Local History Month highlights

As a Love Middlesbrough Lass I get to do and see some amazing things, and Local History Month was no exception. A month long celebration throughout May of Middlesbrough heritage, with a programme packed full of events, I  was so excited to decide where I would go first!

Middlesbrough’s Theatrical History held at Middlesbrough Theatre was presented by self-titled, local time traveller Martin Peagam and the Chair of Middlesbrough Theatre Ltd, Ray Burton. Martin started the evening with a fascinating insight into the theatres of Middlesbrough – I had no idea there had been so many or that they went back so far in history! His passion for the subject was evident right from the start and everyone in the audience was totally enthralled. Ray followed this with the history of Middlesbrough Little Theatre, as it was originally known, including how it was funded, a potted history of the group and some brilliant anecdotes from all-nighter dress rehearsals! The evening ended with a fab presentation, made by the Theatre technicians, of some of the famous names that have graced the stage over the years. The icing on the cake was when members of the audience were allowed to go on the stage and have a good look behind the scenes. All round, it was an excellent beginning to my first Local History Month!

Middlesbrough Theatre exterior 1957

Next up was the unveiling of the Tom Dresser statue in the grounds of the Dorman Museum. Strolling through Albert Park to get to the museum, I was amazed to see the size of the crowd, and it was particularly heartwarming to see lots of local school children there too ❤️ The event, held on the centenary of Tom Dresser’s winning of the Victoria Cross during the First World War in 1917, was really very moving from start to finish. The speech from Tom’s grandson particularly had me welling up and I might even have shed a tear or two… I was lucky enough to be given access to the statue close up to get some photos for Love Middlesbrough and it’s truly stunning – so much detail! The sculptor, Brian Alabaster, is a wonderful artist and I can highly recommend taking a look next time you’re at the Dorman Museum.

The following day, there was more history to come – this time a hard hat tour of the Central Lodge, Askham Bryan College, in Stewart Park. I have to admit I’m beginning to develop a bit of a fondness for wearing a hard hat – until becoming a Love Middlesbrough Lass I’d never worn one in my life, and since then, I’ve had one on loads of times!

An absolutely cracking tour, we got to see so much more than I had anticipated and there was loads of fascinating facts to go with it all from our wonderful tour guide, Francine Marshall. I don’t want to give too much away as you can request a tour for yourself (which I would highly recommend) but safe to say there are some real beauties along the way from tiles to doors to the graffiti…oh! Honestly, it was brilliant, and even Mr Love Middlesbrough Lass gave it a solid 10 out of 10.

 

My final event of the month was Putting Ladies on a Pedestal, presented once again, by our beloved time-traveller, Martin Peagam. I was introduced to some ladies of Middlesbrough that I had never heard of, and my history-loving head is intrigued and wants to find out more. As with all of Martin’s talks that I attended, it was highly entertaining and once again his passion and enthusiasm shone through. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak I absolutely insist you should go – Love Middlesbrough recommends for definite!

Local History Month 2017 was presented in partnership with Ageing Better Middlesbrough, and facilitated and supported by Middlesbrough Council, and coordinators Rob Nichols and Tracy Hyman from Discover Middlesbrough. I want to extend my thanks to them all – this Love Middlesbrough Lass loved every moment of it and I can’t wait for the next one!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s adventures in Middlesbrough!

If there’s one thing the Love Middlesbrough Lasses love (other than food), it’s the Very Hungry Caterpillar! (We’ve been really subtle about it, haven’t we?)  So when we were asked by Middlesbrough Theatre to make a video promoting the Very Hungry Caterpillar’s theatre show, we were absolutely on board!

The brief was to film the Very Hungry Caterpillar in different famous places in Middlesbrough and make a video of it, so off we went (with not one but two caterpillars!) on a trip around the town.  The video will be appearing on your screens very soon, but we thought you’d love to see some of our behind the scenes pics.

We started off at the Transporter Bridge, because there’s nowhere more iconic!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying the Tees Transporter Bridge

Meanwhile, the baby Caterpillar who’s scared of heights visited Transporter Park, and then they met the dinosaurs at Teesaurus Park.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying Transporter Park The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying Teesaurus Park

There was a lot of climbing around, especially on the Bottle of Notes…

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying the Bottle of Notes

The Very Hungry Caterpillar(s) enjoying the Bottle of Notes

We also stopped for a snack break in Stewart Park, for very good ice cream!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying ice cream

It’s a hard life going on adventures, so we had to give the Caterpillar lots of time to rest.  You know what they say – never work with animals!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying the Tees Transporter Bridge The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying Stewart Park

As well as getting to explore loads of fantastic places like the top of the Transporter Bridge, the Dorman Museum, and getting fed ice cream, the Caterpillar also got into some trouble, like getting stuck down a chair at Middlesbrough Theatre…

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying Middlesbrough Theatre

…and climbing into the Albert Park cannon!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying Albert Park

And of course, because it wouldn’t be Love Middlesbrough without cake, we took our two hungry caterpillars (and hungry Lasses) for some amazing cakes made by the fabulous Songbird Bakery!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar enjoying Songbird Bakery cakes

And the Caterpillar(s) didn’t get around by themselves – there was also heaps of work done by the Love Middlesbrough Lasses (and honorary Love Middlesbrough Lass, Matt!)

Love Middlesbrough Lasses (and Lad) Love Middlesbrough Lass (and Lad) 

In case you missed it the first time we put the link in, you can book your tickets for the Very Hungry Caterpillar show via Middlesbrough Theatre.

The First Hippo on the Moon – review

Our latest guest post comes from Lisa, who was lucky enough to be offered two complimentary tickets to The First Hippo on the Moon by Middlesbrough Theatre.


After reading David Walliams’ story to my nearly three year old, and not getting a very engaged response, I was unsure of what to expect from the theatre show.

As soon as we entered the theatre we were greeted by a friendly steward who helped us find our seats. The steward was great with my little girl, chatting away and engaging her in the experience from the outset.

The show opens to a simple yet beautifully created set, clearly depicting a jungle scene and a gigantic TV screen. The set immediately prompted questions and intrigue from my little girl, who appeared to be getting more excited and interested in what was about to happen around her.

As the jungle characters took to the stage, the audience both young and old were immediately impressed by the fun-filled, life-sized puppets. Each character was brought to life by the five talented actor-puppeteers, each having a clearly defined comedic personality, which had the audience laughing straight away.

The story unfolds as the hacked-off hippo called Sheila decides she’s going to give rich and famous fellow hippo Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III a run for his money in his dream of getting to the moon first. In a bid to stop Hercules from stealing the simple jungle dweller’s dream, Sheila and her friends hatch a plan to make sure Sheila gets to the moon first!

While Sheila moans and groans, her faithful friends work together to create a DIY rocket from the best jungle material. With a little advice from Bob the ape, the team set to work creating the mass of rocket fuel needed to send Sheila whizzing into space, which is a massive pile of poo!

While trying their best to create enough poo for Sheila’s expedition, the creatures begin to descend upon the audience in their hunt for more poo! Squeals of glee and laughter erupted from the children as the creatures collected the rest of the poo needed from their parents.

Throughout the show we also encountered a number of fun, musical theatre-style songs and dances, which helped keep the attention of the youngsters, as Sheila does eventually achieve lift off after the monsoons have finally stopped.

In the end, Sheila got to the moon, but not without blowing up her rocket. But she couldn’t get too excited as it turned out she landed on the moon at the same time as Hercules! Hercules is so busy boasting about the fame and fortune he’ll gain when he returns to Earth, he doesn’t realise that while letting Sheila back on his rocket, he’s left himself stranded on the Moon forever! Back on Earth, Sheila officially becomes the first hipponaut on the Moon….forgetting to tell anyone about leaving Hercules to be the only hippo on the Moon!


The stage adaptation of World Of David Walliams’ The First Hippo on the Moon will be touring the UK until July 2017. Find your nearest dates and venues on firsthippolive.com #FirstHippo
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The First Hippo on the Moon