What is the Campaign about?

Welsh language information

The Family Arts Campaign is a large scale, national collaborative programme led by the visual and performing arts sectors to increase levels of arts engagement by families. The Campaign focuses on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of high-quality content available
  • Increasing the quality of experience
  • Improving marketing


Who is the Campaign for?

This Campaign is primarily aimed at increasing and broadening audiences and participants for the visual and performing arts sectors generally, though our work is focused on those organisations who are members of our partner organisations, as well as ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

Other organisations not part of one of the identified groups above, including museums, libraries, and educational establishements, are also welcome and encouraged to access all aspects of the Campaign.

Who is running the Campaign?

The Family Arts Campaign is an initiative of ten organisations & trade bodies:

Association of British Orchestras Independent Theatre Council Society of London Theatre UK THEATRE_CORE_rgb_100





Between 2012 – 2015 the consortium was awarded an initial grant of National Lottery funds by Arts Council England to develop a campaign focusing on the development of family arts engagement. The Campaign is currently funded by ACE until March 2017.


The Family Arts Campaign in Wales is being run for the Arts Council of Wales by Fieldwork in partnership with the UK Family Arts Campaign team, until April 2017. fieldworking.co.uk


The campaign is overseen by a Project Board:

Cassie Chadderton Head of UK Theatre & Membership Development, UK Theatre
Charlotte Jones Chief Executive, Independent Theatre Council
Cath Hume Executive Director, Arts Marketing Association
Robert O’Dowd Chief Executive, Rose Theatre Kingston
Julian Bird Chief Executive, Society of London Theatre
Matthew Swann Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
Mark Pemberton Director, Association of British Orchestras
Katy Spicer Chief Executive & Artistic Director, efdss
Anne Torreggiani Executive Director, The Audience Agency
Karla Barnacle-Best CEO, Discover Children’s Story Centre
Lisa Mead Artistic Director, Apples and Snakes
Gordon Dalton National Coordinator, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Gavin Barlow Chief Executive/Artistic Director, The Albany

Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Jenny Daly Head of Campaign
Clair Donnelly  Project Manager


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‘Test Drive The Arts’ for Families


In 1998 Anne Roberts wrote Test Drive the Arts: a practical guide to setting up schemes that bring people into the arts, or a particular art-form, or venue for the first time. The term Test Drive was used by Arts About Manchester (now The Audience Agency), to describe initiatives in the arts that encouraged new audiences to try out the art on offer in a way that was low risk. This approach is much like how car retailers operate, by encouraging people to ‘Test Drive’ their products free of charge. Test Drive as a concept is not new; many organisations have been using this approach to target new audiences for years and there are many examples that you can learn from. Test Drive is more than just free tickets however, it refers to an overall approach describing:

“An arts organisation’s planned and incentivised encouragement of people to experience something in the arts for the first time, leading to lasting relationships” p3, Test Drive the Arts, Anne Roberts, 1998

Test Drive is not necessarily about working with audiences that you find very hard to appeal to; although they may be included in your targeting. It is about broadening your audience base to anyone that you currently don’t attract. It is about finding out and knowing what families want, and responding to this. It is about increasingly teaming up with other organisations to make best use of resources and to ensure families in 2013 and beyond are offered the best possible arts experiences we are in a position to offer.

This resource

This resource is designed to be a quick prompt to help you:

  • Identify where you are now and where you would like to be in terms of reaching new family audiences.
  • Have a really effective conversation either internally or with partners about what taking a Test Drive approach could achieve.
  • Start to plan a new Test Drive campaign.
Where Are You Now? >





© The Audience Agency 2013 for the Family Arts Campaign

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