We didn’t know anything about Lichfield when we moved here in 2006. In fact, I hadn’t even seen the place before the decision was made. Mr O had received a job offer and accepted and, since we knew we were “for real, forever” we sort of just decided that we’d live in Lichfield as he’d been there for a visit and it just felt nice (I know, right!?).
When we first moved down in 2006, the Lichfield Festival was therefore a wonderful surprise. This tiny city, which is basically in the middle of nowhere (yet so connected to the whole country…how fabulous!) has a multi-arts festival every July that lasts a whole 10 days and attracts some of the most brilliant names in music, comedy, art, theatre…
Over the year’s we’ve dabbled in so many parts of the festival. We’ve seen acts we never thought we would like, let alone see. And that’s the beauty of it. Everything is relatively reasonably priced, and so accessible. The venues are places you already know, and love, and are easy to get to…plus, they are usually a few steps from a great restaurant or bar!
It’s been so much more difficult to get to some of the events we’d have loved to go to since having the children, but now Ruby is a bit older we’re looking forward to introducing her to the awesome child-friendly parts of the festival…like Mimika Theatre, whose wonderful ‘Small Worlds’ performance I took her to on Sunday afternoon at The George Hotel in Lichfield city centre.
Small Worlds was described to us as an “extraordinary fusion of digital animation and puppetry. A 50 minute non-verbal performance that all takes place inside a beautiful, white calico dome”.
It was extraordinary. Ruby sat so still (which meant that she was really interested), and at times was completely in awe of what was unfolding in front of her eyes. I won’t give too much away, just in case you make the (very fantastic) decision to go and see it yourself, but suffice to say she loved it.
From my perspective, the puppeteering and the elegance of the sound and visuals took my breath away. I loved the storytelling; one day, one place, five different stories…all beautifully intertwined and so accessible for the small children that were sat cross-legged on the floor open mouthed, asking beautiful questions, laughing and gasping and generally enjoying every second.
As children my brother and I were blessed with parents who seized opportunities to take us to performances, concerts, all sorts of things that would broaden horizons, make us think, give us new and different experiences…they even threw us into performances (being a chicken at the age of 2 is an interesting experience!) to give us confidence, but most of all so that we could have fun. And I want to do exactly the same for our children.
Storytelling is so very important – even the made up stories that Ruby concocts after a day of play are vital to learning, development and a childhood full of fun.
I will never stop telling them stories, and I will never stop seeking out opportunities for them to have fun.
Photo’s courtesy of The Lichfield Festival.