Thanks to my grandma I grew up in the theatre. I never had any interest in performing myself, but I loved watching. Every school holidays, while other grandmas took their grandkids to the movies, my gran would take my brother and I to the theatre. We saw everything from Kids Pantomime musicals like Cinderella & Aladdin to Full productions like Hot Shoe Shuffle (it starred Rondha Burchmore…OMG those legs!!!), The original Boy From Oz (Todd McKenny was amazing…I also saw the Hugh Jackman one…I prefer the original) to random performances like The Chinese Circus and David Copperfield (watching him fly over the audience was incredible). The last time I went to see a proper theatre show was the last time I saw my gran before she passed away. She got us (my new boyfriend who she hated…now my husband of 13 years) tickets to see Chicago. Hubby absolutely adored it and I honestly thought it would be the first of many in a lifetime together. But life happened somewhere along there. Grandmama passed away and she was my link to all the good shows and knew how to get the best tickets. We also spent the next 5 years in the mid north coast of NSW in a small town. Musical theatre just wasn’t going to happen when hubby worked 60 hours a week and we had four kids under four and lived in the middle of nowhere.
When we moved to Melbourne I really thought things would change. But not long after we settled here my photography business took off and that and raising kids took up all my life. It was only as our eldest daughter started performing herself that I really found love for musical theatre again….but there was never anything that I felt was appropriate for her. But I knew the day would come when I would finally get to sit beside her at her first performance. Then of course we found out Annie was touring. Then we discovered one of our homeschool friends had auditioned and one a part as Molly (well she is one of three rotating actors that play the part). Then we found out that it was almost half price if we booked a school group. Thanks to the Home Education Network (VIctoria) which has been running for over 20 years, it is easier than ever to connect with other homeschooled families. I put out the calll for interest in a group booking and within a few days had organised our tickets. I also want to put a big shout out to Ticketmaster here – they were very supportive of a homeschool school group booking (some places aren’t as obviously the teacher/pupil rate is much, much higher with homeschoolers) and got us absolutely fantastic seats. We had a decent window to pay (allowing me to collect everyones funds before going ahead) and the tickets were sent out promptly. It was my first time organising a group purchase like that and I was more than nervous….but it turned out wonderfully.
On the day however Miss 12 & I were feeling a more than a little out of sorts. We both had colds and were generally feeling miserable. We had planned to wear our matching dresses but mine was now too big and hers was too small. So on the day we found ourselves scrambling for new suitable for the theatre outfits. Miss 12 decided an a beautiful white vintage frock & cardigan, and I went for the classic LBD (little black dress). Then we headed off to meet up with our group for lunch before the show.
When we finally headed into the theatre Miss 12 was totally buzzing with excitement. I was too. Not so much for me (I am not the biggest fan of “Annie”) but about being there with her at her first “real” show in her first “real” theatre. The theatre was just beautiful. There is just something that gives me gooosebumps about beautiful old theatres.
Before we knew it the show was in full swing. The kids completely stole the show and I kind of felt bad for the adults in it (all great theatre performers in their own right) who were barely noticed at all. The girl who played Molly the day we went (wasn’t our homeschool friend that day unfortunately) really was incredibly amazing. She upstaged everyone. I spent most of the show watching Miss 12 as she sang along and beamed. Before I knew it I was signing along too. I actually ended up really, really enjoying it.
The only issue we had was just as they came back from intermission there was technical difficulties and the show was put on hold for 10 minutes while they sorted it out. Everyone else seemed a bit shocked, but growing up watching live theatre it happens. It gave Miss 12 a chance to make friends with the girl sitting next to her.
At the finale the biggest applause went to the dog (people are so funny). The dog who had only run across the stage three times during the show. If people were already going nuts for the dog, when the dog bowed things got crazier. Which just made me laugh.
I have been trying to explain for years just what my kids are capable of and I get kind of fed up when people assume their kids, as kids, aren’t capable of much. Like when we would pick up the girls from kinder the parents helping their 4 & 5yos on with jackets…telling us they can’t do it on their own. Which we always found incredibly amusing as our girls managed just fine. Kids are capable of so much and watching a show like this just makes you realise how capable they are. Capable of learning all their lines, in the order they go, capable of learning all the choreography and the music that goes along with it. They are capable of adapting when the show goes wrong. Now I don’t mean to say all kids would be able to do this (so many kids have terrible stage fright…like I did/do), but more so to point out that kids are no less capable of doing something than an adult. We have eased off a lot on “teaching” as we have discovered with flexibility and the girls natural curiosity there isn’t a lot they won’t learn on their own. They are capable of doing anything and you will often find us as parents stepping back and seeing how badly they want something. Miss 12 mentioned wanting to volunteer at the library. We said that sounded like a great idea. Then we gave her options to contact the librarian in charge and that was the last we heard about it for a few weeks. It turns out in that time she had contacted the council, gotten the email address of the person in charge, emailed back and forth and only came to see us to find out if being homeschoolers we had insurance that covered her volunteering (again thank you HEN). The next time we were in the library she took herself up to the counter and introduced herself. Then they talked about what she wanted to get out of volunteering and before we knew it she was booked in for council induction and is likely to be volunteering once a week during the pre-school storytime & craft activities.
Anyway this is turning into a ramble about something else entirely…but if you haven’t already seen Annie, and you have a little girl in your life (daughter, niece, god daughter) I highly recommend heading along and seeing it before it leaves.