Theatre for the under 5s gets a hop in the right direction

A pioneering project designed to bring theatre to young children in rural areas today announces the six companies selected to make up its inaugural touring programme. The Hopper scheme, which is being trialled in Somerset and Surrey, is aimed at bringing theatre to areas of low arts engagement.

The selected companies are:

  • Tangled Feet,
  • Dancing Strong
  • Hikapee
  • Second Hand Dance
  • Flibbertigibbet theatre
  • AYCORN East (a collaboration between Charlotte Arculus of Magic Adventure and Joy Haynes of Norwich Puppet Theatre).

Tamsin Mosse, Hopper Project Manager at Take Art comments,
“We were thrilled at the response, the standard was very high and competition was intense, with over 70 applications from the UK, America, Norway and Spain. The six successful companies all offered something visually exciting, intriguing and full of potential.”

Over the next two years, Hopper will work with the six chosen companies to take shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer, less advantaged areas.

Once selected, a representative from each company will be invited to take part in a Lab programme, a residency that will bring artists, Early Years staff and theatre managers together to explore how to reach more children with quality performances.

Paul Warwick, Director at China Plate explains,
“The Lab is a chance to increase the amount of live performance that can tour into Early Years settings – taking the work directly to children who may not have seen theatre or dance before. It’s such an opportunity, and could spark an interest in the arts that lasts a lifetime."

This initial pilot is based in Somerset and Surrey in specific areas with low levels of arts participation and identified disadvantaged families.

Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate are running the project, which has been generously funded by Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Partnership Surrey and aims to encourage more artists to make high quality shows that can tour to nurseries, children centres and libraries.

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.”

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For further details please contact Tamsin Mosse, Project Manager on 01460 249450 or email tamsin@takeart.org

Hopper is steered by a dynamic partnership between Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate. Please click here to visit the project pages.

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