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:

Matthew Swann(Interim chair) Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
Sebastian CaterHead of UK Theatre and Workforce Development, 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
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
Paula OrrellDirector, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Frederick HopkinsHead of Business Development and Membership, One Dance UK
Sarah Mears and Liz McMillanProgramme Manager, Libraries Connected / Libraries and Culture Services Manager, Slough Borough Council 


Central co-ordination team:

Anna DeverHead of Campaign
Rukhsana JahangirCampaign Manager
Sophie EvansDigital Marketing Manager
Daniela GerstmannDigital Marketing Officer

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Sonia Sabri Company on how they brought a diverse community together

Sonia Sabri Company has made this year’s shortlist for our Best Family Event Award for Lok Virsa at Birmingham Hippodrome. Here they tell us how this family-friendly festival brought a diverse community together.

We are so thrilled to have been nominated in the Best Family Event category in this year’s Fantastic for Families Awards 2020. This award recognises the very best family events which took place over the previous year, with genuine appeal and suitability for different age groups attending or participating together. We have been nominated for our family-friendly festival “Lok Virsa”, which took place at the Birmingham Hippodrome in 2019.

Lok Virsa is a one-day arts festival or ‘mela’ of free arts and crafts activities, storytelling and spoken word performances as well as pop-up performances for all the family and was a fantastic day full of fun and energy last March.  We are a very small organisation with huge ambitions so to be recognised alongside such prestigious organisations and venues is very gratifying. We also feel that especially in the current climate, arts needs to represent the diverse communities in this country and education through arts is vital to understanding racial and religious differences.

We are UK’s leading South Asian dance and music companies in the UK, renowned for dazzling, lively performances created by Directors Sonia Sabri and Sarvar Sabri. The company has an international reputation for presenting Kathak dance and Indian inspired music in a contemporary context, without diluting its integrity.  The company creates work relevant to modern audiences, that is inspired by Eastern and Western cultures, and the rich possibilities that arise when they meet.

Covid-19 has challenged us as an organisation as we are dependent on performances and we also run popular music and dance classes.  We quickly adapted to the “new normal” and set up music and dance classes via zoom. We are looking forward to a new term of classes this Autumn for ages 7 upwards. Full details can be found on our website.

Whilst we have been unable to perform or tour, we have utilised all media platforms to stream content including student performances, Instagram live interviews and family storytelling workshops.

We continue to be innovative in bringing music and dance to as wide an audience as possible and are looking forward to a summer of virtual family workshops and dance masterclasses taking place this August.  Full details are available on our Facebook events page.

We also have a fun family dance show “Same Same … But Different” that had a hugely successful autumn tour around the country, performing in large theatres, small rural venues, primary schools and libraries.  “Same Same…But Different” is a family show, mixing Kathak, Hip Hop dance, contemporary dance, hints of live music and physical storytelling, to create a playful and colourful world, exploring our curiosities and fears, the times we feel different and when we belong.

Three dancers with outstretched hands, wearing dungarees

“*****(5 Stars) Same Same…But Different is a really special show which brings together audiences despite their own differences. Not only is it hugely entertaining but it has a really powerful message at its core. A message that is delivered through the common language of dance.” The Family Stage blog

“There really was a very powerful message of ‘it’s okay to be the same and it’s okay to be different’ – we are all the same, but differences should be celebrated!” Vicki Rainbow Taylor, Relaxed Performance Review 

“Incredibly enjoyable to watch with brilliant dancers, setting and choreography […] It is something I would like to see again.” Audience Member

“One of the most amazing performances I have ever seen.” Audience Member 

“My boys belly laughed throughout […] I found the performance really emotional in a world where difference can be seen as a threat Same Same But Different celebrated the differences and highlighted the similarities. A real must see!” Family Fun In Brum blog 

We cannot wait to be able to bring this show back on tour as soon as it is safe to do so. To be the first to find out when we’re back, you can subscribe to our mailing list or find us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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