One of the absolute highlights of this year’s Citylife Garden Fair was the Glom Glom Pom Pom Island, smack dab in the middle of our fair, where an entire island was taken over by the fun, whacky, wobbly, bouncy, colourful and fun folks from Glom – a theatre group in the city that’s seriously turning heads.
Large round furry Pom Poms bobbed around the fair dancing and playing with little kids (and their big parents!), while magicians wowed, face painters wooed and the funky Pied Pipers of Glom drew a following of little children as they danced and pranced their way around the fair all day long.
To think that that was just the teaser – an amuse bouche of what is to come!
To celebrate the upcoming Thai National Children’s Day, Glom is putting on their second GLOM GLOM! Children’s Festival which promises to be a magical day of fun, imagination, activities, giggles and joy for the entire family. The event, running from 3pm to 9pm on Saturday 13th January is said to be a highlight among the many other Children’s Day festivities.
Glom (which means circle in Thai) is a groundbreaking Chiang Mai-based theatre company redefining what it means to experience live performance arts in Northern Thailand – all through direct sensory experiences.
Founded as recently as 2022, Glom’s underlying mission is to, “push boundaries and expand the horizon of what is creatively possible through interactive, sensory events that go far beyond the traditional stage,” Aydan Stuart, Glom’s marketing director, told Citylife. “Glom was founded by amateurs but is guided by professionals and is more than just a theatre group — it aspires to journey into self-discovery and explore the very heart of the human condition.”
Ambitious words indeed. But to date, Glom has not just lived up to its promised vision, but is constantly exceeding it, with regular activities, sponsorship of children’s theatre initiatives across Chiang Mai and in its success in working with other existing theatre groups across the province.
“Essentially our objective is to take the theatre and performance arts out of the stage and onto a more experiential and interactive experience,” expanded Aydan. “An example is that we want to change people’s perceptions as to what is performance and what is not. Make people unsure about what they are watching — is it on; has it even started? We are trying to entertain and produce art in a medium which is not so commonly experienced.”
Aydan went on to say that the long term goal of Glom’s is to elevate and help people to navigate new perspectives when compared to normal theatre experiences. “We want people to question what it means to be an audience or a performer through the various media and topics we approach. It is all very Chiang Mai focused. It is an effort to elevate Chiang Mai, maybe even onto an international level for groundbreaking and unique approaches to creative artistry. The first step is to elevate the performance scene from the youth up.”
Glom is a privately run organisation which aims to cut through linguistic and cultural boundaries to make its performances accessible to everyone. And this upcoming GLOM GLOM! Children’s Festival will be its largest production to date.
“Imagine a world class adult festival. This is the same, but for children!” explained Aydan. Instead of a bar, a DJ, dancing and workshops, we’ll offer the same kind of things but tailored for kids instead!”
Families will arrive through a tunnel which will open them up into another world as they emerge into the festival. A Pom Pom playground filled with toys and multiple talented balls of fluff will be there to play with and entertain all day long. Kids can dance, join the song theatre, enter talent competitions, play games, shop, eat, drink and have endless fun.
“We are going to recreate that beautiful mayhem we had at the Citylife Garden Fair! From the start of the fair until the end there was a never-ending flow of children and parents smiling, laughing, giggling and having pure fun. This year’s theme is The Pom Pom people, derived from the creative minds of ThunderBug! and transposed into the wonderful world of GLOM GLOM! Children’s Festival.”
“This year kids can join the Pom Pom making station, where they can make Pom Poms to take home, they can join workshops to make and play instruments from banjos to percussions, we will provide all of the resources. There will be costume making as well as an acoustic sing-along stage with musicians on standby for support throughout the day. A hidden theatre with a mirror hidden maze will even have secret performances to discover. Kids can enjoy food of all kinds from candy floss to ice creams as well as their faces painted, hair braided and photos taken. The festival’s retail section is geared towards children, with food, snacks, toys, costumes and all other wonderful trinkets, all focused on kids! Needless to say, kids are not the sidekick here.”
Parents, however, will find that they are also catered for at the bar, with a selection of beers and drinks to keep the big kids occupied. The whole event space at Old Chiang Mai has been enclosed so as to keep all kids secure within the festival grounds, so parents can spend more time enjoying themselves than worrying.
“Even though there’s a bar for parents, we’ll also be serving a series of cute drinks for kids with super fun umbrellas and colours, so that they are the star of the day in all aspects. We have a playlist concert with a series of bands performing throughout the day, leading up to the main Pom Pom People story performance in the Glom Glom Musical, ending with a big crescendo around 8pm…though the night will continue with live music if kids still want to burn some energy, or the big kids have not quite finished their drinks.”
This year Glom theatre has local classical pianist Jonas Dept as musical director, and all performances and songs will be originals, one even written by Aydan himself! “We may be amateurs, but we’ve got some of the best performers and musicians behind us – either supporting from the wings or performing on stage,” he concludes.
Aydan promises that this is not a one off event. GLOM GLOM! Children’s Festival is fast becoming a Chiang Mai based brand for children, with future events, songbooks, activities and even albums in development for the community at large. There’s no doubt that this coming Children’s Day is just a promise of so much more Glom to come.
GLOM GLOM! Children’s Festival
Tickets are on discount until 31st December in a flash sale! Don’t miss out!