Over the last couple of months, we have discovered another hidden gem of the amazing creative scene in Leeds – Anything Could Happen. Before Heidi came along, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t into creative arts, but after going to the Rainbow Factory for the past few years, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world!!
Well, anything (obviously!!)
On a serious note, there are two adult (I was going to say grown-up, but they have to be a bit childish!) performers on stage, loosely controlled by the fabulous stage director, Carla. They start off with an idea, and then get ideas from the children in the audience. The children then develop the story as it goes, with random ideas being thrown in from all the children. After the story has reached a somewhat natural conclusion, which often resulted from mild chaos, the stage is reset and a new idea kicks off more carnage!!
As Anything Could Happen takes place in a real-life, intimate theatre, the children get experience of a professional environment and as they sit on the floor of the stage, they feel part of the action.
Every child is asked to input into the performance over the hour and a bit it is on, and whilst Heidi can feel a bit lost in the number of children and ideas, it does help her understand sharing (does that count as a swear word?!) and being patient.
There is very few opportunities for the children to be on stage themselves, so if you’re looking for a stage school this isn’t for you. However, think of it as giving your child the chance for a front row seat to a brilliant comedy show that they can help create.
However, if your child does go up on stage, get your cameras out, as it is a brilliant memory to have. In January, Heidi was “interviewed” on stage and pretended to explain why crocodiles were coming into houses through toilets. Yes, you did read that right! The best thing was that the atmosphere was so supportive that she was able to go out of her comfort zone and do it!
What age is appropriate?
This is a difficult one, but I wouldn’t expect a child younger than 5 would be able to concentrate for the whole show. It is quite fast paced, but so is the humour and so younger children might not get the jokes.
Also, as the children tend to sit at the front amongst themselves (but not every child does) younger children might feel a little overwhelmed by it all.
How do you prepare?
It might sound a really daft thing to say, but don’t wear too many clothes!! Anything Could Happen takes place in a real theatre, and as such, all the stage lights are on. This means that it does get warm quickly and whilst it never gets uncomfortable, you won’t need a thick jumper on!!
Apart from that, you can encourage your child to be creative in play, but generally, they will become immersed in the experience and develop as they take part.
What Do Adults do?
It sounds strange, but there is very little to do for the adults! You sit back in the audience and enjoy the show. It is that simple!!!
I do think that the adults enjoy the show just as much as the children, and because the humour is so quick and well put together, there is a layer of comedy that is just for adults!
What about First Timers?
This is a note of caution. Regardless of how confident or old your child is, they are likely to be unsure about Anything Could Happen during the first visit. This is because it is quite intense on their sensors – lights, visual and oral comedy, a different environment etc. My advice would be to go with how they feel and perhaps take some sweets with you to relax them.
However, after the first visit, you’ll have made up your mind whether it is right for your child and so don’t let their first impression put you off coming back. Heidi was restless during her first visit, but I knew she would enjoy it, and on the morning of the second show, she woke up with a huge smile, realising that it was Anything Could Happen Day!!
Finding Anything Could Happen has been amazing and has sparked Heidi’s creativity at home even more. However, with these kinds of activities, it is the people running it that make it so special. Without their creativity, passion and a little bit of silliness, the children would not benefit and enjoy the shows. I really hope that Heidi will enjoy the shows for a long time, as I know she will learn so much from them!
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