Review 2015: Santa Town – a charming and interactive Christmas show for under 5’s!

Today’s review of Santa Town has been done by one of the NHM Writers, Lindsey, and she’s done a fantastic job! Thank you Lindsey!

Santa Town is incredibly popular with families under 5 years old and details are at the bottom of this post for booking tickets. Lots of shows are sold out though, so be quick!

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Review 2015: Santa Town!

Last night, Scratch Built Productions in association with Proteus Theatre Company took a very lucky group of Basingstoke-based elves on a whimsical journey to the residence of Father Christmas. Armed with Christmas jumpers and a return train ticket, a motley crew of excited Glitter, Packer and Prancer Elves (sorted according to size, obviously) made their way through the snowy landscape in hope of meeting the Big Man himself. Led by the very capable clan of Christmas Elves – Becky, Betsy, Bobby and Bunny Bauble, our train wheeled its way to our first stop: Passport Control. Whilst usually a place reserved for desperately trying to look like a photo in which you’re sporting an ill-advised fringe, in Santa Town it is a place for naughty and nice lists, hand-drawn passports and pink, fluffy passport officials. It is also the place where we as the audience get a feel for what we’re in for. And we’re in for something good!

Santa Town is a promenade show, meaning that rather than sitting down and passively watching the story unfold, the audience walks from room to room, very much part of the action.  As soon as the show begins, The Christmas Elves directly address the crowd, encouraging everyone to join in, move about and take part. There are special jobs dished out for individual audience members along the way, immediately prompting much enthusiastic hand-raising and “ooh ooh, me, me, me!” from the littlest theatre-goers.    Pens and paper are passed around at various stages of the show in order to draw pictures and write wishes, alongside other simply delightful role-playing activities which I won’t spoil for you.

Going to Santa Town without a little one in tow, I worried that not being the target audience (it is billed for under-5s) might make me feel a little silly.  Not so. In safe hands with the warm and enthusiastic Christmas Elves, I soon found myself sitting cross-legged and immersed during story time, lining up in the shop queue clutching Santa Town currency hoping to buy a crochet banana, and gasping in delight as I spied a very familiar fellow in red velvet peeking round the door.

Promenade shows done this well are rare.  Santa Town perfectly blends audience autonomy with good crowd control, meaning that whilst the 50 minutes flies by, you feel like you’ve seen, done and experienced as much as you could possible want to. Because much of the joy of the show is in its unexpected nature (I heard one little voice pipe up with “Mummy, what’s NEXT?!” as we made our way to the next instalment of the show) I won’t reveal all of its little pleasures.  However, some of my highlights include the beautifully told story of the Shoe-makers Elves, the wonderfully crafted and expertly handled puppets who add that extra bit of magic, and the gorgeous little design touches that pepper the whole show. The set and scenery is like something out of your childhood imaginings; comfy leather sofas, a roaring log-fire (don’t worry, it’s fake), and bookshelves all strewn with fairy lights transform the space into the perfect Santa’s grotto.

On a practical front, each room is well equipped for little ones, with soft mats on the floor and baby wipes on hand for rogue pen dashes. There is a dedicated area for buggies, clean baby-changing facilities and the whole space is breastfeeding friendly.  The café is open before, during and after the show for hungry/thirsty theatre-goers. The Creation Space does have parking, but I imagine during busy shows it fills up quickly.

So if you’re after a little something special to make your Christmas extra sparkly, head to The Creation Space from now until Christmas Eve…and tell Father Christmas I said hello!

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Local artists get on board the express train to Santa Town – An interactive festive show for the under fives

Scratch Built Productions, in association with Proteus Theatre Company, present a special and unique festive treat for younger audiences this December, transforming the Creation Space into the enchanting Santa Town.

All aboard the express train to Santa Town! This fully interactive show takes audiences on a magical journey through a winter wonderland and into a Christmassy town like no other. Audiences meet a variety of fun and festive characters along the way and, if you are very lucky, you might meet the big man himself!

Created specifically to be enjoyed by the youngest members of the family (and as something a little different from a traditional Christmas show), the Creation Space has been transformed into a walkthrough adventure where children are encouraged to explore, play, create and interact within Santa Town.

Audience members will have their special passports stamped before entering this magical world of role play and storytelling, where they will discover Santa Town’s very own fancy dress shop, mini grocery, a working post office run by mischievous elves and a bank where you can collect your Santa town money! This delightful show follows on from last year’s sell-out Father Christmas’ Christmas List show and features music, puppets, dancing and lots of participation.

“She was desperate not to leave and wanted to go through and do it all again!
Abi from NorthHantsMum on Father Christmas’ Christmas List 2014 (NHM: LOVE that the press release includes a quote from NorthHantsMum :-D)

Santa Town is a truly collaborative production; Scratch Built Productions have worked with artists from the local community, including illustrator and ceramicist Katie Smith, graphic designer Chuck Douglas, street artist Bill Thorpe and internationally recognised artist Kev Munday. This talented collective have designed and created many of the Santa Town landmarks, from the post box, to the wishing well and the Santa Town Chronicle to the Santa Town currency!

Performed by a diverse cast, including CBeebies actress Becky Kitter, Proteus’ winter tour regulars Paul Huntley-Thomas and Mary Rose, Scratch Built newcomer Anna Tobert and puppeteer extraordinaire and Scratch Built Director Nick Ash, this show will be 45 minutes of Christmas magic!

Santa Town runs from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 24th December, with three performances a day at 10am, 12pm and 2.30pm. The 2.30pm performance on Friday 18th December will be a relaxed performance for those with additional needs, although this performance is open to all. 12 performances are already completely sold out!

Tickets are £6.50 each, children under 12 months of age go free. Tickets available from wegottickets.com/proteustheatre or you can book in person at the Creation Space. For more information, visit www.proteustheatre.com or call the Proteus office on 01256 354541. Please note, card payments can only be made online.

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