Last weekend, Oona and I were invited along to The Boo Theatre to their ‘Babies in Space’ to join in the adventure of baby Luna who has been lost by its Mama and needs to find its way home.
We had an absolutely wonderful time.
As you know, I have four children and they all take up lots of my time, but finding time and activities to enjoy with them one to one is harder. Imogen and I have a weekly coffee date whilst Elizabeth is at film club (Dad has the other kids) and when Imogen and Leon go to Karate I stick Oona in the bath with all the toys and plenty of bubbles and Elizabeth and I have big chats… but Leon and Oona need an activity to do with me since chatting and drinking cups of tea whilst crocheting isn’t really up their street!
That’s why I was excited to take Oona along to the theatre. She’s been lots of times before as part of family trips, so she knows what to expect. I told her that she and I were having a Mummy and Oona date and she was thrilled. We got ready and went along to the theatre, amazingly arriving not just on time, but a week early! (oops!) They are so friendly though, after checking the list they said they could squeeze us in no problem.
When we first arrived we had time to play in the cafe and craft area. i felt that the choice of toys available was very thoughtful since it was all space themed:
The jigsaw was all things that fly in the sky including a rocket of course!
She made a rocket! (OK, OK it was a tower…but yeah I see rockets here!
And then we were gently invited to follow Alison into the first room where we were to meet Luna
(Photo credit: Horse and Bamboo Theatre)
The story of Babies in Space is a sweet one: Baby Luna is lost on Earth and we must help by taking him/her up in a rocket ship back to the Moon. Not before getting our space outfits on of course and singing some songs and having some story time! I absolutely love the fact that the baby isn’t given a gender, it means that the baby can be whatever the children want it to be. It was quite funny though, because Oona misheard and every time the actors spoke to baby Luna and said it’s name Oona thought they were talking to her! She felt very special indeed! I had to explain in the end! 🙂
The title Babies in Space is two-fold because whilst baby is lost in Space, the theatre company has successfully created a sensory space where children feel both stimulated and safe. The children travel through the theatre into different sensory scenes: a bedroom, complete with little beds for the children so that they can be like Luna, then we go through the wardrobe and into the rocket ship, and once we landed on the moon we go through to a large dark space which is gradually lit with more and more lighting and different sensory treats such as sand, balls, plastic wrap, tunnels etc. It was a really magical experience. The music was calming and the lighting was soft and slow-moving (important to know if you have a child on the spectrum you are thinking of bringing along). People were quite quiet and the darkness and the music really calmed everything right down. I think if the mood had been different the kids (small as they were) might’ve just gone mad running around and diving in all the pools but it was a delightfully chilled out and pleasant play-experience. More of a gentle exploration really.
I struggled a bit to take pictures because of course it was dark and I was trying to engage with Oona on the journey and I didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere keep getting my camera out so I hope you get the idea! The photographs that are good belong to the theatre, I swiped them off the website with permission of course and credited each one underneath.
We start off in the bedroom where there were little beds made up for the children to get in and cushions placed behind for grown-ups to sit. As you know, my back is done in at the moment. I thought I would struggle sitting there but since we were not there for long I was OK. For this performance I suggest if you need to be seated on a chair or have a wheelchair you might want to ring in advance. I am quite sure they could have easily accommodated me if I had asked for a chair, but it was a bit late when I just walked in and would have disrupted things a bit. So yes, just call ahead!
I didn’t take many pictures of the bedroom at the beginning, it was a bit dark and full of interesting things. I was chatting to Oona and reassuring her and talking to her quietly about the toys that had been left for her to look at.
She particularly liked this bouncy Earth, but so did the baby next to her so we had to do a bit of turn-taking.
A tactile little cloth with removeable planets
The bedroom window was really cool, with the sky changing as the story went along
The kids were encouraged to dress up in boots and helmets (they even had bibs for smaller babies so they could be involved with this too!) We then went through the wardrobe, Narnia-style and boarded the best Rocket ship EVER!
This is Oona helping to steer the ship. The ship’s walls were made with some kind of silver foil covered stuff and they shook it to make us feel like we were moving. It was a bit of a squash in there, not helped obviously by the fact that they had squeezed me and Oona into the group when we should’ve been to the next Sunday’s performance!
What was good as well was that the exits (whilst not obvious because we were pretending to be on a rocket) were pointed out so that you could leave at any time. There was a bit of dry-ice mysteriousness upon landing and we stepped out onto the moon.
It was quite dark, but as we wandered around the space, big gym balls, smaller balls with lights inside and many other sensory toys and activities were added to the space. This is Oona in her space outfit rolling on a gym ball.
A black net with fairy lights and a mirrored box made a simple yet striking difference to one corner of the space
My favourite sensory pool! It was filled with SUPER long pieces of sparkly silver ribbon that I could lift higher than my head and they just fell like water back into the pool. I could have stayed there all day playing with that stuff but Oona preferred the sand pit.
Terrible pictures, I know but I am hoping you will see that even though the lights were constantly changing colour it was a really soothing atmosphere.
Ah, I’ll give your eyes a rest! This picture is a Boo Theatre one obviously. These hanging decorations looked lovely with the lights bouncing off them.
We sent baby Luna off to space (I had to spell it out to Oona at this point that they really were not talking about her and yes she would be staying with me!) and came back in the rocket ship to earth where we said goodbye.
I would really recommend this production, it is designed for the very young but I could also see children with special needs getting a lot out of it too, since it was a sensory delight! My Elizabeth would’ve loved it.
Thanks to The Boo Theatre for our complimentary tickets. As usual my comments and opinions (and sadly most of the photos) are my own. Go take a look next time you are in the area…or make the trip, it’s worth it!