If you go down to the SECC this month and see folks decked out to incredible lengths in silver foil, don’t be fooled into thinking Gary Glitter’s doing the rounds again. The groupies are aged between three and ten, and they’re heading for The Giant Christmas Present, Singing Kettle’s new children’s show. They’ll be heading there in droves, or so Artie Trezise hopes. With 34 performances in the 2000-seater theatre hall, they’re aiming for an overall audience of 68,000. If that seems unlikely, last year’s show at the SECC drew 67,000, beating all sorts of records and out- selling Pavarotti, Cliff Richard and Mr Glitter himself.

‘l’m always surprised and I’m always delighted,’ says Artie of the Singing Kettle’s popularity. The Fife-based trio has been together for ten years now. Asked for the secret of their phenomenal success, Artie seems stumped. ‘At the bottom line, they like the songs we do, which are at exactly the right level for our audience.’

Frequently described as ‘panto without the boring bits’, the show lasts for one hour twenty minutes. ‘We don’t let the tempo drop. It’s exhausting to do, but it’s one way of keeping fit. Last year 1 lost a stone. 8500 is a pretty vast venue, you’ve got to keep getting out to the sides to relate to the audience.’

The Giant Christmas Present is a mixture ot new songs and old Christmas favourites. Artie reckons The School Dinner Song, delving into the delights of bug-infested salads, is destined to be a big hit. Centre stage is the huge parcel itself, designed by Brunton Theatre’s iiobin Peebles, which transforms into different scenes. As the layers of the parcel fall away, children join the trio on a voyage of discovery, from kitchen to bedroom, from rooftop to Wonderland itself. Dark Horse Artie won’t reveal what happens along the way, but confirms that Santa will be dropping in. (Gabe Stewart)

Rain or shine, our at-a-glance guide will see you through. Events are listed under outdoors or indoors columns, and then divided by city. Kids listings compiled by Gabe Stewart.

Outdoors fite‘p:

Activities and Fun

I Secret Agents Club Strathclyde Country Park. Country Rangers 0698 266155 ext 131. Sat 3 Dec. 10am—noon. Free. 8-12 years. Places limited so please book in advance.

I Young Naturalists Club Pollok Country Park. 632 9299. Sat 3 Dec. 10am—noon. Free. Making Christmas presents from natural materials in the Park could save you a fortune.

I Tree Planting and Environmental

'Pantomime Clyde Muirshiel Regional

Park. Castle Semple Centre. 0505 842882. Sun 4 Dec. 1pm. Free. Take a bough and stage an arboreal spectacular for National Tree Week.

I What 3 Waste Linn Dipper Club. Linn Park. 637 1147. Sat 10 Dec. 10am. Free. What do you do with your old newspaper? Come and recycle it into new paper.

I Make a Bird Box Drumpellier Country Park. 0236 422257. Sat 10 Dec. noon—4pm. Come along and make your own bird box. Materials and advice provided free of charge by Rangers.

I Hang it Up for Christmas Mugdock Country Park. Craigend Visitors Centre. 956 6100. Sun 11 Dec. 2-3.30pm. Free. Be Advent-urous and create some Santa- stic decorations using materials from the Park.


Activities and Fun

I llaked Tree Walk Royal Botanic Gardens. Meet at West Gate. Arboretum Road. 552 7171. Sun 4 Dec. 1pm. £4 (£2). Tour the gardens on an identification parade.

I Birdwatching Aberlady Bay. Meet in car park by wooden bridge over Peffer Burn. Info Malcolm Porteous 447 0539.

'Sun 4 Dec. 10am-noon. Free.

I Big Bird Bonanza Hermitage of Braid. 69a Braid Road. 447 7145. Sat 3/Sun 4 Dec. 11am—4pm. Free. A weekend of feather-related fun and events for beginners to besotted birders. Youngsters can make bird boxes. tables and feeders; accompany an adult on an energetic short guided walk; take part in games. activities and competitions or spend their pocket money in the RSPB shop. if parents want to take things at a more leisurely pace. they can either sit and watch birds in the hide or relax in the tea room. Open all weekend.

I llature llamble Blackford Glen and Hermitage. Meet Blackford Glen Road. 200 metres along from the foot of Liberton Brae. info Malcolm Porteous 447 0539. Sun 11 Dec. 9—1 1.30am. Free.


Activrties and Fun

I A Flying Visit to Africa Scotland Street School Museum. 225 Scotland Street (opposite Shields Road underground station). 429 1202. Until Sun 11 Dec. Daily 10am-5pm. Sun 2—5pm. See child- sized African huts and scenes of West African village life. Make your own bird pictures to add to the birds on show before they fly off to West Africa for the winter. Elsewhere in the museum you can go back in time to reconstructed classrooms ranging from the Victorian and Edwardian eras to the 605: write with a real nib pen and ink or wear the dunce’s cap. Outside in the playground. children can play traditzonal games. with a gird and cleet. whip and peevie. marbles or skipping rope. Games come in a pack containing full instructions. at a charge of 50p plus a £2 returnable deposit.


I Dinosaur Safari SECC. Hall 3. Finnieston. 248 9999. Until Fri 13 Jan 1995. 11am-8pm. £4 (£3) £12 family ticket. Fresh from the Natural History Museum in London. this exhibition may not be new but is improved, with additional activities for children. Featuring 21 moving, roaring exhibits. visitors can roam through the time tunnel. then get to grips with the big beasts in the activity area. There they can get under the skin ofa mechanical T Rex. get lost in interactive video games. make brass rubbings. make Plasticine models. or accept the ‘can you jump as far as a dinosaur step’ challenge.

Theatre and Music

I The Giant Christmas Present SECC. Finnieston. 248 9999. Tue l3—Fn' 30 Dec. Shows for schools, nurseries and playgroups at 10am and 1.15pm; shows for the public at 11am, 2pm and 6pm. £5—£7 (£4—£6), ‘family’ (four tickets)

£20. 3—10 years. See panel.

I Tune In Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. 2 Sauchiehall Street. 227 5511. Sun 4 Dec. 2pm. £6.50 (£3.50) family £17 (two adults and two children). Third in a series of children's classic concerts. Christopher Bell conducts the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and presents a programme of chart- topping classical songs. Children get to sing along to the Neopolitan Song, The Magic Flute and Carmen among others. and some might even get to do a bit of conducting.

I Sleeping Beauty Cottiers Theatre. Hyndland Street. West End. 357 3868. Sat 10 and 17 Dec. 2pm. £4.50 (£2.50) family £12 (2+3 or 1+4). Hopscotch Theatre’s successful primary school touring show makes a rare public performance.

I Scottish Mask and Puppet Theatre 8-10 Balcarres Avenue. Kelvindale, 339 6185. Sat 3 Dec. 2pm. £2.50 (£1.50). Black Box Puppet Theatre presents Grandpa's Winter Tale. the sequel to the popular Grandpa '3 Quiet Day. The new play has the same ingredients of puppets. storytelling. audience participation and gentle humour and covers a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.


Activities and Fun

I Wildlife Christmas Card Making Royal Botanic Garden. Meet at lnverleith Row entrance. Fn’ 2 Dec. 6.30—8.30pm. Free. Try your hand at block printing and origami. and send your spectacular result off as a Christmas card.

I Santa at Edinburgh Zoo Corstorphine Road. 334 9171. Sat 3—24 Dec.

1 1am-4pm. £1 per child. Santa's not in the reindeer enclosure. but in the entrance foyer. and all proceeds support wildlife conservation. Every child receives a present from Santa. and you get to catch up on some Christmas shopping at the tempting Arkadia gift shop.

I Christmas story and craft sessions The Netherbow, 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Sats 3. 10. 17 Dec. 2.30—4pm. £6 for all three sessions. 6—9 years. The first week features the story of Babushka. followed by the chance to make simple little dolls from wool. The second week will concentrate on cards and gift tabs. incorporating use of watercolour and collage, while the last session highlights the nativity story. after which kids can make angels to hang on the tree.

I Collage Workshops The Netherbow, 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Sats 3 and 10 Dec. 10.30am—noon. £3. 7+ years. To accompany the Netherbow’s Storjvworlds exhibition (until 23 Dec). Julie Lacome leads workshops in which characters and scenes from her book Walking Through the Jungle are recreated on a large frieze.


I Fllmhouse Matinee: Lothian Road. 228 2688. £2.20 (£1.50). Films start at 2.30pm. Sat 3 Gone with the Wind (PG); Sat 10 Dec Thumhelina (U).


I Storyworlds The Netherbow. 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Until Fri 23 Dec. 10am—4.30pm. Illustrations for children. I Treasure islands Royal Museum of Scotland. Chambers Street. 225 7534. Until Tue 3 Jan 1995, Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun noon—5pm. £2 (£1). A mixture of fact and fiction covering R. L. Stevenson's fantastic islands.


I The Tailor of Gloucester The Netherbow, 43—45 High Street. 556 9579. Thurs l—Sat 3 Dec; Thurs 8—Sat 10 Dec. 10.30am and 2.30pm. £3 (£2). Ian Turbitt’s Puppet Theatre presents a new adaptation of the original Beatrix Potter story. Will the tired old tailor. hindered by a naughty cat. aided by some helpful mice. succeed in finishing the Mayor's outfit in time for Christmas Day?

The List 2—15 December 1994 85