With just a month to go, the cast of The Wizard of Oz are preparing to bring the spectacular tale of the magical land of Oz to LeedsPlayhouse from 20 November 2019 until 25 January 2020.
These images give a first glimpse of the tremendous trio of Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion as they escort Dorothy and Toto through the poppy fields of Oz, ducking and diving from the terrifying Wicked Witch of the West, played by Polly Lister (The Worst Witch Live, Nimax/Northampton Theatre Royal/Kenny Wax/ Novel, Theresa Heskins; Boeing Boeing & Private Lives for Harrogate Rep).
When venturing into the land of Oz, Toto, Dorothy’s tiny but tenacious four-legged friend, will be magically brought to life by puppeteer Ailsa Dalling, under the direction of Rachel Leonard. Designed and created by Puppet Maker Charlie Tymms (Life of Pi, Sheffield Theatres, Running Wild, UK tour), Toto has been crafted using a plywood skeleton with elastic hinge joints with a jaunty outer-layer of dyed hessian and 1930s-style patterned fabric to create that furry exterior.
In this timeless story of adventure and friendship, young Dorothy and her little dog Toto are caught in a cyclone and whisked away to the magical Land of Oz in a technicolour production directed by James Brining (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sunshine on Leith LeedsPlayhouse) and designed by Simon Higlett (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang LeedsPlayhouse).
The Wizard of Oz will play in LeedsPlayhouse’s Quarry Theatre, which reopensthis Christmas following the building’sdramatic £15.8m redevelopment. Audiences now enjoy improved access into and around the building, contemporary seating in the Quarry, new hospitality areas and a dramatic new city-facing entrance opposite Leeds City Bus Station.
The theatre will host a sing-along performance of The Wizard of Oz on Friday 13 December, inviting the audience to dress up,sing out and join in the fun. Relaxed and Dementia Friendly performances will also be available, and there will be a selection of bespoke wrap-around and in–school activities led by the Playhouse’s award-winning Creative Engagement team.
The Wizard of Oz, LeedsPlayhouse’s Quarry Theatre
20 November 2019 – 25 January 2020. Press Night Tue 26 November 2019, 7pm
I’ll admit I’ve never watched BBC Countryfile but I liked the idea of BBC Countryfile Live coming to Yorkshire where the whole family is actively taking part in a country-themed day out.
We reviewed the popular event at its Castle Howard location in York, North Yorkshire… Here’s what we found:
My daughters, my mum, my step-dad, my step-brother and his girlfriend and, I travelled in two cars to Castle Howard down the dreaded A64 (which can be a nightmare in the school holidays).
Once we had worked our way slowly along the A64 we then had to endure another queue of traffic leading to Castle Howard (we really should have set off super early as recommended).
It should have taken us an hour from Wakefield but it was over two hours in the end.
Once we were parked up, we were relieved to see an event full of funfair rides, haystacks, stalls and food & drink.
As the kids were ratty from the unexpectedly long car journey, we first got them a drink before tackling the rides – from bumper cars, a Ferris wheel and carousel to a tractor-themed bouncy castle and the opportunity to try out climbing and a paddle board. I was relieved to see that amongst the stages, outdoor furniture stalls, food and drink offerings, that there was space for rides and sheep and dog shows.
It was a lovely sunny day so the outdoor activities worked really well and the grounds of the castle are simply stunning.
We were glad to find a lawn area next to the Croquet that was being played. My kids, who are aged 4 and 7, enjoyed the wooden swings as well as taking part in the Maypole dancing. The space which is over the moat and overlooked the castle, is great to sit for picnics or to eat something from one of the many vendors. (From home-made ice cream galore to every cuisine you can imagine. Although my two opted for hot dogs which costed £10 for 2.).
We spent a lot of our time on the lawn as there was an Opera singer performing and it’s a lovely space for the kids to let off some steam.
Close by, the National Trust had a good range of activities too and there were plenty of photo opportunities in huge deck chairs.
BBC Countryfile Live felt quintessentially British, I felt as if I had been transported into a Keira Knightley movie.
It was a fun day out particularly catering for adults and older children. Unfortunately due to the heavy traffic in and out of Castle Howard we only had a few hours there. So we missed lots of highlights such as a Wildlife zone, canoeing and kayaking and, all the many shows and appearances that take place throughout.
So make sure you give plenty of travel time to get there, so you can really make the most of it. For all the details of what goes on at BBC Countryfile Live, go to:
Yorkshire Families editor Sophie Mei Lan and her family are regularly featured in Yorkshire Evening Post so we thought we’d also share their favourite things to do in the region.
Sophie Mei Lan is a multi-award-winning vlogger, blogger and film-maker – she runs Yorkshire Families magazine, MamaMei.co.uk (a family and mental health blog) and Evoke Media Group – an all female video production and influencer marketing company Blog Up North.
Sophie, 31, lives with her husband Chris Hale of three years, 32 and their two daughters Jasmine, 7, and Arianna Hale, 4.
Family of the Week – as featured in Yorkshire Evening Post
What are your top tips for getting children to do what you ask?
I try to be as positive and a gentle parent where possible. So I try to explain things and reason with them. But sometimes if they’ve kept me up at night I loose my rag!
Bribery and rewards normally do the job too.
What family task takes you the longest?
Getting ready for school and nursery, we have endless troubles over what to wear and how wrinkly their tights are.
What’s the weirdest thing your children have done/brought home/done to your house?
My eldest Jasmine loves art and regularly comes out of school with enormous box models made out of rubbish. We always look odd as I don’t drive so have to try and get the kids and a huge sculpture of rubbish home, I’m like Buckaroo. Jasmine’s very precious about keeping them as well.
Have your children ever really, really surprised you? How and why?
We both have our own YouTube channels. I vlog about mental health and attachment parenting at YouTube.com/sophiemeilan and they have their own Make and Move channel. And they have taken to presenting and vlogging so naturally they instantly say: “Hi guys, comment down below, subscribe and give this video a thumbs up.”
What’s the most bizarre thing you have found yourself saying since having kids?
My daughter was at the bus stop for me and begging for an apple and all I had was chocolate in my bag. The other people at the bus stop looked disgusted at me.
What’s the funniest thing your children have ever said/done?
They told their teacher in a careers class that their mummy is a professional footballer for a living (because they’ve seen me play football a few times… I love it but no-one would ever pay me to play it!). Mini moan – what really gets your goat?
Judgemental people! You really don’t know what battle or toddler someone is facing. So just don’t judge and try empathise.
What’s your favourite family day out? We’ve always loved the free crafts at The Hepworth Wakefield and now we run The Hepworth Cafe there, so we’re there all the time.
We had a lovely day out at Kirkstall Abbey recently and it’s free to enter.
Image India Hobson / The Hepworth Wakefield
What hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy as a family and separately?
We all love going to Xscape in Castleford, from bouncing on trampolines in Gravity to learnming to snowboard in SnoZone, there’s loads to do. We also love trying out climbing walls and love the new one at Meadowhall in Sheffield. I also love dancing, vlogging and shopping at Victoria Gate, Kirkgate Market and Trinity Walk in Wakefield.
What’s the hardest thing about being a parent? It can be relentless and trying to reason with kids mid tantrum is hard.
What’s a typical evening for the grown-ups once the children are in bed?
I co-sleep and breastfeed, so there’s no such evening without kids for me.
What is Leeds’ most family-friendly restaurant and why? We like trying out different places inside The Light or Trinity Leeds. In Wakefield we love going to Abdul’s Indian or Pizza Express.
What’s the best thing about weekends and why?
No school runs and reviewing lots of family-friendly places for my YorkshireFamilies.co.uk blog and magazine.
What is your most treasured memory? My daughter nearly died when she was 3 months old. And the Leeds Intensive Care Unit loved her back to life. I’ll never forget the moment that she started breathing again.
What’s the number one thing you would change about Leeds? The transport! Lack of parking, awful trains and the ring road.
What’s the children’s favourite food/meal? They love a good Sunday Dinner with lots of gravy.
What’s your top penny-pinching tip? Take a range of snacks around with you.
One family member’s proudest achievement?
I was a semi-finalist bellydancer on Britain’s Got Talent and my husband Chris Hale was a quarter-finalist on BBC’s MasterChef.
What one item can you not live without? My gym kit, phone and liquid eyeliner.
What can your children not live without?
YouTube and my phone.
Child’s favourite book and author
We went to see Dear Zoo recently at Wakefield’s Theatre Royal and they loved that by Rod Campbell.
From Wakefield to York, new blogger Yorkshire Mum of 4 is taking the online world by storm. Here she shares her favourite places to go and things to do in Yorkshire as part of our My Yorkshire column.
Where do you live and work?
I am Gemma. I live in Wakefield and work in Barnsley as an accounts assistant.
How do you like to travel around Yorkshire?
I do like to travel by car because I love choosing my own music and having the flexibility to just jump in the car on my own schedule. Although as the car is a Zafira, it’s more like a bus which is essential when you have 4 kids.
Where would you recommend nearby?
Places nearby I would recommend for a family would be Xscape as there is so much to do from bowling, laser zone to trampolining, however we don’t get there much as it can be quite expensive.
We do like Swithens farm in Rothwell as all the kids like animals and there are also adventure bits for the older kids. It is cheap and cheerful and not far to travel.
What do you love most about Yorkshire?
I love the fact Yorkshire people are just so down to earth a friendly, there is a real sense of pride about being from Yorkshire. I also love Yorkshire Puddings and Yorkshire tea.
What is your ultimate day out in Yorkshire?
Ultimate day out in Yorkshire would probably involve a theme park so Lightwater Valley and then a nice pub somewhere on the way home serving traditional British Grub as I like my food. The family like our days out exploring theme parks and trying different rides and thrill seeking and then a nice meal at the end. Usually followed by a chocolate brownie and custard or some equally delicious dessert.
What are your favourite family-friendly places to go?
Weekends for us as a family are about exploring What is on locally so we will look at the local what’s on pages and event listings on facebook and find an event that we can support whether that is a fayre, a music event, a craft occasion, fun day, Emley Show that we went the other week or just a local car boot sale. There are so many wonderful events happening right on our doorstep that it is great to support.
What are your favourite free activities in Yorkshire?
Free activities that are available are places like Bolton Abbey, Hemsworth Water Park, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and also places like Thornes Park that have play areas and also nice park areas where you can take a ball, kite or frisbee, go for a walk or bike ride and feed the ducks.
Where would you recommend going for food and drink?
For food and drink in West Yorkshire we have been to so many places – My reviews on trip advisor have been read by 65,000 people and we have visited a variety of places however we do have three favourites. As a family I would say Orlandos over Emley way because he does magic at your table, they have a birthday hat for the kids and it feels very authentic and happy. For adults I would say the Old Mill in Horbury although I think it has been rebranded now and we haven’t been since. A local favourite would be Rinaldis, food is always delicious and service is usually pretty good.
If you were giving a whistle-stop tour of Yorkshire – where would you recommend people go if they were spending 48 hours in Yorkshire with their family?
For 48 hours in Yorkshire I would say spend some time in York, I remember me and my husband had a day out in York where we did the York Dungeon, then had some lovely food at a nice italian restaurant in the town. Then we went to the Chocolate Story and had a walk by the river.
Later that night, he proposed, so York is one of my favourite places and nice for a day out. They also do a family pass for families to explore the attractions there so it would be a fab place to spend a weekend.
There are also seaside destinations such as Whitby and also Bridlington that I would recommend for sight seeing and historical reasons.
Anything else you’d like to share about Yorkshire?
I love that fact I live and work in such a fabulous place, there are so many things going on here and so many places worth visiting. We have Cannon Hall Farm, Clifton Park, Lightwater Valley, Hornsea, Filey, York, Harrogate and also Leeds which is a fabulous shopping destination. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Find the Yorkshire Mum of 4 at www.yorkshiremumof4.com and @yorkshiremumof4 on pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
From pumpkin picking and autumnal crafts to spooky events and slime workshops, there is so much on offer this Autumn and Halloween in Yorkshire.
Now the Mid-Autumn Mooncake Festival is over (we celebrate the Chinese festival in our household), we have been on the hunt for things to do locally in our beloved county of Yorkshire.
One of our favourite places to go is Farmer Copley’s in West Yorkshire who boast the UK’s largest Pumpkin Festival. But we’ve never actually visited during the Pumpkin season, so that’s on our to-do list this year. And fellow northern blogger Cora Harrison highly recommends the farm in Pontefract and said that they picked a blue pumpkin last year at Farmer Copley’s!
Not too far from there is the fabulous Yorkshire Sculpture Park who are putting on a family-friendly Autumnal Bushcraft Day. We went to one of their family days over summer and loved it!
The Hepworth Wakefield also has crafts on throughout the weekends and Wakefield School Holidays such as Art Pods and Craft tote bags to borrow on Saturdays, Mondays and Fridays.
Wakefield Museums are always free and most of their family-friendly workshops are free too (including Wakefield Museum, Pontefract Museum and Castleford Museum). To find out What’s On check out their leaflet here.
Don’t miss a super spooky event for older children (advised 12 plus) on Hell Lane in Wakefield… it’s Yorkshire Scare Grounds Scream Park, combining special effects and actors in an immersive experience as well as a pop-up bar in the severed head!
Also close by for the whole family and scare-free is a Light Party happening on Halloween, 31st October at Portobello Community Centre in Wakefield.
Or you can jump on a ghost train with special Halloween-inspired story-telling at Kirklees Light Railway with their ‘Half Term Horrors’ event.
Up in North Yorkshire, we always enjoy a visit to Stockeld Park who have a special Halloween Adventure on from 25th-31st October during the Autumn October half-term. They’ll be transforming the maze each night into something spooky as well as their Woodland Trail with Nordic Ski, the Illuminated Enchanted Forest and a real ice rink. I would recommend their Christmas Experience too.
Blogger Amy Downes recommends York for the slightly older kids.
She said: “York is amazing for ghost walks on Halloween – everybody goes dressed up and the people who lead them are really lovely and entertaining. We actually booked a night over there last year at the Holiday Inn which is a 40 minutes walk into the city centre and after the walk Mummy and Daddy had a quick pint afterwards while our toddler was sleeping – recommend Valhalla the Viking Bar which isn’t very well known or the Guy Fawkes pub close to York Minster to get you in the mood for Bonfire Night (Fawkes was born in the house which is now a pub).”
Europe’s largest maize maze, York Maze, reopens on 27th October until 4th November for a special Hallowscream event.
Then if we journey to South Yorkshire, Trips with a Tot recommends Halloween at Whirlow Hall Farm with their Witches in the Wood event on 27th October, a free Spooktacular at Conisbrough Castle or Slime Workshops at Medieval Mayhem, a play centre in Sheffield.
Museums Sheffield (which includes Millennium Gallery, Graves Gallery and Weston Park Museum) always have a variety of free family activities on rom Craft and Art Clubs to Fridays for Under 5s. Make sure you check what’s on here.
Then drive over to Barnsley for Cannon Hall Farm’s Halloween event… The Pumpkin Festival where young witches and wizards can complete challenges to graduate from the Wizardry School.
So whatever you get up to this Autumn, please let us know below or if you have any recommendations… we’d love to hear about them!
Visitors can go on a cheese pilgrimage during the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival, enjoying cheesy-themed events at many venues that are getting involved for the first time.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park has announced the week-long programme which runs from 15-23 September and includes a celebration of the county’s fine local food.
Several new cheeses are expected to be launched including Stonebeck farmhouse cheese that visitors can try for the first time during the open weekend at Low Riggs Farm in Nidderdale at the beginning of the Festival.
The Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival starts with the two-day mini Festival at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes and then dropping in at various venues including several new ones right across both the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Plenty of cheese for the Family
For youngsters there are plenty of events and activities to keep them entertained from cheese tasting and making cheese scones through to going on a guided walk to see red squirrels and taking an imaginary flight in a helicopter after donning virtual reality goggles courtesy of Yorkshire Air Ambulance. There’s a cheese-themed Forest School for kids at Aysgarth on September 20 and the Cheese 2 Dales off-road children’s bike ride starting from Hawes on 22 September.
Meanwhile history buffs and those interested in the art of cheese making are well-catered for with days devoted to the region’s rich dairying heritage.
For instance on September 18 visitors can while away time learning more about the fascinating history being uncovered by the Dairy Days project at Askrigg Village Hall while on September 23 expert Andy Swinscoe will be talking about his research into 1930s cheese-making and how it’s leading to a revival of farmhouse cheeses.
The event then begins winding down in spectacular style with the North of England’s first Beer and Beef Festival on 22 September featuring rare breed Dexter beef reared on the host venue, Springhill Farm at Jervaulx near Masham.
Helen Dalton, destination co-ordinator for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: “We’ve aimed to make the Festival family-friendly so that people of all ages can savour the spectacular range of cheese and other great produce that is produced locally, make a stronger connection between the landscape and the region’s dairying heritage while also enjoying the great scenery we have right across the National Park and Nidderdale Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”