Are you looking for a different Christmas activity to do this year with the children? Are you bored of the same old Christmas events? How about a magical interactive trip to Narnia? Not possible, you say, but it is! Santa's Enchanted Wardrobe is premiering at the E Shed Markets, at the historic Fremantle Port, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 24th December 2016.
It's an interactive theatre production, so much more than just watching a show, as you take an active role in the production too. There is a physical relationship between the audience (you) and the actors and you become part of the story. You can 'play' a big part, a small part or no part, it's not mandatory. But the more interaction everyone gives the actors, the better the experience will be in my opinion. The actors feed off the interaction which in turn makes the story bigger and better. During our visit, once everyone got over initial nerves and understood the concept, our story took off and the children in our group loved to get involved, so did the adults!
You are in a small group of people so it is personal and everyone gets one on one time with all the characters if they want to. The story is loosely based on the Narnia chronicles and your adventure begins in the same way; you play a game of hide and seek and you the hide in a wardrobe.
The beginning of the adventure before you go through the wardrobe into Narnia
When you step out of the back of the wardrobe and into Narnia, you enter a snowy wonderland and the Enchanted Forest. The air con was pumping out freezing air to add to the atmosphere and the snow machine was working full blast. Lots of 'wows' and gaping mouths at this point!
You will meet various characters along your journey who are the clever storytellers and also point you in the right direction of the next fantasy land to visit. You will meet Mr Tumnus and have a goblet of tea with him in his cave.
Brush The White Witch's hair, enjoy a turkish delight and try to distract the beautiful white witch so you can pour the potion into her goblet to send her to sleep so you can pass through her cave and onto the next land.
As the storytelling progresses, you ultimately end up at the North Pole and at Santa's workshop with the elves. The elves need help stuffing stockings, checking the toys are complete and unbroken, wrapping presents etc. For those very young children, there was an area with toys for them to play with whilst the older children carried out the tasks with the elves.
At the workshop is where you get to spend time with the big man himself. Your individual group will get to sit and chat with Santa to talk about how good you have been and what your child would like for Christmas etc. My daughter asked how his reindeer were doing and wanted to know where they were and luckily Santa had an answer for everything! We didn't feel there were any time restraints at all and we had more than enough time with Santa. You can have a photo with Santa with the official photographer and they were $15.00 per photo. There were deals to be had for more than one photo.
The whole experience was really engaging for everyone. It lasts around an hour and none of the children in our group were even the slightest bit bored. The feedback so far - parents all say how mesmerised they were with the characters and how submerged you feel as you become part of the reality.
A lot of work has gone into the sets in the various different fantasy lands and the logistics to make this immersive theatre experience work, will have been enormous. The performers are absolutely fabulous and their interaction with the kids was brilliant. There was no pressure, if you wanted to be involved you were included, if you wanted to take a back seat, you could. In my opinion, the more involved you got, the better the experience and the more it came to life. This is a unique experience and something Perth will accept with open arms.
Now to some handy to know bits:
There are no age restrictions, my daughter is 9 and thoroughly enjoyed it. No prams are allowed so you would have to carry very little children. There are opportunities to sit down throughout most of the lands you visit, cute little snowy logs and reindeer hide benches.
You cannot take any photos or videos as you travel through the experience as this is a theatre production and flashes etc put the actors off. You get the opportunity to buy a photo with Santa at the end.
There isn't any signage to say you have arrived or which way to go to Santa's Enchanted Wardrobe when you get to the Port. This is because the building is heritage listed and there are restrictions in terms of temporary signage that can be erected. We parked out the front of the building by the ocean, however the entrance is the otherside. But is wasn't a drama, as we had a browse through the market stalls on the way. If you are running late for your start time, just ask any stall holder as they all know where the entrance is and will direct you.
It is like a theatre performance, you cannot be late!
Tickets are only available through Ticketek. Click here to buy tickets.
There are plenty of eateries in the E-Shed Markets for snacks or meals before or after your experience.
Be part of the story and book your tickets today! Slots are filling up fast!