Alnwick Playhouse, Northumberland

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A treasure trove of cultural events, Alnwick Playhouse is one destination to put on the must-visit map, whether you are local to Northumberland or not.

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Home of the amazing Creative Cocoon programme, Alnwick Playhouse is a classic independent venue which also hosts film and theatre shows. Under this umbrella, Creative Cocoon provide a specially designed event series, suitable for children aged 10 and under.

A few weeks ago we took the kids to see Disney’s Moana at Alnwick Playhouse, escaping a grey January day and settling down for some sunny escapism. I much prefer watching movies here rather than at mainstream large cinemas, as it feels a more unique and special experience. The traditional theatre-style seats are also cosier for kids and we wandered across to the pizza restaurant opposite for tea afterwards….all factors making for one very happy family.

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A real hub of unexpected delights, live plays and opera are regularly streamed too, should you be looking for a slice of arts and culture. Even though the playhouse is local to my family, I hadn’t actually realised exactly how wide the spectrum of activities and shows featured is.

Back to Creative Cocoon, a lovely branch of the playhouse hosting baby and toddler events all year round. These include muscial sessions and creative arts groups. An inclusive unit, the idea is to welcome and inspire mums, providing support and a strong cuppa too. I’ve spoken to several mamas who have absolutely loved these activities, and mentioned how well run they are.

I think being a mum can find you scrabbling around for creativity, so the idea of an environment helping this part of your brain thrive ticks all toddler group boxes. To date, Creative Cocoon sessions have included time with author and illustrator Rob Biddilph, puppet performances and a vast array of musical, arts and craft groups.

During the upcoming February half term, there will be free storytelling sessions for under 10s. Kids can gather around the above storytelling chair and be whisked away to magical lands and brilliant tales. The decorative chair makes these stories feel so much more interactive and adds definite charm. Plus, for extra out of school entertainment, Shark in the Park shall appear on stage and a screening of The Lego Batman Movie, both during the holiday.

Put together by the team behind Hairy McLairy, Shark in the Park comprises 3 Nick Sharratt books. Watch each one performed onstage and enjoy family music, with the show suitable for littlies aged 2 and upwards.

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At the end of half term my Mr and I are heading to watch La La Land, and I simply cannot wait. Did I mention this versatile venue works rather well as a date night destination? The theatre bar is perfectly placed for a pre or post show tipple, and sometimes you’ll find canapes to be part of ticket prices too.

Daytime coffees at the cafe make for a great opportunity to check out current displays, like the recent exhibition of local children’s work on offer. A people-watching spot, you can meet friends or grab a cuppa with other mums before a lovely Creative Cocoon stop-off.

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Looking ahead to warmer months, coming up in April from Creative Cocoon is The Friendly Dragon and The Tiny Bird Workshop. This installation, workshop and performance enables children to watch characters in motion and absorb the story of Sylvia and the Bird. Priced at £5 per family, two adults and two children can be involved. An extremely reasonable price, receive a Creative Cocoon welcome and join their exciting ever-evolving journey.

As a further treat to tempt you towards the Northumberland coast, if you’re not sold already, here’s a gorgeous picture of nearby Alnmouth beach which is a 10 minute drive from the Alnwick Playhouse.  Just 45 minutes in the car from Newcastle, and well-connected to local rail links, surely you won’t find a more enticing trip incentive?

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Post created in collaboration with Alnwick Playhouse.

Explore the full Alnwick Playhouse events programme HERE.

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