This week I had the pleasure of taking James to Hull Truck Theatre to see Ugly Duckling.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, after all James is only just 3 years old. Would he pay attention and sit for the duration? Too dark in the auditorium? Would he need a million toilet trips during the show? Would he shout out at the cast? Jump at any loud noises?
I hadn’t realised that Hull Truck put on so many family friendly shows. I remember being read the Ugly Duckling by my own parents and with such a perfect moral story to it I was excited to share it with James too.
When you think of theatre trips, you’d be forgiven to imagine evening attire, cocktails and hushes amongst the audience. However a trip to Hull Truck couldn’t be further from that image. In the foyer there is an instant sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere.
For children there is an area furthest away from the bar. This is full of toys, props, fancy dress and even a little stage. Before some shows there are arts and crafts and an opportunity to explore the themes of the show before it begins.
Hull Truck Theatre Supported Artists, The Herd make original shows about the world young people live in today. Ugly Duckling was a brand new show that celebrates friendship, living in the present, and the magic of childhood.
The cast really were incredibly engaging and kept James mesmerised for the duration of the show.
They young cygnets start the show by telling a short version of the Ugly Duckling story.
They have lessons in flying called ‘take offs,’ in swimming and in singing. They have to be very good at acting like Swans so the other birds in the pond don’t laugh at them.
The cygnets are allowed to play at the break time, but they shouldn’t be too silly, or loud or quack and roll in the mud like Ugly Ducklings.
They young cygnets are training for their Swan Display, which is near Christmas. Their Swan Display is a test of how good they can be at pretending to be Swans.
The show ends with the Swan display.
Why its so perfect for parents
It can be an anxious time as a parent trying out new places to take your children. When they’re newborn you want to know where you might be able to feed and change them at a moments notice.
Here’s a peek at the baby changing room.
When they’re toddlers you need to know about proximity to toilets and during these family shows it felt totally acceptable to take him out if needed. The lights weren’t entirely dimmed so it would have felt safe enough to walk him to the toilet. However the show was only 50 mins long so no issues anyway for us.
Even more impressively Hull Truck share walk throughs of what to expect. Here’s the one for Ugly Duckling https://www.hulltruck.co.uk/media/5183/ugly-duckling-show-experience-pdf.pdf I love this so much. As someone that’s had issues with anxiety before this really is a genius idea.
Check out the listings for what’s coming up this year including Great Adventures of Storyland, Room on the Broom and Wind in the Willows.
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.