MishMash: How we won the Best Family Welcome award

MishMash Productions is a national leader in producing, promoting and touring exciting music led productions for young audiences.  Formed in 2014 we believe in making music more accessible using the magic of theatre to create bold, imaginative productions for children and families.

Our previous production Hubbub: A Musical Adventure received a Highly Commended in the 2016 Get Creative Family Arts Festival so we were absolutely thrilled to go one better and win the Best Family Welcome Award, a category covering a family’s overall experience of their visit, in the 2018 Fantastic for Families Awards for Smile.

Told through magical, theatrical chamber music and performed by exceptional classical musicians, Smile takes the audience on a delightful musical adventure.  Aimed at children aged 3 – 6 and their families or schools the show is based on the beautiful book Augustus and His Smile, written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner and published by Little Tiger Press.

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Smile was developed in collaboration with Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries and initially toured libraries across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire in 2017 before a national tour in autumn 2018 and spring 2019.  The Best Family Welcome award definitely helped raise awareness of our work and the unique connection we make with new audiences and gave confidence to the venues booking the tour that they were getting a quality show!  Selling classical chamber music to children and families can be quite a task so to be able to demonstrate the quality of our production with such a widely recognised award was great.

Smile is a uniquely magical show as it uses a variety of chamber music, from Bach to Bartok, to tell the story of Augustus.  The music and the musicians combine with intuitive design and direction to bring the story to life in a small and intimate setting bringing the audience within touching distance of our ensemble.  The music is 100% memorised enabling our performers to create an intimate connection with the children as they climb the tallest trees and swim with magical flying fish in search of that elusive smile.

Reaction from audiences and professionals alike has been fantastic and given us the confidence to continue developing work in this way:

‘The interactive moments were so skilfully woven into the piece so as not to interrupt or suspend the story but as to bring the children further into the different moments. The performers were delightful and the music was totally mesmerising.’ Manya Benenson, Nottingham Playhouse

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‘I think you’ve done such a wonderful thing with my book.  Taking it to a whole new audience, interpreting the story and illustrations in ways I’d never even dreamt about.  You are a truly gifted team and I feel incredibly honoured that you worked your magic on one of my stories.’ Catherine Rayner, Author and Illustrator of Augustus and His Smile

‘Absolutely stunning.  An incredible performance.  A perfect way to introduce young children to classical music.’ Audience Member

‘Intense, emotional and stunning.’ Audience Member

We continue to work closely with Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries and the other Smile partners – Nottingham City Council Library Service, Nottingham Music Hub, Nottinghamshire Music Hub and Nottingham Lakeside Arts – and are hoping to have a new show touring libraries in May/June 2019 as well as re-mounting Hubbub for Music Hubs in 2019/2020.

Apply for an Award

Entry for the Fantastic for Families awards open until 12pm Friday 7th December 2018.
Venues, companies and artists can self-nominate by completing the application form. Find out more here.


21 November 2018