SARAH Birch has already had her Christmas present.

The founder of children’s theatre company Colour the Clouds this week saw their production of a new festive family show open at the Lowry, Salford Quays.

Colour the Clouds were commissioned to devise and stage an original work and 12 months hard work became reality when the curtain went up on opening night last night.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for us,” said Sarah. “Usually the Lowry for their studio show at Christmas would buy in a touring company but because we are associate artists and we create work for children and families they said ‘let’s try this’.

“It was a new way of working for them and for us.

“They said they definitely wanted a Christmas show with as much Christmas as we could cram in - that was our brief.”

As associate artists, Colour the Clouds have been able to call on the expertise of all the departments within the Lowry from marketing to technical advice.

“With the Lowry’s help we developed a show for really little children aged 0 to three, called Aleena’s Garden which is just finishing a national tour and that has really changed our company,” said Sarah.

“But Holly Christmas takes it to a new level for us.”

The Extraordinary Tale of Holly Christmas is the story of a little girl who discovers the real meaning of Christmas. Holly will be played by Hollie Steel, the former Britain’s Got Talent finalist, who will be making her professional debut.

“It is a theatre show for the family rather than a pantomime,” said Sarah.

“We have live music in there, we have songs and visually it’s going to be very exciting. We’ve also got some magic and some puppetry.

“Ideally it is aimed at three to eight-year-olds but what we try to do with all our shows is make it a nice experience for all the family so older and younger siblings, parents and carers are more than welcome. We are very relaxed in our approach.”

Sarah said that Colour the Clouds aim is to create family-friendly theatre.

“We try to be as inclusive as possible,” she said. “If youngsters need to leave the theatre and come back in that’s fine. There are no complete blackouts or scary bangs. We are sensitive about making people feel comfortable.

“The aim is that if the whole family enjoys it then we hope that they will keep coming back to the theatre.

“We want them to fall in love with the experience.”

Colour the Clouds, now a five-strong company, has come a long way in five years and 2018 is already looking exciting.

“Next year is pretty much planned which is a very exciting place to be in,” said Sarah.

“We are talking to a number of theatres about booking Aleena’s Garden and hopefully Holly Christmas will go on tour next Christmas.

“We just keep pinching ourselves. We get the best job in the world. We are great friends all five of us and we get to go into a room and play all day and create something which we can share with everybody on the best stage possible.”

The Extraordinary Tale of Holly Christmas, the Lowry, Salford Quays, tonight until Sunday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 27 to Sunday, December 31. Details from 0843 208 6005 or