MyTheatreMates are delighted to champion The Albany and ARC Stockton’s major new initiative to make theatre freely accessible to local children in south London. The #EveryChildTheatre campaign has already attracted Theatreland support from patrons including Jude Law and Noma Dumezweni. Can you help out too? Read more and consider donating to the scheme’s Crowdfunding initiative. They have until 4 August 2017 to meet their target of £10,000!
A Theatre Trip for Every Child is a new giving scheme to provide a free theatre ticket for every 5-year-old in the Borough of Lewisham and in Stockton-on-Tees. ‘Every Child’ enables businesses and individuals to give a child living and going to school in their local area the chance to experience the magic of theatre.
The campaign will be launched at parallel events in both areas on 23 June 2017 thanks to funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England.
Lewisham is one of the 25 local authority areas in England where poverty and deprivation were found to be greatest with child poverty effecting 34% of children. Child poverty has increased in north east England in recent years and 26% of children were living in poverty in 2013. Those on the tightest budgets often have least access to opportunities in and that includes experiencing arts and culture.
A Theatre Trip for Every Child is a response to this, aimed at improving access to the arts for all children from an early age.
Gavin Barlow, Chief Executive at the Albany said: “We are passionate about every child having the chance to enjoy high quality theatre in their local area. Early access to the arts contributes significantly to a child’s development, sparking their curiosity and giving them new perspectives on the world. We believe very child should have the opportunity to benefit from that experience.”
Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive at ARC, Stockton Arts Centre, added: “Giving children access to incredible arts experiences on their doorsteps creates a sense of possibility and a very special sense of place locally. Discovering the thrill of theatre at an early age is inspirational for many children as they grow and develop, and life changing for some.”
The Lewisham campaign is supporting by founding sponsors L&Q and patrons, actors Jude Law and Olivier Award winner Noma Dumezweni.
Dumezweni is a Lewisham resident and award winning actress who most recently starred as Hermione Granger in the West End stage adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The Albany is delighted to have an actress with such a wealth of theatrical experience supporting the project.
Noma Dumezweni commented:
“As a Lewisham resident, I am delighted to support this vital initiative, investing not only in the future of young people, but the future of the arts. These youngsters are the leaders, audiences and artists of tomorrow. I know the power of theatre and to pass that power on to the people who matter the most is a thrilling opportunity.”
Law’s multi-award-winning acting career on TV, film and stage spans three decades. The Albany feel his exceptional talent and versatility, from leading roles performing Shakespeare in the West End to playing the Pope and Dr Watson, make him a perfect exemplar for the power of the arts.
Jude Law commented:
“I am delighted to support this terrific initiative, which has the potential to positively impact the lives of young children in Lewisham. It is crucial for the future of our communities that we find creative ways to nurture and support the next generation. Theatre has the power to inspire children and we must encourage them to follow their dreams, no matter how big.”
A donation of just £10 enables a child to experience world-class theatre at their local venue and, contributes to making the whole area a healthier and happier place to live, work and play. There are opportunities to support a whole class, year or even a postcode to experience the magic of theatre.
About the theatres
The Albany is a performing arts centre with a history stretching back to the nineteenth century. Over the last few years, it has emerged as a new type of arts venue, driven by the cultural diversity and creative mix of south east London. Involving people, through participation and partnerships, is central to our work and is essential to the delivery of our vision.
The Albany has re-established itself as a significant London arts venue, building on a reputation as a home and seeding ground for creative development in the performing arts. Our programme encompasses a range of music, theatre and spoken word, as well as an array of participatory projects. The Albany has a year-round focus on family audiences for children of all ages, with an annual audience of over 15,000. We present regular Family Sundays focused on theatre for under 7s, self-produced Disco Kids events, holiday activities and a four-week run at Christmas, as well as work at our sister venues Deptford Lounge and Canada Water Culture Space.
ARC Stockton is committed to supporting and improving the amount and quality of artistic work being made in the North and is the artist development hub for the North East region. We deliver a comprehensive programme of artist development, primarily aimed at drama, dance and spoken word artists. ARC’s artistic policy is to present work that is contemporary and relevant. By that, we mean we want to show work that helps us understand and enjoy the world as it is today. We want to look forward, to excite our audiences about the future. ARC’s family programme is mainly focused on work for under 7s, with some work for 8-12 year olds. As well as an extended run for ages 3+ at Christmas, we present theatre, dance and puppetry performances for younger audiences on Saturdays approximately once a month.