About Alison Riddiford

Owner of AliCaT

Eddie the Penguin Story

This is the story of ‘Eddie the Penguin Saves the World’. An environmental musical for children aged 4-8 years, written by Niki Davies, performed by AliCaT Children and Theatre 2015.

AliCaT Children and Theatre uses the theatre setting to nurture a learning environment that is safe to explore common themes or issues, develop interpersonal skills and support growth and connection in a creative way.

This story is the perfect backdrop to teach children about environmental issues occurring around the world. The play takes Eddie and his family of Penguins on adventures where they discover problems to solve from the pollution of our cities, excess energy used, the cause and effect of the chopping down of trees to landfill sites that are full and very very smelly!

On their journey they meet Polar Bears that are fed up with the situation, humans that are unaware of the effects of nasty pollution and energy wasting and finally a Prime Minister that is happy to support a clean up of the cities!

This story is an excellent resource to go on to develop extension activities that can really cement a child’s understanding of their responsibilities in this wonderful world we live in…

For further information on this production or an interest in supporting children’s learning, please contact Ali on ali@alicat.me


A Lesson in Resilience!

The AliCaT story…Move to March 2020…

We were told by the Government to stop trading on the 23 March 2020!

We stopped trading before the end of the week…it was a surreal week. Susie and I provided classes for the few who attended and to be honest it was a great week, full of laughter, fun and a great opportunity to build relationships!

Move to April 2020…

After a period of panic I worked out how to provide an online term of ‘zoom’ classes.  This was scary and unfamiliar to me but the children seemed to enjoy them and I began to see the potential! 

Move to June 2020…

It became apparent that I would be unable to sustain these classes due to the severity of my father’s illness…I was needed elsewhere!  

Move to September 2020…

My Father passed away and because of the Governments decision to phase out the Furlough Scheme I was forced into redundancy and therefore unable to secure a position for my friend and colleague in the future of AliCaT Children and Theatre…end of a 10 year working relationship! 

Move to October 2020…

After making a decision to ease teaching back to one age group only and interest in places secured, it became apparent AliCaT Children and Theatre would yet again have to join the nation in supporting the lockdown to beat this virus!

Move to November 2020…

Ever hopeful that AliCaT Junior classes could resume, preparations of the theatre were in full swing and Backwell Playhouse Committee were supporting the opening of the Venue.

Move to December 2020…

The Government announces a tier system and places North Somerset into tier 3 (high alert).  AliCaT Children and Theatre make the decision to put the safety of the community, children and parents foremost and postpone restarting until the new year…

Move to January 2021…


Thank you everyone for your amazing support and patience throughout this crazy chapter of our lives.


Wow! What a year!

Ali x



Are you sitting comfortably?

PRE SCHOOL STORYTIME…For 3-4 year old children

AliCaT Storytime is an interactive storytime created for children aged 3-4 years old…

Welcome to AliCaT Storytime, an interactive learning experience for pre school aged children. Dive into this delightful world of fun where the Penguins, leap, and slide and whizz through their day with all their Penguin playmates. Watch how the Penguins try to cheer up a sobbing baby seal pup that has lost his mummy and finally end their days all huddled and cuddled safely together.


Scone Recipe Challenge

ROYAL COOKS REQUIRED…Kitty Cobblers the cook is in need of help to make her famous scones for King Arthur. His birthday is looming and she is under pressure to make the best scones ever! and a lot of them…Can you help?


Here’s a little help from Mary Berry…Mary Berry’s scones are a perfect tea-time treat, whether jam-and-cream-topped plain or packed with sultanas.



  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Lightly grease two baking trays.

  2. Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  3. Crack the eggs into a measuring jug, then add enough milk to make the total liquid 300ml/10fl oz. Stir the egg and milk into the flour – you may not need it all – and mix to a soft, sticky dough.

  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead lightly and work in the sultanas, if using. Roll out to a rectangle about 2cm/¾in thick.

  5. Cut into as many rounds as possible with a fluted 5cm/2in cutter and place them on the prepared baking trays. Brush the tops of the scones with a little extra milk, or any egg and milk left in the jug.

  6. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the scones are well risen and a pale, golden-brown colour. Lift onto a wire rack to cool. Eat as fresh as possible.

  7. To serve, split the scones and serve with strawberry jam on the plain scones along with a good dollop of clotted cream.

AliCaT Online!

So, this last week has indeed taken me completely out of my comfort zone, AliCaT online!? Help!! Why don’t we try it out Junior’s? Look out for your email invitation this week…baby steps Ali x

P.S Don’t forget to download the app onto your computer, phone or iPad and let’s try it out!

What’s been going on at AliCaT

Hi AliCaT’s!

planning for AliCaT storiesI miss you all very much. Just to keep you posted, I have been working at the theatre this week trying to keep it up together in readiness for your return and finalising Production preparations for ‘Eddie the Penguin Saves the World’. I have also been filming some online stories for Preschool and Foundation…I’ll send those out to you when they are ready!

I will do my best to touch base with all age groups and keep you posted about what’s happening to AliCaT during the coming weeks…in the meantime if any of the children want to email me directly on ali@alicat.me I look forward to receiving their message…Ali xx


Dear All – In light of the ongoing announcements and advice from the Government and the continuing public health crisis, I have to announce the suspension of all AliCaT classes until further notice to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the community in which we live and work. 

During this time I am looking forward to developing my teaching ideas for you on-line to help keep the children in touch with AliCaT, and I will continue to update any news on the AliCaT website and social channels:

WEBSITE: http://www.alicat.me

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AliCaTChildrenandTheatre/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/AliCaT_drama

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/alicatchildrenandtheatre/

I am enormously grateful for the understanding and support you have given and I look forward to welcoming you back through the doors very soon.

Keep safe and well

Very best wishes

Ali and the team xx



Update on Coronavirus


Dear All

Based on government advice and media reports I would make the following recommendations and hope you all agree:

For Foundation and Preschool classes:  

I would like to suggest that I temporarily stop these classes for the protection of the children and primarily all the adults. What I’m looking to do is encourage adults not to congregate in the foyer and I see this as a positive measure. 

For Junior and Senior classes: 

I would like to continue as usual but I would strongly suggest the children are dropped off at the door and met by myself or my staff and likewise collected at the door to prevent crowd gatherings.

Eddie the Penguin Production:

Currently ‘Eddie the Penguin’ set design is going ahead, production is being completed and I’m hoping to reschedule the show with a possible slot in April/May.  This I hope to confirm by the end of this week.

The decisions I have made for a sound contingency is based on current Government advice. Again, I hope you all agree.

Many thanks for your support in this time of uncertainty…

Keep safe




As concern increases over the spread of Coronavirus, I have had a number of enquiries into the measures we are taking for Backwell Playhouse.  I want to reassure you that we are taking this very seriously and are keeping Backwell Playhouse as clean and safe as possible.
There is plenty of hand wash for use in the toilets and public sinks (please make use of before your children enter class) and boxes of tissues to be disposed of in the bins provided. Relevant posters are around the theatre to support and guide on best practice. In addition there is a video on the Playhouse foyer monitor with advice and guidance.
At the moment my understanding is that there is no clear rationale for ‘closing events’ and unless a specific scenario develops, the government encourages business as usual.
I have posted a link on the home page of my website that gives up to date data regarding Coronavirus in your area.  Please click the link to access this information. http://www.alicat.me  I have also attached information regarding advice on preventative measures and who to contact should you have concerns.
If you feel unwell please stay at home and rest.  Perhaps we may even get rid of the attitude of ‘it’s just a cold’ and allow ourselves to rest up and get properly well.  The body is intelligent, it will tell us when we need to stop.  We just have to listen.
Please be assured I will continue to monitor the situation to make sure we are taking the necessary precautions to protect you all and my staff alike.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message, please take care of yourselves.
Very best wishes
Ali signature 002 150px.png



Eddie the Penguin and his family travel around the world helping everyone with their environmental issues.  He finally arrives home knowing they have done their best to educate the world in making it a clean, sustainable, safe and friendly place to live. Well done Eddie and the Penguins!

For tickets, email tickets@alicat.me or contact us 

39 Steps proving very popular!

’39 Steps’ the next forthcoming production by Backwell Playhouse Theatre Company is proving extremely popular with only 8 tickets left throughout the run!  I have to stay as one of the actors I have enjoyed this process immensely and am looking forward to the run in November.  I haven’t tread the boards for a while now but I am so lucky to be part of such a great production! www.backwellplayhouse.co.uk …Ali x