What is the Campaign about?

Welsh language information

The Family Arts Campaign is a national Sector Support Organisation funded by Arts Council England and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to raise family engagement with arts and culture.

Since our beginnings in 2012, we have focused on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of artistic work available to families
  • Increasing the quality of experience for families
  • Improving marketing to reach more families

We are here to support National Portfolio Organisations, museums, libraries, community groups, individuals, and anyone else looking to better connect families with arts and culture.

You can take part by signing up to the free Family Arts Standards and Age-Friendly Standards quality-marks, by attending training and events, or accessing our online resources library. You can also promote all of your family and age-friendly events for free as part of our Fantastic for Families  campaign.

 

Who is running the Campaign?

We are a cross-sector and cross-artform initiative steered by a consortium of ten organisations and trade bodies. Our lead partner organisation is The Albany.

Logos of consortium partners: AMA, CVAN, ITS, One Dance UK, Society of London Theatre, UK Theatre, The Albany, Kids in Museums, ABO, The Audience Agency

 

The campaign is overseen by a Project Board:

Helen FeatherstoneDeputy Director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Hannah GagenAdvocacy Manager, Society of London Theatre / UK Theatre
Charlotte JonesChief Executive, Independent Theatre Council
Cath HumeExecutive Director, Arts Marketing Association
Robert O’DowdChief Executive, Rose Theatre Kingston
Gavin BarlowChief Executive/Artistic Director, The Albany
Matthew Swann (Interim Chair)Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
Mark PembertonDirector, Association of British Orchestras
Anne TorreggianiExecutive Director, The Audience Agency
Karla Barnacle-Best CEO, Discover Children’s Story Centre
Alison Bowyer and Laura BedfordExecutive Director and Head of Programmes, Kids in Museums
Rose CopseyCommunications Manager, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Frederick HopkinsHead of Business Development and Membership, One Dance UK

 

Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Clair DonnellyProject Manager
Rukhsana JahangirFamily Arts Network Coordinator
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balletLORENT – Dance Theatre for Families

Dancers in Rumpelskiltskin leap into the air with ribbons

Rumpelstiltskin, 2017. Image cr. Bill Cooper

Winners of the Fantastic for Families Audience Choice Award 2019, the work of balletLORENT is going down a treat with audiences young and old. We spoke to Artistic Director Liv Lorent MBE about creating exciting and inclusive work for all ages.

For balletLORENT making dance theatre for families is a fantastic opportunity to create authentic, egalitarian, welcoming work which communicates to audiences of differing ages, life experience, culture and education.

We cherish family work, and the joy of making productions that are unpretentious, and avoid industry “in jokes”. It’s about offering something to an audience that enhances their own experience, rather than show off how “clever we are”. It means presenting an Act One that isn’t too long. It means creating a theatrical experience that isn’t so fragile that it is shattered by a young audience member having to take a toilet break.

For balletLORENT’s dancers and collaborators it means working the show hard and keeping it fast moving, exciting and making sense so that boredom doesn’t trigger. It means our goal of inclusivity continues to grow, and we frequently put on relaxed performances that welcome neurodiverse audiences, those with dementia or babes in arms – without the expectation of complete stillness or silence. We are proud to be creating dance theatre suitable for SEND audiences that can be surprising and invigorating and doesn’t offer the expected, or repeat the cliché.

Fairytales have been a large part of the balletLORENT repertoire since Angelmoth – an original fairytale in 2006 which toured widely for 2 years. This was followed by our Grimm trilogy of RapunzelSnow White and Rumpelstiltskin. These classic tales gave us the chance to create dance stories that are relatable to audiences with an exciting cast of already recognisable characters and protagonists to root for. High production values and many theatrical elements ensure that each show is packed with visuals, light and costume, as well as specially composed music and narration to support the clarity of the choreographed storytelling.

 

Woman climbs a ladder in an enchanted forest

The Lost Happy Endings, 2020. Image cr. Bill Cooper

 

“What balletLORENT aims to offer its audience is an inviting take on an imperfect life.”

Our new show is The Lost Happy Endings and is Carol Ann Duffy’s original story of fairytale endings being stolen from their safekeeper – Jub – a forest dwelling girl with six fingers on each hand. She is a natural hero whose purpose is unravelled when her sack of happy endings is stolen and twenty fairytale characters have unexpectedly found themselves in need of new Happy Endings!

There is tragedy and comedy in the collapsing narrative of the fairytales, with a bewildered Snow White, Prince, Wolf, Hansel and Gretel and Pinocchio amongst others. And we relish Jub rewriting traditional expectation such as Princesses discovering ambitions beyond the love of a prince, and Pinocchio fulfilling his fibbing destiny…

“We all have to deal with real life chapters of adversity with courage and creativity.”

What balletLORENT aims to offer its audience is an inviting take on an imperfect life. There is honesty in our scenes of family bedtimes, and of parental despair when everything you try to pacify your child doesn’t work.

The children in the cast (aged between 6 and 11 years old) that join our professional dancers are vital to the story and enact the frustration and anger and upset of a storybook missing its happy ending. Together with audiences we have found that there is something wonderful about seeing children allowed to physicalise their dark emotions with as much nuance and integrity as adults. And they enjoy communicating this too!

In The Lost Happy Endings we love seeing Jub and her fellow fairytale characters pick themselves up and carry onward, learning to become inventive storytellers of their own lives. They represent all of us, young or old, who have to deal with real life chapters of adversity with courage and creativity.

 

Headshot of Liv Lorent

Image cr. Luke Waddington

Written by Liv Lorent MBE

Artistic Director of BalletLORENT, founded in 1993: the company creates dance theatre productions with a difference.

 

Applying for a Fantastic for Families Award

Organisations who list their events on the Fantastic for Families listings website will be eligible to self-nominate for a Fantastic for Families Award.

Awards are judged by a panel of experts and include votes from members of the public.

See the full category list and download the application form

 

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