Dear Fellow Parents
Ahead of Show day, I thought it would be helpful to let you know what to expect on the day, especially for anyone whose children haven’t taken part before.
Here are some hints and tips to make the day easier for you, and more fun for the kids!
Before Show Day – What to Pack
Show day is an amazing day for everyone involved, but it is a long day, where your child will be taking part in a full dress rehearsal and two performances. There are around 100 children who take part, and they will have different chaperones looking after them throughout the day. Because of this, organisation is key!
For those children who are participating in several dances, it’s really helpful for your child and for the chaperones, if they’re costumes are labelled with their names and if at all possible, placed in separate bags. There could be up to 20 kids in one dance, so knowing whose costume is whose makes it a lot easier. The same is true for the clothes that they arrive in. If these are labelled with their names, it’s much easier to track down any items that might get misplaced during the day. It’s impossible for the chaperones to know which item of clothing belongs to which child, so please label them so everybody goes home with the items they arrived with.
Packing plenty of food and drink is also important. Chances are packed lunches will be started on the coach and gone by 10am, so please pack enough to keep your child going until after the first performance. Ditto with drinks, making sure they have enough to keep them hydrated until after the first performance is vital! You can top up the food and drink for the evening performance during the break between performances.
There can be periods where your child will be sitting around for a while, especially if they’re in one or two dances, so putting something in their bag to keep them entertained is helpful. Ideally this would be something non-electronic as the chaperones aren’t able to keep track of every item a child has.
And finally, hairspray, hairspray, hairspray! Hair nets, bun rings, hair pins and hair bands are not provided, so please make sure your child has the necessary accessories available, so they can have their hair in the right style for their dance. You can never have enough hairspray at a dance show, so sending in a can is highly recommended!!
On the Day – Drop Off
To make the day easier for everyone, coaches are put on for the dancers and the chaperones to travel together to the venue. This means that you will drop your child off at the coach by 8.00am behind Bicester Leisure Centre.
You will need to sign your child in before they get on the coach so that there is a record of who has arrived, and your child will then be told which coach to go on. They will be with their friends from their dance classes, but if your child is worried about getting on a coach without their parent, just flag it to one of the organisers and they will make sure they have someone to sit with.
Drop off is really busy and there are a lot of people dropping children off, so if this is your child’s first show, talking them through the process might be helpful so it isn’t a shock on the day!
Once everybody has arrived and are settled on the coach, they will set off at 8.20am , and will make their way to the theatre.
Once the coaches arrive at the theatre, the children will be collected from the coach and put in the groups they will be in for the day. The groups are arranged by age, so your child will be with their friends from their classes for the day.
Once the children have gone to their dressing area, they will receive a health and safety briefing as well as a description of how the day will run.
There will be a full dress rehearsal in the morning so your child has a chance to dance on the stage before the first performance. The chaperones will make sure your child is ready for each of their numbers and are escorted to and from the stage and are accompanied at all times.
All children under the age of 16 have to be accompanied at all times, and this includes going to and from the toilets. All parents have been DBS checked ahead of the day.
After the dress rehearsal, it’s time to eat lunch and get ready for the first performance, which will run in the same way as the dress rehearsal.
After the first performance, your child will need to be picked up at 3.15pm, from the stage door. Again, this is really busy as there’s a lot of parents trying to pick up their children at the same time. Please be patient waiting for your child. Your child will need to be signed out of the theatre to make sure they are leaving with the correct adult and their name will be called as they come to the door ready to be picked up.
There are a number of restaurants within walking distance of the theatre, so it’s a great opportunity to make sure your child is fully fuelled for the evening performance.
Everybody will need to be picked up as there are no chaperones in place between performances.
Drop Off – Evening Performance
After you have refuelled, drop your child off at the same place you picked them up, for 5.00pm. As there will be no chaperones in the building during the break the theatre will permit parents to drop off before 5.00pm
There is an hour between drop off and then beginning of the first performance, so the chaperones can make sure all the children can get ready for their first dance without being really rushed.
The evening performance runs in the same way as the first, so your child will be a pro by this stage!
Before the children can leave, all the dressing rooms need to be clear of rubbish and all items packed away. The chaperones will do their best to get the children out to you as soon as possible, but it can take slightly longer than the pick up after the matinee.
Again, your child will need to be signed out to make sure they are leaving with an adult. The performance ends at 7.45pm, so allow 10 – 15mins before your child will be able to be collected.
There are no coaches on the way back, so please make sure you have made travel arrangements.
The Next Day
Your child will be tired and will probably need waking up in the morning to go to school!
I hope this helps in setting the scene for what is an amazing and unforgettable day for your child. As a mum who will have 3 children in the show this year, the key really is in being organised before the day, making sure they have loads of food and water and knowing that I’ll get nothing out them the following day!
I hope you and your child love show day as much as my family do!
A fellow dance Mum.