New Hopper Project Set to Reshape Early Years Theatre

Somerset Arts organisation Take Art, in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate, has received £92k from the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund and £24k from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the Early Years regional Theatre project Hopper, focusing on Somerset and Surrey in 2017/18.

The pioneering Early Years project will create opportunities for over 3,500 babies and pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting. Taking place over two-years, Hopper will bring specially created theatre shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer less advantaged areas.

Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said, “We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”

Hopper will also support seven theatre companies in developing 70+ high quality and relevant performances. Children and Early Years staff will be invited to take part in the development process. This means that the companies can work with the under fives to make the best shows possible for them.

Gina Westbrook, Director of Early Years at Take Art said, “A significant part of Hopper is to stimulate greater interest among companies to develop new work and take it into Early Years settings. Hopper will also enable children to have a voice in how this new work is made for them.”

Phil Gibby went onto say, “The project looks set to develop a local, sustainable touring infrastructure for Early Years work and build strong and productive relationships.”

During the project Take Art will work in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate and also with key local theatres; The Brewhouse in Taunton; Bridgwater Arts Centre, The egg in Bath and Camberley Theatre in Surrey. Hopper will start in January 2017, with a year of development and planning, followed by a three seasons of touring and performance.

Take Art is currently recruiting an experienced Project Manager to oversee the relationship between the Early Years settings and the companies. Click here to find out more. http://bit.ly/2hZtXyk

Hopper is launching a national call out to identify artists/companies interested in developing new shows. Please visit the Take Art website or click bit.ly/2j78DdL for more information.

Notes to Editors

Press contact: Louise Monks on 01460 249450 or email louise@takeart.org or info@takeart.org

Take Art is a National Portfolio Organisation and a pioneering arts charity serving the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset, providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience, participate and work within the arts.

The Strategic Touring programme funds touring work, focusing especially on areas where people have low engagement with the arts and those that rely on touring for much of their arts provision. It also seeks to extend the reach of high-quality work by broadening the range of venues presenting it, as well as well as forging stronger relationships between audiences, promoters, venues, artists and producers.

Image: Fairytales Gone Bad by Half Moon

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