What are your earliest memories of theatre?

Theatre can be a powerful thing. Lots of people are also shaped by early childhood experiences. What happens when you combine both? 

I think it's quite likely a lot of us are shaped by our early theatrical experiences. The other day we asked people on Facebook and Twitter to tell us about their first theatre experiences and we had some great responses. 

In the spirit of sharing, I will tell you that I think the first time I ever went to the theatre was to see Aladdin the pantomime at the Floral Pavilion Theatre, Wirral. I was about 5 years old at the time, and I can remember huge amounts of it in detail, particularly the amazing cave, which featured some great visual design of brightly coloured treasure and the like. Some years later I was to be found performing on that very stage as a teenager.

I also remember from my childhood seeing Darren Day in a musical adaptation of Great Expectations at Theatre Clwyd. This was apparently in 1993 when I was 8. What I find interesting about this memory is I can only visualise two scenes - one in a graveyard and the other the iconic cobweb-covered wedding feast - but I can remember one of the songs almost in its entirety. As a trained musician this sort of seems natural but it still surprises me that something from 20 years ago is still there in my head. 

What are your earliest memories of theatre? Did they have an impact on your future direction? 

Here are some of the responses from Twitter and Facebook: 

Watching and then being a drunken pirate in a visiting theatre company play in first school aged 6. Despite rehearsing my line of being called "Peter the pirate" when asked, I still replied with "Matthew" in the show.......

- Matthew North, Facebook

Going to see the arse-end of variety in the Palldium, London starring Thora Hird and Freddie Frinton. In my parent's defence, they also took me to see Tommy Steele in Dick Whittington and then it was up to see Ryan & Ronnie at the Swansea Grand and ultimately to The New Theatre Cardiff for a touring production of A Midsummer Night's Dream as directed by Peter Brook.

- KJ Elsdon, Facebook

Going to see a small production of 'An Inspector Calls', aged 6, and being so confused that all I could say at the end was 'I liked the props'. Once a stage manager.....

- Maisie Baynham, Facebook

Norman Vaughan in Panto at The New Theatre - Cardiff

- Ieuan Rhys, Facebook

Panto at the Harlow Playhouse

- Darren Joyce, Facebook

Being dragged from the circle of the Cambridge Arts Theatre crying because all the protagonists (all different types of nuts) were about to be fed into a chocolate coating machine by the bad guy. Think it was a Christmas show of some sort (either that or Ibsen) - one day I will have my revenge!

- Will Harding, Facebook

Just remembered MORECAMBE AND WISE at The Alhambra. Bradford with David Whitfield who dragged my little sister out of the audience, and sang Climb Upon My Knee Sonny Boy

- Sian Evans, Facebook

Panto at Swansea Grand on St David's Day. I was in my Welsh Costume and Benny from Crossroads called me up onstage to sing the audience song at the end.

- Jacqueline George, Facebook

Grand Abertawe hefyd. Panto gyda Stan Stenett. Legend.

- Janet Evans, Facebook

Panto at the New Theatre!

- David Rees, Facebook

Panto in Cardiff or Swansea. I was always fascinated with the wings and wanted to know what was back there - guess that was the early stirrings of what became a stage management career!

- Joanne Davies, Facebook

My dad in panto, My Mum in musicals. Pippy Longstockings at the Mermaid

 @Mat_Fraser, Twitter

Panto in P'boro early 70's, then All My Sons at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, beautiful theatre

 @David_ntw, Twitter

Panto @ New Theatre - mid 60s. First proper play probably mid 70s with school - Sherman or RWCMD

 @Stephen_ntw, Twitter

The Nutcracker at Sadlers Wells, or my appearance as Priscilla in the Chapel Panto

 @Cariaddraig, Twitter

a panto at Loughborough town hall maybe 1980. Though the first play I saw wasn't till '92

 @mattall_ntw, Twitter

playing the sheep role on my nursery school Christmas Belen. Around 3 years old.

 @JorgeLizalde, Twitter

beauty & the beast on broadway. 1994.

 @MorningReverie, Twitter

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