Sherman 5 Families is an initiative which gives proactive Sherman 5 families the chance to see three performances for free each season for a whole year at Sherman Theatre. In return, Sherman 5 Families write reviews and consult with the Sherman Theatre about their experience of visiting the theatre and about how we can make Sherman 5 more rewarding for all of our members. We put a call out for Sherman 5 Families once a year, so please get in touch if you’re interested in being a Sherman 5 Family in our next application round.
Get to know our Sherman 5 Families for 2017-18
THE ZENATI-PARSONS FAMILY
Hi, my name is Milena Zenati-Parsons. I am married to my husband Dave and we have two sons Luca, 11 and Mico, 8. My husband and I haven't been to the theatre in years. Our boys have been once when they were little; that was via school and once with us. The only time now we get to see anything is when my boys do their performances with drama school or the drama school put a musical on. I am a wheelchair user and my boys are unofficial young carers along with my official carer, my husband. We applied to be a Sherman 5 Family as it would be great to experience theatre as a family. Getting to create memories like other families by going to the theatre and to be given the opportunity to feel normal for once.
THE LEWIS FAMILY
Hi, my name Kathryn Lewis. In my family are my daughters Charli, 10 and Sylvia, 12. We live in Splott, Cardiff.
I have been to the theatre before but rarely visit; it is something I would consider a huge treat, so maybe less than once a year. I would probably choose between going to see a concert or to the theatre to see a musical, maybe for a birthday etc. I believe the last two theatre shows I saw weren't actually in the theatre at all, rather, anniversary productions of Les Mis and Miss Saigon in the cinema. Before that I took my kids to see Wicked when it was on tour.
I wanted to become part of the Sherman 5 scheme to be able to see things with my kids, and also more grown up performances by myself. To make memories with my family. To experience new things, expand my perceptions, and challenge my views. To be able to tell people about my experiences, and share this with them.
For me obviously money is a big obstacle, and I just assumed it would be really expensive for all performances, not just the big name shows like the touring musicals from London but less known ones too. I thought theatre was theatre and it would all be the same price. With little experience, I didn't question whether there were more affordable shows.
I think I thought that taking 2 children and myself, when my children were younger, was a scary option. I worried about kids being kids, not being able to sit through a show, or spending the whole show squeezing past people to take them on bathroom breaks. I didn’t realise that theatres were child-friendly places. I also think that now my kids are older, it is less scary, and something I want them to experience. I also don’t drive, and didn’t really know how close the Sherman Theatre was to town, or how easy it is to get to.
I think that if you don't have much money, you are not going to risk spending what you have on an activity or a performance genre you wouldn't normally choose to see in case it’s not for you. This means you stick to what you know, and it’s more normal for most people to go to the cinema and watch a film, than see something at the theatre. I think that the adverts for theatre are very different from how stories on TV and film are advertised, more like the blurb at the back of a book. I wouldn’t have considered visiting the theatre regularly before now, both due to thinking it would be beyond my budget and that the chosen stories might not be something I could relate to. I think Sherman 5 is a great way to break down barriers, as it gives people the opportunity to experience it for themselves. I guess I have had preconceived ideas about theatre and I am excited to challenge that!
THE KHAN FAMILY
Hi, my name is Tafsila. In my family are my partner Aamir Mehmood, 34 and my children Alisha 12, Alina 9 and my son Zayn aged 4. I am registered blind. We signed up as members of Sherman 5 Families as we haven’t all been to the theatre together as a family before. My children have gone to the theatre with school and I have gone separately to an Audio Described performance. We hope with being members of Sherman 5, we will all be able to go to the theatre together.
THE KÖNIG FAMILY
Hi, my name is Susanne König. I have a daughter called Lilith who is 6 and we live in Roath, Cardiff.
I have always wanted my daughter to feel part of the greater community around her, which in Roath means being involved in the arts and engaging in multicultural activities.
I started going to the theatre with my daughter when she was only a few months old. We visit the theatre as often as we can. We watched all three performances of Love, Cardiff at Sherman Theatre because my daughter and I enjoyed seeing local people and friends on stage and the show in itself was brilliant too.
The main obstacles for us are costs of tickets and transport. We usually walk everywhere to save money so some events and venues are beyond our reach especially on a school night.
All of the venues in Cardiff are very welcoming to children but I found that some theatregoers take offence at a young child being present during an event not directly aimed at children. My daughter loves all kinds of culture from performance art to opera and shouldn't be excluded from what she loves just because of her age. All adults and children should have a chance to go on adventures and explore the complexities of humanity from the comfort of a theatre seat.
I became part of the Sherman 5 scheme originally to enable members of Deafblind Cymru to access plays and events for free but I also found it a great way to use Time Credits and see shows as a family. The Sherman also offers training and opportunities that we otherwise would have no access to. It is a great way to be involved in the arts in a way that suits my family.
THE SINGH FAMILY
Hi, my name is Asha. In my family are my partner John and my son Kaveh, aged 8.
We joined Sherman 5 Families as we think it’s a great opportunity for families from different cultures and ethnicities to access the arts.
THE BUCKMASTER FAMILY
Hi, my name is Rebecca Buckmaster. I live in Rumney in Cardiff with my husband James and my children Kacey 14, Sky 11, Torie 9 and Blake 5.
James and I don’t go to the theatre. James went when he was in school. The 4 children go once a year for Christmas plays. The main obstacle preventing us attending is not having the money for transport or tickets.
We wanted to join Sherman 5 Families so that our family could enjoy a variety of plays, dance and musicals and enjoy ourselves together as a family group.
THE NIZIBLIAN FAMILY
Hi, in my family we have me, Lydia, my husband Lann, my daughter Kitty, 12 and my son Tadhg aged 9. We live in Whitchurch in Cardiff. We have only ever been to the theatre twice as a family. As we are now members of Sherman 5 Families, we are looking forward to this changing!
There are a number of things that prevent us going regularly; primarily that we saw it as an expensive activity for all of us, especially given the risk that as some of us have autism and we might not enjoy the experience (struggling to deal with crowds and loud noises etc.).
We also think that theatre can be seen as elitist. Going into schools/groups may help to let the families know via their kids that it's enjoyable. To show going to the theatre as more personal, more interactive and equally accessible as going to the cinema.
We applied to Sherman 5 Families because we wanted the children to know more about the theatre. It is not something we have done as a family, and we think that it will be a great way for us to experience new things together and for the children to understand it as a creative art as well as enjoying the shows themselves.
THE KAMRUZ FAMILY
Hi there, my name is Tahmeena. In our little family we have myself, Mohammed and our beautiful boys Zayan (7) and Amaan (6). We live in Cardiff.
Before I moved to Cardiff, I used to live in a little town called Abergavenny. There is a theatre I used to visit when I was around my son's age. My mother used to take me there 2-3 times a month, but that all stopped when she sadly fell really ill. However, I have many great memories of my trips to the theatre. I personally haven't been able to support my children to experience the theatrical atmosphere due to the costs.
However I believe everyone should have opportunity to experience and understand theatre culture and most importantly, to understand and value the family memories which I believe a theatre can provide. I never wanted my children to miss that opportunity and I want them to be able to say "yes, I visited a theatre" just like I can.
It doesn't hurt to try it out; like marmite, you might either love it or hate it. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but regardless what your opinions may be, you can at least say you have visited a theatre and share your memories and experience with your friends and family.
THE HARDING FAMILY
Hi, my name is Charlotte Harding. In my family is my husband Richard and our sons Ethan, 4 and Harrison aged 2. We live in Llandaff North, Cardiff. We decided to become part of Sherman 5 because it was a great opportunity for my family to experience the charm and diversity of the Sherman Theatre.
The main obstacles for our family accessing theatre is money. Anxiety can also put me off going; when I am in the theatre I am okay, but it is the travelling to and from that makes me anxious.
I think there is a misconception of what a trip to the theatre is for many people. Many people seem to think theatre is for upper class people when in reality theatre is for everyone. I think offering more comfortable seats for cheaper ticket prices as Sherman 5 does is great and offering family themed events so people know that the show may be a little bit louder.
THE RANDALL FAMILY
Hi, my name is Cari Randall. In my family are Finn 21 and Pip 4 and we live in Rhiwbina, Cardiff.
We wanted to become part of the Sherman 5 Families as I think theatre is a fantastic experience for young people. My older son had an interest in drama and circus performance when he was at school and I would like my deaf son to have as many different cultural experiences as possible. As a single parent family and as an older mum with no income, I find it hard to provide the opportunities for Pip that I did for Finn. I am hoping that he can join a drama club when he is older as he shows great talent for expressing himself even with limited language skills. These skills will help him when he is older and facing the hearing world too.