Review 2019: Proteus Creation Space – Christmas Toy Shop

Thank you very much to today’s NHM Secret Reviewer. She’s done a fab job!

Review 2019: Proteus Creation Space – Christmas Toy Shop

After being told about the Christmas show at Proteus Creation Space numerous times when my firstborn was young (but never getting a chance to attend), I finally booked a space for my youngest and I to see the Christmas Toy Shop.

Unfortunately, after years of living on the outskirts of Basingstoke, I am still hopeless at navigating around but Proteus was really easy to find using Googlemaps. There was parking at the venue and also plenty of spaces along the surrounding roads. It is also very close to the short stay car park by ‘old town’.

We arrived a minute or two before the show started so didn’t get to fully scope out the facilities. Most people were waiting in a small cafe style area, indicating there are options to get a drink and/or piece of cake etc. We were running a little too late to sample anything.

The show itself was lovely. The number of people in the room was just right and enough to let the performers engage well with everyone. It was very immersive for the young ones (mine being 2.5yrs old), with activities for them to get involved in along the way. During the show we moved into three different rooms which stopped any little ones from getting restless and kept a sense of excitement going.

If you have young toddlers and are looking for something a little different at Christmas, I would definitely recommend Proteus Creation Space. It wasn’t too loud or too busy (which some places can be at that time of year) and it let the children take part in the experience too.

I would give it a 5/5 rating.

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The Band of HM Royal Marines Concert at the Anvil – 27th Jan 2019

The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane presents at the Anvil, Basingstoke:

The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines
 
Sun 27 Jan, 3pm
 
 

For some years Basingstoke Deane Rotary has been privileged to host The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. The concert will provide a wonderful two and a half hours of toe tapping, flag waving and ‘sing a long’ opportunities for great entertainment.

The music is mixed with great variety and previously has contained music from the movies, swing band, comedic pieces, popular classical songs often used on TV adverts and some good old-fashioned Patriotic tunes known by all generations.

The majestic full Concert Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, the Royal Corps of Drummers and special guests The Chelsea Pensioners, will again make this a very special event.  

A great opportunity to treat yourself and wash away the January blues.

All tickets are available through the Anvil booking office http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/band-of-the-royal-marines

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Review 2018: Oh no you didn’t!!!! A Review of “Snow White & the Seven Dwarves” at The Anvil

Written by Victoria Kennedy, Thefairyclothesmother.com (thank you VERY much Victoria for the awesome review!!! 

About

Snow white: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/snow-white

When offered the chance to attend the Christmas Panto at The Anvil, Basingstoke, I jumped at the chance. Many of my fond childhood memories are of attending the local panto! Panto’s are guaranteed family fun! And this one didn’t disappoint! There was plenty of audience participation- from song and dances, sweetie-chucking and water pistols to the traditional panto villain ‘boo’s’ and comedy slapstick of ‘He’s behind you’.

The Anvil Arts centre is an award winning concert hall, with amazing acoustics and an international reputation. The beautiful set design had the children captured from the beginning. With special effects such as indoor pyro- there were plenty of mesmerised faces!

A special mention has to be given to ‘Nurse Dolly’s’ wardrobe (I am a stylist after all! ). She had some absolutely stunning dresses, each unique and I would have loved the opportunity to study each in great detail! Take a look for yourself:

Snow White was played by Dani Harmer, of CBBC fame. She played the character well and her gentle, ‘girl next-door’ manner soon had the audience on side.

The Wicked Queen, played by Kirsty Sparks, was both terrifying and utterly lovable at the same time! The stars of the show, form y 5 year old son, was Muddles, played by Chris Pizzey (Basil Brush’s Mr Stephens). His jokey character got the children on side meaning audience participation was full on! The jokes had the kids roaring with laughter, creating a fantastic atmosphere. There was even a subtle ‘dad joke’ or two!

Personally, I loved the dwarves. Each played to their name sake well, with names carefully adapted so not to gain the wrath of Disney! They were both cheeky and lovable!

The show runs until 6th January with both matinee and evening performances- get your tickets here: http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

http://www.anvilarts.org.uk/your-visit/how-to-book/online-booking-information?ticketing_id=A8PE

Tips

Take ear defenders for children who are bothered by loud noises, as there are a few loud bangs. Also there is (without ruining the surprise) a brief moment involving water & the audience, if this is something that could bother your child ask at the info desk for the timing of the ‘stunt’ so you can be ready!

‘Flashy’ wands and the like are for sale but we took our own from previous events. This was allowed and certainly saved a small fortune as well as reducing our plastic consumption.

Dressing up was encouraged- there were many mini snow whites in the audience!

Food

There is a selection of treats –  sweeties, ice cream, crisps on sale at the venue. However, as a huge cost saver I’d recommend taking your own! The show is 2 hrs 35 min long so a drink will most definitely be needed. There is also a bar available.

Facilities

The Anvil is fully accessible to wheelchair users, and pushchairs. There are facilities for baby changing. The audience was a real mix of ages, so babes-in-arms are certainly welcomed. There is a bar onsite for refreshments.

Parking

The Anvil is easily accessed from any of the town centre car parks and just a 2 min walk from the train & bus station.

Prices

This is my only point of contention. The cost of a family visiting the theatre is becoming massively out of reach for many families. Unfortunately this is something that is happening with the panto too. At £28 per adult and £25 per child – a cost of over £100 for a family of 4 it means a big majority miss out. The Anvil does offer group rates, and discounted tickets to local schools.

Ratingout of 5

4 a great afternoon of family fun, with laughter, cheers, boo’s and song! Plus the most wonderful panto dame costume!!!

All images courtesy of Anvil Arts

Disclaimer: This post is a review of “Snow White Seven Dwarves and the  in conjunction with The Anvil. Victoria’s tickets were supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. We were not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are our own.

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‘Juglife’ – One Night Only

The poster for new theatrical project ‘Juglife’ is pretty eye-catching. It features two topless women, save for a well-placed sippie cup, a Hooters mug, a breastfeeding doll and a man’s hand (whose hand?!) Lindsey Lawman and Stacy Hart are pretty brave. Either that, or they’re keen to sell tickets. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that it’s hard to ignore. And that’s just how Lindsey and Stacy like it.

Juglife is a brand new verbatim play focused solely on the subject of breasts. And before you ask, no, they will not be performing topless. As Lindsey Lawman points out:

“Naked boobs tend to draw focus away from what you’re saying. Or the fact you’re speaking at all. So we’ll definitely be wearing clothes.”

If you didn’t know already, verbatim theatre is based on the spoken words of real people. Having put the call out on social media for women interested in discussing the topic of knockers, Lindsey and Stacy trekked across the country recording their stories. From those interviews, the pair have created an evening of monologues, taking a light-hearted look at the trials and tribulations of boobs; tales of loving them and hating them, gaining them and losing them, and everything in between. The results have been surprising, illuminating, and occasionally heartbreaking. Lindsey Lawman explains:

“Breasts are body parts like elbows or knees. But unlike elbows and knees, they carry a host of narratives which (can) inform a woman’s entire identity. Breasts are sexual, comforting, funny, intimidating, offensive, limiting, nurturing, dangerous. They can be a source of anxiety, of confidence, of pleasure, and of pain. The women we have spoken to have been brutally honest about the impact their breasts have had on their lives. There was a lot of laughter (one women spoke about her enviable ability to breastfeed herself!) But there were also times when our hearts ached listening to stories of crushingly low self-confidence, of defeat, of loss. We are so tremendously grateful for their bravery in sharing their stories, and we have no doubt there will a real sense of shared experience among the audience.”

That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom – far from it. Lindsey and Stacy say they’re keen to step away from the oft repeated headline of ‘breast shaming’, and instead want to celebrate the complexity of the female experience through the wonderfully fleshy lens of boobs.

Performed at The Tea Bar as part of The Basingstoke Festival ‘Discover Art in Unusual Places’ (www.basingstokefestival.co.uk), Juglife won’t feel like the usual piece of theatre. The audience will be sat at tables (with crucial access to the bar to sample the specially created breast-inspired cocktails!) as the actors perform not on a stage, but from within the crowd. Alongside the monologues will be a little bit of boob bingo (who knew there was 100 words for breasts?) and a rack raffle (with appropriately themed boob prizes). A percentage of the evening’s proceeds will go to help support NCT Basingstoke breastfeeding support.

When they are not raising tiny humans or performing, Stacy heads up the Basingstoke branch of the Women’s Equality Party, and Lindsey works as fundraising co-ordinator for Basingstoke NCT. As part of a series of fundraising events for the breastfeeding drop-in (or B.A.B.I.E.S – Babies And Breastfeeding, Information, Encouragement, Support) ‘Juglife’ is swiftly followed by Secret Art Basingstoke, a postcard art exhibition and sale taking place between 23 July and 4 August.

You can see ‘Juglife’ at The Tea Bar, Basingstoke on June 20 at 7.45pm. Tickets (£7), available to purchase online at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

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Review 2017: How many sleeps ’til Christmas

There are still tickets available for today, tomorrow and Wednesday!!!

Thank you to today’s NHM Secret Writer for writing such a fab review!!

Review 2017: How many sleeps ’til Christmas

This years Christmas show  ‘How many sleeps ’til Christmas ‘by Scratch Built Productions has to be described as absolutely enchanting. The show is on at the Proteus Creation Space from the 14th to the 24th December with 3 shows a day.

Without spoiling the wonderfully written story too much we were transported to Elf’s bedroom where his bedtime story was being interrupted by a host of Christmas characters. We met Fairy who had lost something special and followed her through an interactive advent calendar all the way to Santa’s garden where we met the man himself.

Children will create a Christmas decoration, experience live music, puppetry and a trapeze artist. The show has elements personalised to each child adding that extra special bit of Christmas magic to the experience. The attention to detail is amazing (have a look at the beautiful handmade blankets in elfs bedroom) with wonderful creative techniques used to tell the story there is something for all ages.

The very youngest will enjoy the playful music and soft sensory lights, toddlers will love discovering whats behind the doors of the advent calendar and older children will be captivated by the funny friendly characters, even the adults were caught up in the Christmas magic. If you’ve watched previous years shows keep an eye out for some cheeky returning characters making an appearance.

The show is very relaxed with children able to move around and participate as much as they wish, some of the show is signed, making it very accessible and there is a relaxed performance available for children with additional needs (18th Dec 14:30).

Arrive with plenty of time to spare as there is a bit of elfmin to be done before the show to add a wonderful personal touch for each child. The performers and staff at the theater were friendly and helpful and really added to the wonderful experience.

On the practical side the theater has a cafe which serves drinks as well as some delicious cakes and quiches and has toys to keep little ones entertained whilst you wait for the show.

There is a limited buggy park so consider coming without one if you can and bring a carrier for the smallest audience members as the show involves moving between sets. Babies are easily accommodated and can fed during the show as there is plenty of places to sit.

Baby changing facilities are available. There is a small onsite car park, or a large pay and display across the road, alternatively it is around a 10 minute walk from the bus and train station in town.

Our party left the show feeling very Christmassy (its a good word!), if your tree and decorations have yet to go up then this will leave you in the mood to get the festivities started. We give the show a big fat 10/10 for originality, creativity, interactivity and a lots and lots of magical sparkles.

Tickets are still available for performances early next week so book quickly to avoid missing this magical experience. http://www.proteustheatre.com/whats-on/how-many-sleeps

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“How Many Sleeps ’til Christmas”: Scratch Built Productions’ immersive Christmas show for under 5s

Scratch Built Productions invite families to join them for a cosy Christmas treat at the Creation Space, with their immersive show for under-5s, How Many Sleeps ‘til Christmas.

After three previous sell-out Christmas shows, Scratch Built Productions in association with Proteus Theatre Company return to the Creation Space in Basingstoke this Christmas with their enchanting and interactive festive show aimed at pre-school children and their families…..…..How Many Sleeps ’til Christmas.

The land between waking and sleep is a wonderful place where anything can happen; dreams become reality and reality becomes a dream. Come and meet a colourful host of characters as they lead you on a magical journey where clouds are collected, stories are created, where wishes are welcomed and dreams can come true. Everyone is invited to enjoy this wonderfully cosy Christmas treat.

Following on from the success of last year’s How do Reindeer Fly, Scratch Built Productions are keen not to give away too many details about what is now an eagerly anticipated treat for many local families. However Cbeebies actress and this year’s co-director, Becky Kitter, revealed that there will be plenty of surprises in store to delight little ones:

“Having been part of the cast in the past three productions, I’m really excited to bring all my previous experience to the table as co-director this year, especially as a soon-to-be mum myself! We are creating a dream-like environment for our audiences to snuggle up in, with lots of visual and sensory elements that even babies will enjoy. We are working with some really talented people to create the show, including a visual artist, live musicians and trapeze performers, and of course there will be puppets and plenty of Christmas sparkle!”

“What a magical, beautiful time we had yesterday. We loved every minute” – Katie H, audience member, 2016

“How reindeer fly is possibly the most magical children’s Christmas event going. I cannot recommend it enough. Captured the essence of Christmas beautifully and my daughter was captivated and she’s only 2. We will most definitely be back next year.” Louise E, audience member 2016

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 will be transformed into a walkthrough adventure where children are encouraged to explore, play, create and interact with the enchanting surroundings and colourful characters that they meet along the way.

Tickets are selling fast and some performances have already sold out, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy 45 minutes of unforgettable Christmas magic with your little ones!

Thursday 14th December until Sunday 24th December, with three performances a day at 11am, 2.30pm & 4.30pm weekdays and 11am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm weekends.

The 2.30pm performance on Monday 18th December will be a relaxed performance for those with additional needs and will also include interpretation from a BSL expert.

Tickets are £8 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/whats-on or call the Proteus office on 01256 354541. Please note, payments cannot be taken over the phone

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Review 2017: “A Christmas Carol”, a Proteus production

Thank you VERY much to the NHM Secret Reviewer who wrote today’s post!!! She did a fab job!

“A Christmas Carol”

A Christmas play for school-aged children and grown ups alike

About

A Christmas Carol is a Proteus production that is currently on tour in North Hants and surrounding areas. The show tells an adapted version of Dickens’ classic tale. It stays true to the political undertones and moral of the original but is set in current times and adapted to be more suitable for a family audience.

The play includes a cast of three who are accompanied by some amazing, creative puppets. The set is simple but effective and the team use light and sound creatively to bring the story to life.

The show is advertised as being suitable for children aged 6+. I went to see it with my 5-year-old having had a chat with him in advance to warn him there might be some scary parts.

There are some adult themes that would pass over the heads of most children (e.g. the moral obligation to serve humanity) but that give the show enough depth to be entertaining to adult audience members.

There are also some more overtly ‘scary’ scenes (e.g. a scene involving a grave stone/scrooge being ‘buried alive’) but these are short-lived and didn’t seem to rattle any of the children in the audience.

The puppetry is incredible and it was fascinating to watch how the children engaged with the puppet characters and ignored the actors who were sometimes visible behind them.  The creative use of puppets, especially to enact the roles of the ghosts of Christmas past and ghost of Christmas present gave the show a lighter tone and made the audience laugh out loud many times. Overall, Proteus have done a fantastic job adapting what is a challenging story, to be entertaining to a range of audiences. This is show you could go and see without the kids or one to take the kids along to. We both had a brilliant time but I would suggest it’s not ideal for children with a more sensitive temperament who are likely to be upset by some scenes and story lines.

For show dates see: http://www.proteustheatre.com/productions/a-christmas-carol/tour-schedule-296

Tips

The advertised run time is 80 minutes but with the 15 minute interval we were there for 2 hours. This was a little too long for my son whose attention was wavering towards the end so it is probably not ideal for children who struggle to sit still.

This is suitable for children and adults, I don’t think there’s an upper age limit and if you wanted to go without the kids that would also be ok. There were audience members without children at the show I attended. The average age of children in the audience was probably around 7 or 8 years.

Facilities

Every venue will be different but Proteus has baby changing, toilets, a café and parking.

Price

£8 per adult, £4 per child

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Review 2016: How do reindeer fly?

Thank you very much to Helen who went to see “How do reindeer fly” yesterday and sent her review to me last night!!! christmas%20list%20high-resolution%20export-422

Proteus Christmas Show lives up to expectations!

About

We went to the Proteus children’s Christmas show last year and the year before and absolutely loved it both times, so we were very excited about going along to ‘How do Reindeer Fly?’ this Christmas. Expectations were very high for what is fast becoming a Christmas tradition in our house.

In ‘How do reindeer fly?’ The audience are invited to Christmas HQ to see the elves at work. After a creative demonstration of gift-wrapping the elves take a hard earned tea break and then, once all the ‘visiting elves’ are sporting reindeer antlers, they introduce us to Donner and Blitzen. Things go a little bit awry and Mary Christmas has to call on the visiting elves (children in the audience) to save Christmas.

As with previous years’ shows, the audience seamlessly become part of the show with the children helping the elves with the magic that makes the reindeer fly. There is less moving between rooms than in previous years, with the show mostly based in one room. This seems to work well and there is a greater sense of space than in previous years. Towards the end there is a short walk into another (beautiful!) snowy space. Here there are some lovely sensory activities and then Father Christmas arrives to tell the children a story.

The show did not disappoint. My 4 year old belly-laughed more times than I could count and was completely engaged with the story and the activities. My 1 year old was so fascinated by what was going on that he actually sat still for a while! He enjoyed meeting Donna and Blitzen so much that he kept going back to look for them when they had gone. The team at Proteus seem to have a knack for producing children’s shows that are entertaining, funny and interactive whilst being lovely and relaxed. ‘Heartwarming’ is the best word I can think of to capture the atmosphere they create.

Overall we had a brilliant time, we left with many happy memories and some Christmas souvenirs. The team at Proteus should be commended for creating, once again, an imaginative, wonderful Christmas story. We’ll be back next year for more!

How do reindeer fly is showing at Proteus creation space until Saturday 24th December and is sold out (sorry!). Even if you’re too late for this years’ show make sure you check out what they’re doing next year!

For more information see http://www.proteustheatre.com/creation-space

Tips

I’m told that children who attended the show will receive an email from Father Christmas sometime this weekend!

The children meet Father Christmas at the end but he tells the group a story. There is no expectation of a one-to-one so it would be fine for children who are less keen on meeting him.

Most of the children there were around 3-6 years I would guess, with a few younger siblings. The show is advertised as a preschool show and it is perfect for preschool-aged children. Older children probably wouldn’t get a lot from it.

Although this is an interactive show there is no pressure and parents can stay with children and help them at all times.

Facilities

Proteus has baby changing, toilets, a café (with amazing cake!) and free parking.

Price

£7.70 per ticket

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How do Reindeer Fly? is showing at the Creation Space this December!

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We are excited to announce that award-winning Scratch Built Productions have once again joined forces with Proteus Theatre Company to transform the Creation Space into a magical Christmas theatre experience for pre-school children and their families. This will be the third Christmas show from the creators of Santa Town and Father Christmas’s Christmas List.

This is a fully immersive experience as the whole building gets transformed into a magical wonderland! The children and their families are guided on a journey to various different locations, meeting a variety of different characters on the way. There will be interactive activities and you may even get to meet the big man himself!

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We spoke with Scratch Built Productions, who told us “The show is suitable for anyone of any age, but pre-school children are the target audience. Lots of theatre shows are not designed for the youngest members of the family and they are left at home. We want to make them feel that they are very much part of the show, and sensory elements are in place to keep even the smallest of minds engaged. Every detail is considered, and the children are encouraged to explore, play, create and interact.

“We believe that children’s theatre needs to be the very best it can be, as for some of the young audience, this is there first ever experience of live theatre! This year we have actors, dancers, musicians and puppeteers, whose previous credits include The Gruffalo, Moomins, War Horse and CBeebies Grandpa in my Pocket.”

Tickets for How do Reindeer Fly? are on sale now, so book now for this special and unique festive treat!

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About the show

Have you ever looked up into the sky, and asked yourself the question; how do reindeer fly?

Christmas Eve can be a bit daunting for a young reindeer about to make her first trip around the world.

So many questions… What if I get lost? Will I get hungry on the way? What if I’m afraid of heights!

Everything is ready. The presents are wrapped and Father Christmas’s cloak is back from the dry cleaners. There is just one problem for the young reindeer… how does she fly?

Featuring puppetry, music, dance and sensory elements, experience the story of one young reindeer as she prepares for her first Christmas Eve.

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You can also book in person at the Creation Space. Please note that we are unable to take bookings over the phone.

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Review 2016: Brrrrr!!! at Proteus Creation Space

Thank you very much to Helen, one of the NHM writers, who went to see this show yesterday, courtesy of the Proteus Creation Space team (thank you for the tickets!) and has already written her review, so that you can review it in advance of the shows later today! 14956469_544625799062656_3108402936070251677_n

Brrr brings heartwarming fun to North Hampshire!

We had a brilliant time. A perfect way to spend an hour on a cold November afternoon. Lots and lots of laughter and smiles. Special time with my little boy!

About

Brrrr tells the story of Steve, a penguin who doesn’t like the cold. Steve dreams of travelling to South Africa, a magical land with three suns, tiny elephants and hot snow. When Beryl the bird accidentally crashes into his world they set off together on a voyage to this magical land. Brrrr is a play come acrobatics show designed specifically for younger audiences (children aged 3years +). I went along to Proteus Creation Space to see it with my 4 year old son. We had high hopes being huge fans of the Proteus children’s Christmas shows (tickets are now on sale for this years Christmas show by the way!).

Brrr is performed by three actors using a relatively small and simple set, which is perfect for young children. The show is funny, visually entertaining, captivating and heart-warming. The story is told primarily through simple dialogue supported by music, narration and sign language (BSL), which is integrated seamlessly.  My son belly-laughed his way through and even got up for a dance; we both had a wonderful time. The cast were flexible and responsive to the audience and there was some participation in the form of singing, cheering and touching the snow. If you’re able to catch brrrr whilst it’s showing I thoroughly recommend you go along, the cast and crew should be congratulated on creating such a fun and genuinely inclusive performance piece.

Brrr is showing at Proteus creation space on Sunday 6th at 11am and 3pm and at venues across the region through to December 4th . There is a relaxed performance on Wednesday 9th November at 7pm (Proteus Creation Space).

For more information see www.brrrshow.co.uk

Tips

Programmes at £2.50 and include a story book version of Brrr as well as a wordsearch and some colouring in. You can download an audiobook version of the story at the above website.

The room at Proteus has bean bags at the front for little ones if they want to be close to the action.

The run time is around 70 minutes. My son isn’t known for his ability to sit still and did jiggle around a little but made it through without any problems. I can imagine it would be a little long for children under 3 though, obviously depending on the child.

There is probably an age at which children wouldn’t get so much from this performance. It’s difficult to say what that age would be – maybe around 8 years although this obviously depends on the child too.

The show didn’t contain any unexpected loud noises or anything ‘scary’.

Facilities

Every venue will be different but Proteus has baby changing, toilets, a café and parking.

Price

£6 per ticket

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