Happy Birthday to Us! Six Years of Brilliant Children's Theatre in Bristol - Monkey Trousers Theatre

Happy Birthday to Us! Six Years of Brilliant Children’s Theatre in Bristol

Hey, did you know it was our birthday in April? That's right, six years ago we performed the first episode of our children's theatrical sitcom, Mr Gotalot's Gotalot Shop, for the very first time in Bristol to a sell-out audience! Here's a look back at how we did it, and everything else we've done since then...

Our First Children’s Theatre Show

We actually decided to form our children’s theatre company back in November 2014 – both of us were taking our young children to other groups and thinking, ‘We could do this!’
We both felt that children in Bristol needed a fun, colourful theatre show with puppets, silly stories, and crazy characters, and between us, we definitely had the skills to do it.

And so, Monkey Trousers Theatre was created! Hooray!

Children's theatre in Bristol, Ms Barnet, Mr Gotalot & Sidney the shop boy.
Ms Barnet, Mr Gotalot & Sidney the shop boy.

The concept of Mr Gotalot and his magical Gotalot Shop followed soon after – but before we could even start thinking about performing our show, we had to have help from our amazing friends with lots of things like marketing, building a website, and even designing the make-up for our main characters!

Soon, we were nearly ready for the first performance of Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop: The Pants of Power. There were a lot of props to make, including a whole range of special underpants – we needed shiny ones, furry ones, and even some very stinky ones!! We also had to learn all our lines, and rehearse the songs, and the dances, and a very cool superhero rap – we even taught ourselves how to play the kazoo!

Super Alan regains his strength at the children's theatre show.
Super Alan regains his strength. (The Pants of Power, April 2015)

Luckily, we had sell-out audiences for all six shows we did for our opening weekend. Everybody (children and adults!) enjoyed our story about a superhero that needed a brand new pair of powerful pants!

So what did we do next?

Bristol’s Children’s Theatre Sitcom for Kids!

We created another show, of course!

We really wanted to keep momentum going, so a few months later, we opened the second episode of our theatrical sitcom for kids, Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop: The Snot Rocket! There was a new story and a new guest star, but we still had our popular main characters: the puppet shopkeeper Mr Gotalot, evil landlady Ms Barnet, and young hero Sidney the shop boy. Plus lots of jokes, silliness, and audience interaction – we wanted the kids in our audiences to feel like they were part of the show.

Captain Andromeda marvels at her new space tech at one of our children's theatre shows.
Captain Andromeda marvels at her new space tech. (The Snot Rocket, June 2015)

The Snot Rocket was also a sell-out run, so we decided that what Bristol needed was MORE Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop! A sitcom has lots of episodes, right?? That autumn we performed our spooky spectacular The Chinchilla Thriller, and early the following year, our festive special, Santa School.

Fun children's theatre show at Christmas.
Muggins the Dwarf receives some worldly advice from his parents. (Santa School, Jan 2016)

Our theatrical sitcom for kids was still hugely successful, so we kept doing more, including some very exclusive performances of The Great British Cheese Off at the Bristol Old Vic before it closed for refurbishment. We had a go at a crime thriller episode with the next one, The Cheese Burglar, and a science fiction time travel episode after that, The Crystal Cheese.

Another brilliant children's theatre show in Bristol.
Ms Barnet goes on an adventure through Space and Time. (The Crystal Cheese. Sept 2017)

Our most recent episode of the theatrical sitcom for kids, The Cheese Party, was performed at Bristol’s The Wardrobe Theatre in 2020, just before lockdown – and we can’t wait to get back there and finish our run!

Can We Do Children’s Theatre Online?

Well, we are having a very good go at it!

Now, instead of performing in theatres around Bristol, we make funny videos for kids and post them on our fantastic YouTube channel Gotalot TV!

Now we take our children's theatre show online.
Check out our latest hilarious comedy video!

It is not easy to recreate episodes of our children’s theatre shows online, so we have had to adapt. Making videos is very different to making theatre! We do have a special online episode of  theatrical sitcom Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop that we have filmed, and we hope to release it on Gotalot TV very, very soon.

What was your favourite of our children’s theatre shows?

In the meantime, help celebrate our sixth birthday by looking back at all our children’s theatre shows here on our website – which one was YOUR favourite?

And don’t forget, you can always catch up with the hilarious antics of Mr Gotalot and his friends on our YouTube channel Gotalot TV any time you like, and for free!

If you would like to donate to Monkey Trousers Theatre, to help keep our online children’s theatre channel running and help us prepare for when we are able to perform again, you can do so on our Donate page.

Support children's theatre in Bristol by donating.

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Post By

Fran Lewis

Fran spends a great deal of her time concocting stories for Monkey Trousers Theatre about Mr Gotalot and his magical shop.

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