Christmas wish tree

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www.heategevusfond.ee/joulupuu

Miracles happen to good people!

At the end of June, the children of Estonian substitute homes and safe houses were invited by the non-profit association SEB Heategevusfond to watch the summer theatre’s family-friendly play “Vinski Over the Town” in the courtyard of the Song Festival Museum. The children met the theatre director and actors, enjoyed a summer day while walking around in Tartu, taking photos, and looking at the Upside Down House.

They watched the children’s play “Vinski Over the Town” beforehand on a DVD at home. In some families, Vinski’s book was also read as a bedtime story. Then they were later able to compare and discuss how the theatre differed from the book or TV drama.

On the day of the play, the children were excited to go to the theatre. In Tartu, they were welcomed with nice summer weather and thus they could easily leave their raincoats and jackets in the bus while roaming around the town.

Exciting for both the big and small

Some families had taken everybody along and for some children this was their very first theatre experience. The old and stately house of the Song Festival Museum itself was already a sight that added an edge to the event.

Many teachers also remembered the story of Vinski from their own childhood. It was great to chat with the children both before and after the play: the teachers shared their own memories so that the children would find it easier to follow the play. This time, everybody enjoyed the fact that all of the surroundings functioned as the stage and the audience was in the middle of the action.

At first, some of the children were worried that they would not be able to watch the entire play, which was 1 hour and 50 minutes long. The teacher eased their minds, saying that theatre always includes a break, during which the audience can stretch their legs. However, there was no need to worry – the fun play engaged the children fully.

The play was fast-paced and funny. It was thrilling for the older children and younger ones, too. While the smaller children mainly liked the songs that they could hum along to, the older children engaged with the action and after the play also discussed the play’s educational message.

What would you do if you were invisible?

Even the most restless rascals followed the action on the stage with great excitement. All of the whooping, mishaps and follies made the audience cheer – the children recognised themselves on the stage and could laugh heartily. Vinski was everyone’s favourite and the idea of “being invisible” was well received by the audience. The children were still telling the teachers about Vinski’s pranks when they got home.

The children liked the lazybones characters and their costumes, Prissies and their pillows, Bitter Mary, and of course Vinski. Artur would have wanted to be Vinski himself because he was very cool.

Most of the children thought that all of the characters were great. One 6-year-old boy thought that if you had invisible powder, you could do all kinds of things without the teacher seeing you. They were impressed that the characters entered the stage both from the stairs and from the door, talked to others from the windows above and walked on a stone wall, which looked like something very dangerous to the children. One 7-year-old boy wondered how the chemist managed to get on the roof.

If you really want something...

The chemist was remembered for his child-like behaviour, although he was a smart man. 10-year-old Egrit said that miracles do happen to good people.

13-year-old Kadri admitted that the theatre was like a new life experience, which teaches how to believe in good things. All in all, it was understood that secret wishes have great power – if you really want something, you will get it –, even being invisible is possible!

Inexperienced theatre visitors gained an indelible memory by the chance to take pictures with the actors and ask for their autographs once the play was over. Many of the children also recognised actors who play in TV shows. Thus, they went from one to another and had their programmes, books, and even hands signed.

Inspiration to become an engineer

The families also seized the opportunity to visit the Upside Down House. Those children who had been there before were still happy to visit again. Even the boys who had announced at home that they would not visit such a “pointless place”, were excited in the Upside Down House. While they were there, it was mainly them who showed the teacher around and introduced the coolest places in the house.

All of the children enjoyed being upside down, and even the smallest ones were running around happily. A one-and-half year old toddler really loved running around there – as if the house was his real home. They were also very interested in the fridge that they could open and look at; it was tempting to eat some of the upside down food, but fortunately it was firmly glued to the shelves. It was also fun to climb a bit on the slanting ceiling and hang there – they even raced towards it. The TV was a great hit, where they could watch upside down cartoons. Of course, they could take cool photos of the Upside Down House.

Silver was very brave and responsive and went inside all of the rooms. 12-year-old Priit was also very interested in the technical side of the house. He said that he would become an engineer who could invent and build such things.

Doing good can also be fun

The children were full of emotions when driving back. All of the children were thrilled by the boy who played Vinski. It was great to see the TV actors up close.

On the way back, the children discussed the actors and the theme of the play for a long time. They were also excited about Vinski’s rowan gun – many of the children saw themselves in Vinski. The children shared their opinion that you could also play pranks while doing good: even Vinski tried to be a trouble-maker at first, but soon realised that good always wins.

Those who had not read the book before were pleasantly surprised to receive the book Vinski Over the Town as a gift. In the evening, they read this as their bedtime story – now one more theatre experience richer.

Contribute EUR 3 and you will give children the gift of the experience of success, new experiences or support young people in acquiring an education, which is of critical importance when starting an independent life. Provide your own small contribution to the children living in substitute homes so that they will have the same supportive and nurturing environment as the children being raised in your own family. Read more: http://www.heategevusfond.ee/en/
 

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