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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Putting Audiences at the Centre: The Little Prince, Luca Silvestrini’s Protein

Fantastic for Families Award 2020 Case Studies

We’re pleased to bring you a series of Case Studies from this year’s Shortlisted Organisations for the Fantastic for Families Awards.

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein was one of the winners of the 2020 Best Family Event Award, for their production The Little Prince. We spoke to Luca Silvestrini, the company’s founder and Artistic Director, to find out how the work was created and how it has been received by families.

The Little Prince jumps in the air in front of a set of giant white boulders

Protein’s adaptation of The Little Prince comes from the desire of convening the whole family around a significant and iconic story for everyone; this nomination is the best validation of all our creative and touring efforts. I take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the production and Fantastic for Families for their consideration.

When I was presented with the idea of a new family show based on a well-known story, I immediately thought of one of my favourite books, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s a unique tale, a meaningful and poignant story about love, friendship and loss; about children versus adults, about the things that really count in life. I was tamed by this story when I was a young teenager and revisited it throughout my adult life; staging this timeless children’s book for adults, and adult book for children, has proved fascinating and hugely rewarding.

Research

Each time I start the making of a new piece of choreographic work, I tend to ask myself how people might feel or think about a subject matter or theme. Even before rehearsal start, I feel the urge of confronting my ideas with those of the public.

When approaching The Little Prince, I felt even more compelled to dissect and test the story with both children and their grown-ups. During action research workshops for the whole family, I played with characters and bits of the story directly with our future audiences; I was particularly keen in understanding what a child would understand about taming and being tamed, about caring for a rose, about seeing through your heart. I was also curious to see how they’d engage with themes like leaving home, visiting other planets, longing to return etc.

Drawing material collected during these sessions, and the experience of seeing the level of engagement reached by both children and adults through dance and theatricality, was truly informative and supported the making of the work.

Learning

Working with an existing narrative, and adapting a complex story that constantly moves between past and present proved to be challenging. We faced issues around the relationship between spoken words and the purely visual and physical; the ‘clarifying’ not ‘simplifying’ the vocabulary for young audiences; the timing children might need to take in some of the bigger ‘meanings’ of the story and crucially how can an intricate story be condensed and delivered in just over an hour without being simplified or hurried up. All the designers, from costume and set to music, from video animation to lighting, joined me and the performers in scrutinizing and adapting the story with immense creativity and loyalty to the story. We ended up with a fun, surprising and well balanced mix of text, songs, music, physical comedy and both theatrical and video imagery.

Adapting the work for different audiences

Adapting Protein productions to suit different contexts is a treasured aspect of our artistic programme and inspires new ways of working for me. I am passionate and committed to take work where people are and this is why we partnered with National Rural Dance Initiative to create a pared down, smaller version of The Little Prince. With a simpler design, but aiming at retaining its full magic, we successfully toured it to village halls and community centres around the country. The intimacy of the venues, and the opportunity to connect directly with a smaller audience, have actually made the show even more interactive, allowing the performers to further develop their characters.

The Little Prince was a truly memorable and possibly life changing experience, brilliant in every way. A privilege to see. So thank you. I didn’t really want to leave their magical world” Rural tour audience member

We also made an interactive workshop with mini performances for primary schools hosted by libraries.

Developments for the future

Protein are keen to explore audio versions for the show; this could be a good way to connect with audiences through the Covid Pandemic and social distancing. We are also keen to develop partnerships with alternative venues, perhaps outdoor events and when theatre’s open, complete our rescheduled tour.

It really was extraordinary! Incredible costume, dance, song, acting, casting, lighting, props, characterisation and script. It really has it all. There were people in tears coming out mesmerised.” – Audience member

Luca Silvestrini, Artistic Director of Luca Silvestrini’s Protein

Protein is one of the most distinctive voices in British dance theatre, Artistic Director and founder Luca Silvestrini has been using a blend of original choreography, text, humour and music to entertain and provoke audiences since 1998.

We believe in bringing the audience closer, inviting them to connect with what’s happening on stage, whether through subject matter, location, or the way performers directly address the audience bridging the divide between watching and participating.

To find out more visit proteindance.co.uk

Images cr. Jane Hobson

Find more Case Studies from the Fantastic For Families Awards Shortlist >

Add your event listings to the Fantastic for Families website >

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