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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Here’s One We Made Earlier: Celebrate BBC Children’s programmes past and present in biggest ever exhibition at The Lowry

The changing world of BBC Children’s radio and television programming will be the focus of a three-month exhibition at The Lowry this summer.
Here’s One We Made Earlier - which will look at the past, present and future of children’s broadcasting on the BBC - will open on Saturday 19 July and run until Sunday 12 October.
It will explore the complete story of more than 90 years of BBC Children’s, moving from the first days of broadcasting in 1922 with the launch of Children’s Hour, right up to the present multi-media moment.  The interactive exhibition will pull together iconic items, footage, puppets and props from the BBC Archives as well as from private and public collections across the country.
The exhibition will be co-curated with local children and as well as revisiting favourite broadcast moments from across the generations, visitors can peep behind the scenes, having a go at being presenters themselves and trying a range of hands-on activities. 
The exhibition will also ponder the question of how children’s broadcasting has both changed, and remained the same over almost a century – from when toddlers were asked to ‘sit comfortably’ to today’s children who take centre stage on air. 
Joe Godwin, director of BBC Children’s, said: “It’s great to be launching an exhibition of this kind in partnership with our close neighbours at The Lowry.  From Muffin the Mule and Andy Pandy to CrackerjackNewsround and Blue Peter, most British childhoods have been defined by the programmes and characters we love when we're young, many of them provided by the BBC.
“It’s really exciting to be able to showcase current programmes, as well as look back at some favourites from the past 92 years of BBC children's programmes.  Families will be able to come along and enjoy the exhibition together which is incredibly important to us and we’re looking forward to hearing what visitors think.”
Michael Simpson, director of visual arts and engagement at The Lowry, said: “This exhibition is as much about today as it is about yesterday.  There will be plenty of blasts from the past, but it will also be looking at how relevant and important children’s broadcasting remains, and how children’s viewing and listening habits are changing”

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Private Peaceful Liverpool Playhouse

A one actor show with minimal scenery tells the moving story of Michael Morpurgo's Private  Peaceful, Tommo is a young soldier in the First World War acted by Andy Daniels  This is the adaptation from the Blue Peter prize winning book. The powerful portrayal of the actor plays out each instrumental character of his family and beyond as he reflects on earlier memories.
We follow him through his first day at school where he meets a bullying teacher to joining up and his role in fighting at war. The complexities of emotions involved in relationships are all beautifully performed. The actor’s quick switch between characters is admirable and engaging providing visualisations of the characters he played through his portrayal. The stories of family life, the loss of his father and the events which lead him to join up to fight captivated the audience. In the interval the actor stayed on stage for the whole time, this caused some speculation as to why but on reflection this shows his commitment to the character and is pivotal to telling the story.
The sound and light effects filled the theatre and are vivid reminders as the atrocities of the war unfold, the story of family life back home carry on with letters arriving, the letter tucked into his pocket closest to his heart. The description of the trench conditions although heard before I found myself recoiling from the appalling conditions described as he attacked the unseen rats in rain filled trenches.
I wish I could tell you how it ended, but I'd be cheating you of the unravelling story which has to be seen to be appreciated. Attending with teenagers it's harder to predict their reaction, enjoyed isn't the right word; it held their attention, moved us all and provided a lot to talk about afterwards. We enjoyed the performance yet it would seem wrong to say we enjoyed the story, the tragedy of war stories, of lives lost are painful reminders of the history painted in such a simple yet enthralling production the memories of this will stay with us far longer than any other performance.
The age 8+ is good guidance, there were also couples attending and this was definitely not just a family show. All credit to the actor who performed for the whole duration, he commandeered the stage.

Tickets were received by Mumsnet Lancashire for review in Liverpool on 8th March  2014. The tour returns to the North West in Manchester 7th-10th May 2014.