we would absorb that day – all of which were embarrassingly new to this Sydney native. The Sydney Opera House was designed by Jørn Utzon, a Danish architect, after winning a contest in 1957. I only remember the name thanks to Suanne’s entertaining pronunciation for the kids: “Yaaaaw Boots on”. Very effective.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

While the Sydney Opera House is only 58 years old, the land it is built on, Bennalong Point, has previously been a meeting point for the Gadigal tribe. After paying tribute to the indigenous people whose land we were walking on, we took our first steps into the House, and, after a little actors warm up to get the kids ready to perform, walked into the Studio (sadly no photos allowed today!).

Cheese and I had seen many Babies Proms inside the Studio, but on our tour it was set up for the current show, Blanc de Blanc. While the kids took turns presenting the show to their rapt parents, we also learned that the Opera House was built in such a way that scenery has to be lifted up and down, it can’t be moved in from sides. Because of this unusual design, the Studio was built to be a lift for scenery. Nowadays, however, it is a flexible performance space.

Next on our tour, was another of the 800 rooms inside the Opera House – the backstage area where props are stored. We saw parts of the three opera sets that are housed in the room, including the Magic Flute, and the giant hydraulic lift that takes the props up to the stage.

Suanne paid tribute to the many people who work at the House to create the performances we see, including prop builders and the people who handle the intelligent lights that cost 65K each (geez, wouldn’t want to be anywhere near one of those!).

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

We wound our way into the next room on the tour, the rehearsal room, where the casts and musicians practice. I couldn’t help but place my hand on the barre too, thinking of all of the amazing ballet dancers who had stood in that very spot, warming up with plies and tendus. The kids all had a turn practicing their moves, including Cheese, who was working on her arabesque.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

The tour stepped outside next, through a sneaky exit, where we walked up some more steps (note, do not do this tour if you don’t like steps!) to admire the amazing view, as well as see the reflection in the glass of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, if you look up at just the right angle. What an incredible design.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

If you’ve ever wondered why the million tiles of the House always look so clean, and yet you never see anyone actually cleaning them, it’s because they are especially made to be self-cleaning with a special glaze on them.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

We waved like royalty to passers by, then ducked back inside another sneaky door to a little amphitheatre filled with costumes once worn by performers at the House. The kids had an amazing time trying them on, taking a bow, and learning about props. As the kids answered questions and participated in the activities, they were awarded with a cute star badge, which they all wore with pride.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

The last stop on our tour was the spectacular Concert Hall (sadly no pictures allowed since staff were performing sound checks), home of the symphony orchestra. We sat in some of the 2679 seats and watched the kids try their hand at being their own orchestra so we could hear the noise vibrating around the beautiful white birch wood ceiling. I’d never noticed before that the hall was shaped to mimic a guitar, with its high vaulted ceiling and brush box panelling.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

If you’re interested in hiring the hall for a private gig, it will set you back a mere $18K.

Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me Sydney Opera House Day pack via christineknight.me

After the tour ended (it ran for 60 minutes), Suanne took us to the Playhouse, where we were about to see our show: The 52-Story Treehouse. We arrived just in time to look at our souvenir photos (two are included with the package, with extra costs if you’d like to purchase add-ons) and take our seats.

52-story-treehouse-1

You can read more about how much we enjoyed The 52-Story Treehouse here.

After the show, we had some time to enjoy the Creative Play station in the Playhouse that is open until the end of January. The current installation is “The Un-Broken Line”, which is basically a massive, interactive digital screen where kids can manipulate colour and lines. It’s pretty addictive play, and really hard to tear the kids away from. With Sydney summer giving us both big storms and brutal heat, it’s wonderful to have an indoor space catering to kids for us to enjoy. You can read more about the free Summer entertainment for families at the House here.

Summer at the Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

I can’t recommend the Sydney Opera House Day Pack enough, both for tourists and Sydney locals. I guarantee that not only will you and the kids have a fantastic time, but you will all learn some amazing facts about one of the most interesting buildings in the world at the same time.

At time of print, the Day Pack includes:
15% discount on an A reserve show ticket to The 52-Storey Treehouse
Explore inside the Sydney Opera House on the Junior Adventure
A souvenir photo from your Junior Adventure
A delicious Junior Lunch and drink at one of our harbourside, family friendly restaurants.

Price: Adult: $108.65 Child: $83.65
Check online to get accurate pricing for the Day Packs. As different shows are included in the pack, pricing may change.

Get more info and book online

Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point Sydney

You can reach the Opera House by:

Car – park in the onsite Opera House car park. For discounted parking, book online with Wilson car parks and check the Sydney Opera House website for any current promo codes. 

Buses, trains and ferries – all service nearby Circular Quay which is an easy 5-10 min walk to the Opera House.

A huge thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us on this fantastic day. All opinions are my own.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Sydney’s Best Shows For Kids: The 52-Storey Treehouse

The 52-Storey Treehouse via christineknight.me

We are newcomers to the Treehouse stories, having not read the books yet. Cheese is too young, and they came out after I was a tween, so they’ve been hovering on the edge of my awareness for the past year, but I didn’t know much about the books – or the show. I actually really love not knowing what to expect when I go to see a show – it makes the whole experience free of expectations, and I can appreciate the show as a stand alone text.

52-story-treehouse-1

From what I’ve heard from other people who have seen the show and read the books, The 52-Storey Treehouse live manages the almost impossible – to entertain newcomers to the series, as well as giving faithful readers of the books a new take on a familiar subject. That alone is incredibly hard to achieve, so kudos to writer Richard Tulloch and director Liesel Badorrek for the fabulous job they’ve done with Andy Griffiths’ and Terry Denton’s book, The 52-Storey Treehouse.

The 52-Storey Treehouse via christineknight.me

This is the show’s second run at the Sydney Opera House, returning once again following a sell-out season last year.

The 52-Storey Treehouse via christineknight.me

In this intensely entertaining, clever and smart show, Andy and Terry take the audience on a rollicking adventure through a fantastical story where ninja snails and enchanted carrots are the norm.

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The cleverly created 52-storey treehouse is a very smart theatrical device that evolves throughout the show to represent the treehouse, a mountain, a castle, and a dungeon. With props such as the Disguise-O-Matic 5000 and The Flying Frying Egg Car, you just know that watching this show (or reading the book!) is going to set a child’s imagination on fire.

The 52-Storey Treehouse via christineknight.me

I appreciated the show just as much as Cheese thanks to some themes that were designed to resonate with adults, as well as enjoying the very talented performers – Drew Livingston and James Elliot are wonderful as Terry and Andy, with Jonny Nasser and Sophie Kesteven tackling several supporting roles in quick succession.

The 52-Storey Treehouse via christineknight.me

 

The 52-Storey Treehouse is a witty, fun show that adults and kids will equally enjoy. Go see it, then, if you’re like us, buy the book and start the story from the very beginning.

The 52-Storey Treehouse
Suitable for children 6+
Tickets: $39 – $55
Dates: 3 January 2016 – 25 January 2016

Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us. All opinions are my own.

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Stick Man: Sydney’s Best Shows For Kids

Stick man: Sydney's Best Shows For Kids via christineknight.me

This January, the Sydney Opera House has a cracker of a program for kids. Today we saw Stick Man, a musical stage show based on the best-selling book of the same name.

Stick Man: Sydney's Best Shows For Kids via christineknight.me

Stick Man the stage show has been adapted from the rhyming picture book created Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and has arrived in Sydney fresh from its successful UK tour.

Stick Man: Sydney's Best Shows For Kids via christineknight.me

The show is aimed at kid aged three and over, so my four-year-old was the prime target market. We haven’t read the book (what?!?!) so came to the show with no idea of the storyline or themes the show would present. Sometimes it’s a good way to see a show adapted from a book – it’s nice to view a performance as its own unique entity rather than comparing it to the text it originated from.

In this case, we found Stick Man to be a delightful romp about the titular character, who “lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three” (can we talk about how adorable it is that Stick Man lives with his lady love and not a “wife”, by the way? I want to be referred to as my husband’s lady love!).

Stick Man: Sydney's Best Shows For Kids via christineknight.me

Brought to life by innovative puppetry and bubbly songs, we followed Stick Man on his rollicking adventure as he gets dognapped and taken far from home. We can all relate to his discovery that the world is a big and scary place when leave our comfort zone. Stick Man’s bravery and determination to return to his family is a beautiful message to sow in your minds who are just starting to adventure beyond the known safety of their own homes.

Stick Man: Sydney's Best Shows For Kids via christineknight.me

STICK MAN
Dates: 6 – 17 January 2016
Venue: Playhouse, Sydney Opera House
Ages: 3+
Website: http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/kath_2016_stick_man.aspx
Bookings: 02 9250 7777

Additional photography thanks to Jacquie Manning

More things to do in Sydney

Find a list of the best things to do in Sydney with kids here.

Find things to do in Sydney for free here.

Get a list of the best kid-friendly beaches in Sydney.

Find the best animal experiences in Sydney here.

Visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Find the best high teas in Sydney here.

Head to one of the best museums in Sydney here.

Check out things to do in Sydney on a rainy day here.

Enjoy one of the best ocean pools in Sydney here.

First time visiting Sydney? Get tips for first time visitors to Sydney here.

Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

The last of our wonderful theatre outings for the year was the brand new Storytime Ballet The Sleeping Beauty by The Australian Ballet.

The Storytime Ballets are a new initiative born out of a growing demand for ballets suitable for children to enjoy from an early age. According to The Australian Ballet’s Executive Director Libby Christie, over 420,000 children participate in dance activities across Australia every week (including little Cheese!). Designed for children aged three and up, the Storytime Ballet has been created from start to finish with young theatre-goers in mind.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

Last week we were lucky enough to see another version of The Sleeping Beauty, the Once Upon A Time version also by The Australian Ballet. I wasn’t sure how the two performances would differ, and was really happy to see that this brand new Storytime Ballet show was actually a completely different performance in every way. Unlike the Once Upon A Time ballets, which are almost the same as the original performances with a few tweaks, the Storytime Ballets are built from scratch to engage children with an interactive performance.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

It’s really the perfect way to introduce very young children to the ballet. A narrator, who is also part of the cast of characters, talks through the performance as it is happening to make it easier for little kids to understand the story (I get it, ballet mime can take a bit of getting used to!). The kids felt like part of the show instead of just observers thanks to interactive moments where they were asked to use their magic to drive the story forward. I particularly appreciated the acknowledgment of parents too, when it was suggested that, instead of magic, we “use the force”.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

A smaller cast and set allows the show to travel nationally – and also made the show a lot less overwhelming for children. It’s much easier to focus on what’s happening when there is less to take in. I did notice that the kids, even little toddlers who looked to be under the recommended age of 3, were highly engaged throughout the show, and I think that this, as well as the addition of the narrator, certainly helped to make this ballet a success. At just under an hour, the ballet is also the perfect length to entertain kids before they lose attention.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

In the foyer outside the Drama Theatre are a range of free activities for kids to enjoy before and after the show. iPads set up with ballet-themed drawing activities that can be sent to parents’ phones, there are ballet costumes for kids to dress up in and also an irresistible store stocked with ballet-themed gifts such as clothes, wands, tiaras and The Sleeping Beauty music on CD. The proceeds from sales all to back to The Australian Ballet and supporting their amazing work.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

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The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

While we saw The Sleeping Beauty at the Sydney Opera House, kids around the country will be able to enjoy the same show as it tours nationally over the summer.

STORYTIME BALLET: The Sleeping Beauty tour dates

Arts Centre Melbourne 16 – 20 December 2015
Sydney Opera House 23 – 27 December 2015
The Concourse Chatswood, Sydney, 30 December 2015 – 3 January 2016
The Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong, 7 – 9 January 2016
Evan Theatre Penrith, Sydney, 12 – 16 January 2016
The Playhouse Canberra, 20 – 23 January 2016
The Arts Centre Gold Coast, 29 – 30 March 2016
Brisbane Powerhouse, 1 – 2 April 2016
Further dates and venues will be announced early in 2016.

Old School Magic Comes To Town: The Illusionists 1903

The Illusionists 1903 christineknight.me

Be transported back to the golden age of magic this month thanks to the world-class performers of The Illusionists 1903. This new show, on now at the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House, features world-class illusionists from all over the world.

The Illusionists 1903 christineknight.me

The masters of magic perform some of the worlds greatest and deadliest illusions, including sawing a woman in half, amazing levitation and unbelievable mind-reading. It’s hard to maintain the cynicism we have in 2015, when faced with such flawlessly executed illusions by larger than life personalities.

The Illusionists 1903 christineknight.me

To balance out the more serious moments where it feels like lives are actually on the line, the show features plenty of audience participation, laughs to lighten the mood, and turn-of-the-century grandeur to really make you feel like you’re back in the early 1900s.

The Illusionists 1903 christineknight.me

The age recommendation for this show is 5 and over. Cheese, at 4.5, was slightly under the recommended age, but sat through the almost 2.5 hour performance (including the 20 min interval) very well. She was a bit scared when the woman was sawn in half, but she enjoyed the levitation scene as well as the tricks involving physical humour.

The Illusionists 1903 christineknight.me

The Illusionists 1093 is a great show that will entertain the whole family. Teens won’t even think to check their Snapchat during the show, it’s that engaging.

The Illusionists 1903 is on now until December 28 at the Sydney Opera House.
Book: sydneyoperahouse.com

Images of the performance by Dan Boud.

Thanks to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us.

The Wiggles BIG SHOW plus Cinder Emma Fairytale

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

The annual Wiggles Big Show is a monumental event that travels across the country every December. In Sydney, the show is at the Allphones Arena, Homebush. While the Wiggles do a lot of regional touring all year round at smaller venues, their Big Show is their most popular as they go all out with staging, cast and props.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

This was our second Big Show, and the first year that the Big Show included a second short show added on, called “Cinder Emma”, a fairytale story with some traditional Wiggles songs woven into the old Cinderella story, but told with typical Wiggles humour. Expect men in drag and lots of jokes for the parents.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Going to a Wiggles show is a full-on experience somewhat akin to rock show, with very tiny groupies. I find the shows overwhelming so I’ve jotted down a few helpful tips for anyone considering attending a Wiggles show in the future.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Book tickets early and quickly
Book them literally as soon as they go on sale. The front sections sell out within minutes, I kid you not.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Book seats up the front
This is important particularly in the Big Show as the areas are massive – if you’re too far from the action kids can’t focus on the show.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Book seats on the aisle
We accidentally booked aisle seats this year and they were wonderful. Putting your kid in an aisle seat means not only can they see the action for the entire show even if there is a large adult in the seat in front of them, but they can also jump out of their seat and dance in the aisle.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Arrive early
Allow plenty of time for parking or public transport, slowly walking to the arena, picking up tickets, re-printing tickets once you’ve lost them (oops!), going through security, lining up for merchandise, getting snacks, going to the bathroom, and then finally finding your seats. We were an hour early and it flew by.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Parking on-site
We live a long way from the Allphones so drove and parked in the very pricey car park. You can book a spot online for $25 for all day parking, or pre-pay when you get there for the same. They do have hourly rates that are a bit cheaper, but if you are planning on making a quick getaway after the show, I’d advise prepaying parking as the lines at the parking stations get very long.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Merchandise
It’s impossible to get into the show without buying some kind of Wiggles merchandise. I can never say no, and I always regret the purchase as whatever we buy always breaks the same day. This time we bought a bow set that lights up. It was too small for my four-year-old’s head. Annoyingly another $22 down the drain. Last time it was a Dorothy the Dinosaur fairy outfit – the wings and skirt elastic BOTH broke before we got the outfits home. No more Wiggles merch for us!

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Food
You can take water bottles and prepackaged snacks into the arena. I did try taking a Subway sandwich in last year and they wouldn’t let me, so it appears the rule is no food bought fresh nearby as they want you to buy the burgers and chips the have on sale inside the area instead. The show was on a crazy hot day so we did splurge on ice creams ($4.50 for a Golden Gaytime and it was totally worth every cent).

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

During the show
I was unprepared for the amount of parents and children who did not stay in their seats. Children were set loose in the aisle to dance and run around while the parents either stayed in their seats or got up and down chasing their kids. Being in aisle seats the people next to us drive me nuts getting up and down the entire first half while they rotated who chased their kids up the aisle and who got to sit down and check their Facebook page. The normal theatre etiquette rules do not apply here!

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Make gifts
If your child wants to meet a Wiggle, make a bow, dog bone, sign or rose for Dorothy and hold them up during the show. The Wiggles personally run around and collect these, so have your camera ready.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Dress up
The majority of the kids wear Wiggles costumes or colours that are similar to the Wiggles. There’s no need to buy one, they’re pretty easy to make.

The Wiggles Big Show + Cinder Emma

Have fun!
The Wiggles show was the highlight of my daughter’s week. Possibly life thus far. While Hot Potato isn’t personally my favorite song (sorry Wiggles!) my daughter loves it, and seeing her dance and sing with a big smile plastered on her face was just the best thing ever.

Wiggles tour dates.

Babies Proms at the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House Babies Proms

Cheese and I love the Babies Proms held several times a year at the the Sydney Opera House. Babies Proms are aimed at children aged two to five, perfect for their first live music experience. The Sydney Opera House has been running the interactive and engaging Babies Proms for over 30 years, so they’ve had plenty of time to fine tune what is now a tradition for many Sydney families.

We have just seen our final Babies Prom of the year, Babies Proms: Jingle Bell Jazz. The show was a fabulous mix of classic Christmas songs, with a jazz and calypso twist. Let by Australian stage and screen star, Valerie Bader, kids sang and danced their way through Christmas classics such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Jingle Bells.

Sydney Opera House Babies Proms

If you’re considering booking a Babies Prom for 2016, their new schedule is up now (I’m booking Music for Tutus for us!).

I’ve put together a few points to help families making their way to their very first Babies Prom.

Get there early
The show is general admission. Kids sit on the floor in the middle of the room on a carpet and adults sit in the chairs around the sides. To get seats closest to the carpet (to keep an eye on rouge kids!) people start lining up often 30 mins before the show begins.

Know where you’re going
The Babies Proms are held in the Studio, which is on the side of the Opera House, not in the big theatres in the sails. You can catch the elevator to this level or walk around the concourse straight into the side doors of the Opera House to get there.

Parking at the Opera House
The cheapest parking is on weekends, where you can book a bay online beforehand and pay $10 for the entire day. If you’re seeing a show on a week day, parking costs a lot more, so consider the train!

Public transport
I often catch the train and walk to the Opera House. Circular Quay has elevators, as does the Sydney Opera House, so it’s all very stroller-friendly.

Stroller-check
You can bring a stroller of any size and leave it in the foyer outside the theatre with all the other strollers.

Sydney Opera House Babies Proms

Bring a camera
While there is no photography allowed during the Babies Prom shows, after the performance has ended kids can go up to the musicians or actors, try their instruments and have a photo taken. Lighting is dim however, so bring a camera with a flash.

Meal time
The snack bar outside the Studio used to sell wonderful kids packs for $7, but this month they haven’t had them anymore, sadly. The only food choices are currently big adult sandwiches or chips, so either bring your own food or arrive early for breakfast/lunch at Opera Kitchen (kids meals around $15 each).

Keep a close eye on kids
Some shows sell out and get very busy. When the show ends it can be a bit chaotic as kids return to their parents and line up for photos with the cast. It’s very easy for kids to get lost.

Dress festive
Kids can wear whatever they like, but it’s fun to get into the mood of whatever the theme of the show is. At the Jingle Bell Jazz show, for example, there were lots of kids in Christmas gear, and a few even dressed up as Chrissie elves.