The Bear

A few weeks ago I received an exciting invitation, an invitation inviting me and the children to the opening night of the Bear, by Pins and needles productions, at the Waterside Arts centre in Manchester. I checked the time and worked out that a 6.30pm arrival was more than doable, given it only takes an hour to travel to Manchester.

I had forgotten my days working in Manchester. Leaving at 4am and sometimes making it to work by 8.30 and sometimes turning up late, clearly the horrendous rush hour trip had been forgotten. We left at 3.45, that should have given us plenty of time. I had figured we would get there on time and have a nice look around before the show began, how wrong was I? It took 3 hours and 18 minutes to get to Manchester. I know from past experience that some performances once they start you cannot go in to watch and I was hoping that this would not be the case. Over 3 hours in the car with three over excited children was not a fun journey. At one point my youngest decided she was too hot and attempted to remove her jumper. This resulted in her with one arm inside her jumper and the other stuck at an angle through the neck hole next to her head. Why do kids do this on the motorway and in traffic??

Anyways, after the screaming stopped, and the arm was free, we arrived a few minutes late and ran from the car park to Waterside. Having never been before it was also a frantic follow google maps to get us to our destination. The sense of relief when we were allowed in to watch the show was immense, and we had missed less than 5 minutes. Phew.

The Bear is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Raymond Briggs. It is co-directed by Hal Chambers and Emma Earle and starred Leigh Quinn as Tilly with puppeteers Lori Hopkins who also played Mum and Maxwell Tyler who also played Dad.


It didn't take long for the girls to settle in to their seats and for Little Man to become mesmerised in all the shapes and colours on stage. The Bear made his appearance and then all 3 were hooked. Fixated on the story as it began to unfold in front of them. Watching the Bear get up to lots of tricks, watching Tilly take care of the bear and simply enjoying themselves. The hour flew by. The children laughed lots and loved the story. It was a real festive treat for them.


The next morning both girls chatted away about the show on the school run, and even made a point of taking their tickets into school for show and tell. If that's not a sign of a good night I am not sure what is. 

The Bear runs until Saturday 6 January, with schools and public performances (times vary – go to thebearlive.com for a full breakdown) and is recommended for children between 3 and 11.

British Sign Language (BSL) performances: 9 & 22 December

Relaxed Performance: 22 December

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