Today I am taking my girls to see Annie at the theatre in Ottawa. Their grandmother, great-grandmother, auntie, and cousin are coming too, so it's going to be a fun afternoon. I wrote about the allure of the theatre in this post, and it's something that never goes away.
When I was a child, every Christmas Eve, my parents would take my brother and I to see a pantomime in Liverpool. Kids stories - Peter Pan, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White - and I think that is where my love of the theatre began. I have very vivid memories of the glamour, the wide red-carpeted stairs, the rustle of malteser chocolates being opened, and the magic and singing and laughing and clapping that was all part of the experience.
As a teenager, I was fortunate that although we lived in a small town, our high school put on some excellent musicals - it's where I first saw Guys and Dolls, Camelot, Joseph, Fiddler on the Roof, and countless others.
And later, living in Halifax, I went to see plays like The Dresser, The Importance of Being Ernest, Shakespeare.
Once I lived in Ontario, with Toronto just a few hours south, the world opened wider. Phantom, Miss Saigon, and other musicals. We spent a fabulous time at the opera seeing Beethoven's Fidelio, and changed our honeymoon plans to catch Colm Wilkensen in Les Miserables - possibly my favourite play ever.
Now we live on the doorstep of Montreal and can go to the opera or theatre more often. We haven't taken advantage of it the way we should. I met my girlfriends last weekend in Toronto to see Wicked, and Leanne and I plan to betake ourselves to the Stratford Festival next summer.
But with young children, it is more difficult. I took the girls last New Years to see Mamma Mia, because I want to foster in them the same love of the theatre I have. And the Lion King comes back to Toronto next year and I would love to take all three kids there.