his Saturday a full schedule of live theatre, music, craft and art installation transformed the Riverfront. It was all down to Grow Wild, a Big Lottery Fund backed campaign which works to raise awareness about the importance of wildflowers and plants them across the UK.
The day opened with Growing Up from Louby Lou's Storytelling, an interactive performance which follows a caterpillar once it has transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Saturday’s performance was the first outing for this brand new show; something which was made possible by Grow Wild funding.
Well suited to young children, the story takes the audience on an emotive adventure as Butterfly finds her way in the world. The talented cast managed to embed facts about wildlife seamlessly into the performance, while interactive elements kept even the youngest theatre goers engaged.
A tour of Growing Up is planned for next Spring, with performances already confirmed at the Playhouse Theatre in Cheltenham. Further dates are yet to be confirmed but, hopefully, there will be performances across the UK. You can keep track of the latest news and performance details from this local enterprise via their Facebook page or website.
Other performances running throughout the day included Me and My Bee. This charming and high energy performance was engaging for the whole family. The political party, disguised as a party, disguised as a show, told the ‘real-life’ story of Joe (a bee) and his struggle to survive. There is music, dancing, love, loss, and a giant bee that gets beaten with a bouncy hopper (comedy gold for younger members of the audience).
Me and My Bee mixes physical comedy with hard facts and a range of jokes pitched both for children and adults. Particular mention has to go to the actor playing Joe whose energy and enthusiasm continued from the moment the audience walked in the door to when they left the foyer. When not bounding about the stage or teaching everyone some dance moves, he was delivering an emotive story about life as a bee.
Alongside studio performances, other exhibitions throughout the day included Thrive, a lettering installation by Cardiff artist James Lewis, and a wildflower inspired comic strip Flower Power! by Sean Hollyman. Meanwhile, Leicester based Contrast Steel Band Juniors filled the foyer with the echoing sounds of their steel band.
Throughout the event, the gallery played host to Sensory Roots, a multi-sensory art installation by Andrea Radisic. This piece was created by a group in Newport and really did stimulate all of the senses. The doorway to the gallery was adorned with a hanging creation, resembling the roots of a plant, which chimed and crinkled as it was walked through. Once inside the gallery, the smell of wildflowers filled the air and baskets of flowers were present on either side. Children and adults alike reveled in touching and feeling the suspended roots.
Following on from the success of The Big Splash earlier in the year, The Grow Wild take over cements the Riverfront as a hub for accessible and family friendly arts. I hope this trend continues and the Riverfront gets recognition for making these events happen. Early signs are promising as the Riverfront already has three children’s events lined up before Christmas, including Poggle which is showing next Sunday!
If you are interested in more family friendly fun, you can find out further details from the Riverfront’s website.