As well as the amazing general atmosphere at Just So, the festival programme is pretty rocking, too. We went through the programme together as a family before we arrived, starring our must-see shows, and we actually managed to do all of those and more. Here were our favourites of the weekend:
Little Wonder: This show combined acrobalance and physical theatre and really caught the imagination of the twins. We watched it first thing on the Saturday, and it was a great start to our day.
Lantern making: Ez got really into making a lantern. although I’m not sure we timed this activity brilliantly. We headed into the Spellbound Forest as soon as we arrived at the festival on the Friday, and the lantern-making tent was absolutely rammed. We made the frame outside in the woods, which was lovely, but had to brave the crowds to cover the frame with the paper. Next year I think we’ll make our frame and come back at a quieter time to cover it, or even take some materials back to our tent so we can do it in our own time.
Lantern parade: The sight of all the finished lanterns hanging in the trees ready for everyone to collect was really fabulous. We didn’t make one last year, so we loved having one to take part in the parade this year. Seeing all the lanterns lit up and the parade winding around the forest is really magical, and a real highlight of our festival.
Clay faces: This is an extremely popular activity in the programme. To get a place, you need to get there early and it’s well worth it. After a brief introduction, the kids are given a lump of clay and head into the forest to create their faces out of things that they can find on the forest floor. Ez and Fonz took great care with theirs and wanted photographs taken of their finished creations.
Imaginary Menagerie: This was the last show we caught of the weekend (a riotous spectacle of circus performers, puppets and music with tales loosely based on Aesop’s fables) and we LOVED it. It was fun, energetic, imaginative and creative. All four of us enjoyed every single minute and I think we’d all have liked to be able to watch it all over again.
Circus skills: After facing the twins’ immense disappointment when we discovered I needed to have booked them into the weekend’s circus workshops, we went along to one of the open circus skills sessions where the twins got to try diablo, plate spinning and juggling sticks which more than made up for it.
Pirate Training Camp: There was no tearing the twins away from this. The pirates organised lots of pirate-themed games for the kids, which kept them completely engaged despite the wind and drizzle on Sunday morning.
Something To Hold: Last year’s show by Pif Paf Theatre was stunning, but the twins were too young to be able to engage with it, and got bored quickly. This year was different, and they were completely entranced by the acrobatic display and the drama onstage in front of them. The story of an Astronomer who tries capture two stars was told through movement and aerial acrobatics, and was stunning to watch.
Mermaids: The first thing that Fonz said to me after he woke up the morning after we met the mermaids at the festival was “Mummy, we saw actual real mermaids, didn’t we?” The look of wonder when they saw them was amazing, and as well as looking incredible the mermaids were brilliantly entertaining – the mermaid high five, which involved getting the children to lie down with their feet in the air and then slapping their feet with their tales, was a huge hit.
Limited early bird tickets for the Just So Festival 2015 are on sale now, so next year you could be there enjoying these amazing performances too!