Blog : christmas

OBAMA TO REMAIN PRESIDENT? WISHFUL THINKING!

OBAMA TO REMAIN PRESIDENT? WISHFUL THINKING!

From the mouths of babes; the wishes of children in Northern Ireland has proved to be more inspirational than anyone could have anticipated. For the past four weeks, children from across the province have been casting their final 2016 wishes into the Phoenix Wishing Well at the MAC, Belfast. From Obama remaining President, eating pizza every day, making it rain candy, to the selfless wish to give the homeless somewhere safe and warm to stay this Christmas; local children have provided some of the most imaginative and sincere wishes possible.

The Phoenix Wishing Well has received hundreds of wishes to date, with only a few days left to get involved. From all the wishes cast, Phoenix Natural Gas has promised to make one of these festive wishes come true. So, the hunt for a real unicorn might be on!

Geri Wright, Communications Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas said, “We have been overwhelmed by number of funny, wacky and wonderfully innocent wishes received already. Undoubtedly the most popular wish made by children across Northern Ireland so far has been a trip to Disneyland to meet their favourite characters but what struck me particularly was the number of children wishing to help others this Christmas. I’ve also particularly enjoyed some of the more unusual requests – everything from unicorns to super powers.

“The Phoenix Wishing Well is located on the ground floor of the MAC, Belfast, within the Phoenix Wishing Wood. The wood was created by a team of local artists to provide a sensory experience at the MAC for little ones and families alike. We wanted children to be inspired by the magic of the woodland and get creative with their entries, which they have done. It has surpassed all expectations. After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are looking forward to making one family’s Christmas wish come true this festive season.”

Here are some of the other wishes that children across Northern Ireland have made:

  1. I wish… to make the world nice and to make it snow
  2. I wish… for food for all the people that don’t have any
  3. I wish… that no one is alone on Christmas day, or ever, but especially Christmas day
  4. I wish… to be a superhero
  5. I wish… it could be Christmas everyday
  6. I wish… for the Syrian war to stop
  7. I wish… for 100 dogs
  8. I wish…to be the government
  9. I wish…I could fly
  10. I wish…for a baby sister this Christmas

The MAC’s Christmas show ‘Pinocchio’, which is sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas, will run until Sunday 1st January 2017 and this will also mark the close of the Phoenix Wishes competition. Full competition details available at: www.phoenixcompetition.com #PhoenixWishes

KENNEDY CENTRE INTRODUCES RELAXED SANTA VISITS

KENNEDY CENTRE INTRODUCES RELAXED SANTA VISITS

Kennedy Centre
Pictured with Adam Lockheart is Santa, Angela Lamont from Enchanted Events and John Jones, Centre Manager for Kennedy Centre

West Belfast’s Kennedy Centre – often dubbed ‘Curley’s’ – is leading the way forward on accessibility and inclusivity this Christmas with extended support for children with additional needs when visiting the centre’s magical Christmas dome to meet-and-greet Father Christmas.

Teaming up with Enchanted Events, Kennedy Centre is offering relaxed Santa sessions this holiday season for children with additional needs. Relaxed Santa sessions cater for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), physical disabilities and other additional needs by opening the centre from 9am to 1pm every Sunday until Christmas so that any potential anxiety or mobility issues caused by large crowds of Christmas shoppers is alleviated. Centre retailers also remain closed and no noise or music is emitted from PA systems.

Recent reports show a 67% increase in the incidence rate of school age children diagnosed with ASD rising from 4,570 to 6,046 between 2011/12 and 2014/15 (Department of Health and Social Care, 2015) further cementing the need for such services in public venues.

Commenting this year’s relaxed Santa sessions, John Jones, Centre Manager, said:

“Kennedy Centre has always been a cornerstone of the community here in West Belfast. We are a community-based shopping centre and with that comes the responsibility to ensure we take into consideration the additional needs and support members of the community within the catchment area require.

“We’re delighted to have the Enchanted Events team return to Kennedy Centre again this Christmas to support us as we continue to deliver our services to all members of the local community.”

Now widely adopted in Northern Ireland, Kennedy Centre is largely credited for introducing the concept to fast-paced shopping centres in 2015.

“Visiting Santa should be a magical and memorable experience; one without mobility issues or anxiety. However, not all children are afforded this luxury. Similar relaxed Santa sessions are now a regular feature in the Christmas events calendars of shopping centres throughout Northern Ireland, who open their doors at midday on Sundays. But, Kennedy Centre is leading the way forward by extending these sessions from 9am until centre opening hours of 1pm,” explained Angela Lamont, owner of Enchanted Events.

Should a child become anxious, frightened or if access issues arise during their visit, Santa will greet them at a more convenient point around the Christmas installation for photographs.

Kennedy Centre relaxed Santa sessions take place every Sunday (9am – 1pm) until December 18th.

For more information, contact Kennedy Centre on 028 9030 0734 or visit www.kennedycentre.co.uk.

SNEAK PEEK: LISBURN CITY CENTRE GIFT GUIDE 2016

SNEAK PEEK: LISBURN CITY CENTRE GIFT GUIDE 2016

Sneak peek into the new and first ever Lisburn City Centre Gift Guide for Christmas. Rumour Mill PR worked with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to produce a 50 page booklet on gift guides for her, him and kids plus much more form  recipes, competitions and discount vouchers. Out now.

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*only a snapshot of the booklet. Prices are for guidance, please check instores for more details.

Artwork by Oranga Design

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

pinocchio-comes-alive-this-christmas-at-the-mac-pic-2This Christmas the MAC, Belfast’s multi award-winning arts venue, is thrilled to introduce a new generation of theatre-goers to the magic of Pinocchio. The modern retelling of the classic tale by the hugely successful children’s theatre company Cahoots NI, is proudly sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas and will take to the stage over the festive period from Tuesday 29 November until Sunday 1st January 2017.

This is the simple story of a puppet who longed to be a real boy. Searching for a family to call his own, Pinocchio’s adventures take him to school, to The Land of Grand Illusions and ultimately back to his father Gepetto in his quest to become a real boy.

This family musical is perfect for six years plus, but younger audiences will enjoy the live music and the dazzling magic that local company Cahoots NI is renowned for. Directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney, expect thrilling acts of illusion that will leave you bewildered.

Paul explains: “The story starts with us meeting Gepetto, who like every parent, doesn’t always get it right. In his wood cabin one magical day, he begins to work on his latest carving and can’t believe it when that piece of wood begins to talk back. Young audiences will love seeing Pinocchio come to life, literally, on stage.

He then gets into all sorts of mis-adventures and antics but you’ll be willing him to do the right thing along the way. In the end, it’s not about Pinocchio being naughty or telling the odd white lie, but about the age-old truth that children need to discover the world for themselves. We’ve worked hard to create a magical, but realistic world for Pinocchio on stage – we recommend that you keep your eyes peeled as there will be things going on that you just won’t quite believe.”

Speaking about this year’s family show, Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC said:

“I’m so pleased that we’re working with Cahoots NI again in this all-new coproduction. We have promised to bring the magic of Pinocchio to local audiences this Christmas at the MAC. It’s a classic tale that many of us are familiar with, but Cahoots NI have done an incredible job in making it their own; this is sure to unlike anything you’ll have seen before.

“As a creative hub for everyone, the MAC works hard to ignite the imaginations of all our visitors from young to old. That’s why we have put lots in place to surround the Christmas show so that from the moment you step into the building, the whole experience is magical. From Gepetto’s log cabin, recreated in our front window to the amazing Phoenix Wishing Wood created by artists on the ground floor where families can place their Christmas wish, there’s lots happening for all ages – much of it free.

So, if you’ve never been before, I’d highly recommend a visit to the MAC over the Christmas period – even just to pop in to check out our free family room and huge Christmas tree, everyone is welcome.”

Cathy Magovern, Marketing Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas, said:

“After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are delighted to continue to support growing families through sponsoring the MAC’s Christmas production of Pinocchio. It’s an exciting production and a world-class creative venue which we are proud to sponsor this holiday season.

We’re particularly looking forward to opening the very special Phoenix Wishing Wood in the heart of the MAC, as a free experience for families when they visit. Simply make a wish at the Phoenix Wishing Well and Phoenix will be making that wish come true for one lucky child this festive season. Soak up the magic of the MAC as it sparks the imagination to inspire your wishes, and it could be your family having a dream come true this Christmas.”

Tickets for Pinocchio at the MAC are now available, priced at £10 for children and £16-25 for adults. For more information about the show or to book a ticket, visit themaclive.com or call the MAC on (028) 9023 5053.

 

ENDS