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My dort is a very active child.  Over the years she’s learnt an instrument, swam, trampolined, danced and danced ooh, all sorts.  But nothing, no nothing, has absorbed and enthralled her like Stage 2. 

A youth theatre company set up and run in Birmingham, it has been going for over 20 years.    As is so very often the case, it is the work of an incredibly driven and talented woman, Liz Light. 

Of course youth theatre is all very well.  Take a few keen, stage struck youngsters, find some nice easy pieces and put one on each year.  Not so with Stage 2.  I can honestly say they have provided some of the best and none of the worst nights I’ve had at the theatre. 

spoonface09

The most recent highlight for me being Spoonface Steinberg featuring amongst others my dort and niece.  In which 24 children take on a monologue and move the audience through the journey of an autistic girl dying of cancer. A close second is the production of Teechers in which my nephew reduced me (and other audience members) to tears, with his moving portrayal of Salty.  Perhaps the most memorable for me was Picasso’s Women, produced in 2000, this was a fine and typical example of how Stage 2 manages to pick challenging plays for adults and get children to convince you they are in fact real.

Birmingham has a gem in Stage 2 and a jewel in Liz Light and I say a huge thank you for the experiences and chances you are offering to my dort and for the very many delightful theatre productions you have given to me…

[… oh and if you have a child over the age of 7, get yourself down to the Birmingham School of Acting on a Saturday – you are unlikely to regret it.]

My daughter is 9 next week.  I want her to be 9.  I work hard to keep the child in her alive and defer her teenage years until she is at least, oh I don’t know, let’s say thirteen.  So that can’t be so hard?

You’d hope not, but this is a great example of the kind of thing which sets me off: ‘Boob-Job piggy bank’.  I was going to link to the original site, but don’t want to give them the pleasure of the page views…  Thanks to Karmadillo for sending that one through.

Why ever would you present that as a purchase for a child?  Or frankly an adult, but that’s a whole different blog post.

This article gives some good clues; Kids Today are growing up way too fast.  “Marketeers call them “tweens”: kids between eight and 12, midway between childhood and adolescence. But tweens are becoming more like teens, leaning more and more toward teen styles, teen attitudes and teen behavior at its most troubling” 

And the striking findings reported in that article place a large part of the solution firmly at my door:  “Kids are on their own, goes the premise”.  Parental absence (they suggest through parents working long hours without reference to full time absenteeism) is a major factor in this.  

Phew, so glad I work for an organisation that gets it: one which allows me to reduce my working hours and do them flexibly, so I can pick her up from school and take her to her activities – or just flop in front of a film together.

So ironic though, that I should be the one sitting at home alone, with no real plans for the day whilst I write this.  An absent child… My daughter, out all day acting her heart out with a bunch of creative tweens.  Her peers are where, why “up town” of course indulging in the “fad-crazed marketplace” of the greedy marketeers.

And me, well I think I’ll just pop up town, see you later…

 

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