Project information

Mousetrap Summer of Theatre

Over the summer holidays we will provide families and young people with opportunities to attend London's fantastic world-class theatre and engage with it in creative ways. These opportunities will be offered to families on low-incomes, families with children with special needs and youth groups.

July 2016 - August 2016

Charity information: Mousetrap Theatre Projects

Mousetrap Theatre Projects logo
  • Need


    1. The cost of London theatre tickets is prohibitive for many London families, plus a sense that it’s ‘not for us’. The recent Warwick Commission report noted that children from low-income families are less likely to experience family engagement in cultural activities.
    2. Families with children with special needs rarely experience family outings together tailored to accommodate their child's needs
    3. Outside of term time teenagers need a positive activity to fill their days constructively.


    1. We will offer £6 tickets to a range of West End shows to families on low-incomes, reaching them via social service agencies, housing associations, charities etc, plus family workshops to a selection of shows. We will provide extra support and information to give them the confidence to attend.
    2. We will offer one 'relaxed performance', where there is no usual theatre etiquette of sitting still and quietly.
    3. Our performing arts summer-school, including a theatre trip.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide 600 families (approx 1,400 children) with their first theatre experience together.


    » Offer highly subsidised theatre trips to approx 25 West End shows, at £6 per ticket to families who would not otherwise be able to go.
    » We confirm bookings by phone to every family, supply detailed information on how to get to the theatre, a synopsis of the show, cost of icecream etc.

    We will monitor the take-up in each London borough and conduct a post-project survey of families on their experience.

    Aim 2

    Encouraging future theatregoing as a family and the young people as individuals


    » Each participating family goes onto our database to receive further ticket offers throughout the year to a range of theatre, dance, opera etc.
    » We encourage teenage family members to join our theatregoing club for 15-18 yr olds, to make theatre an ongoing, inspiring part of their lives.

    One of the survey questions asks if their summer theatre trip has encouraged them to attend again. We will monitor take-up where possible of the subsequent theatre offers.

    Aim 3

    Provide children with special needs with a positive family experience.


    » A relaxed performance with families in the same situation removes concerns about their child's behaviour disrupting others, being stared at etc.
    » We price tickets at £2.50 - £20, so that the many families on low incomes, often as a result of caring for their child, can attend.
    » The removal of theatre etiquette, alterations to sound effects & lighting, makes for a stress-free environment for the children and their parents.

    The event itself will bear witness to the experience for all the families, plus a post-event online survey asking for detailed feedback.

    Aim 4

    Provide a week of positive activity which develops confidence and broadens horizons.


    » The summer school includes a theatre trip to a top show. For many this is their 1st theatre experience and 1st time into the West End of London.
    » The 2-week school (different cohort each week) offers drama, dance and music workshops, culminating in a performance for family and friends
    » Working with theatre professionals and the theatre trip is inspiring, opening the young people's minds to life beyond their day to day environment.

    Participants will be entered into the Bronze Arts Award, for which they will produce a portfolio of work. We will also seek feedback from them, their parents/carer/youth leader.

  • Impact


    We recently conducted a longitudinal study of families who participated in our summer theatre programme over the last 10 years, which clearly demonstrated the positive effect it has on their and their children's subsequent arts engagement.

    Our pioneering drive for relaxed performances (RPs) in the West End, has resulted in more theatre producers willing to offer them for us to manage, or themselves (often consulting us for our expertise). RPs will no doubt become more common in future.


    The main risk is that theatre producers might not offer us enough tickets or at a price we can afford. We mitigate this risk by nurturing good relationships with all London's theatre producers, marketing companies and venues.


    We will create written reports summarising the results of the post-project surveys, feedback and our own observations, experience and monitoring.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £90,400

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £27,300 Family summer programme approx 3,000 tickets, less contribution from families, workshop fees & marketing
      £25,000 Programme management Salaries of family programme manager and assistant
      £7,900 Relaxed performance costs Buying the house and marketing, less contribution from families
      £5,500 Relaxed perf. management Salaries of programme manager
      £7,500 Summer school Theatre tix, director, workshop leader fees, programe manager, less contribution from participants
      £5,500 Summer school Salaries of summer school manager and assistant
      £11,700 Support costs Portion of MTP support costs attributed to summer projects

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Grant making trusts £30,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    West End theatres and drama workshop spaces in central London.


    Summer family theatregoing is for London low-income families.

    The relaxed performance is for children with special needs & their families, many of them on low incomes.

    Summer school is for young Londoners who have participated in our Stagexchange projects in the past year (Stagexchange is for youth groups serving disadvantaged young people such as deprived communities, vulnerable, at risk groups, young carers, refugees) and past participants of our summer family theatregoing project.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have vast amounts of experience, having been running our family summer theatregoing for 16 years. We were one of the first organisations to offer relaxed performances and the first in the West End. We have superb relationships across the theatre industry enabling us to secure the tickets we need, the support of the theatres and their staff and the expertise of top theatre practitioners to run our workshops and the summer school.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Katherine Usher

    Programme Manager, responsible for our relaxed performances

    Elaine Grant

    Programme Manager, responsible for our summer family theatregoing programme

    Jenny Ball

    Programme Manager, responsible for the summer school and the StageXchange programme that feeds into it.

    Ellie Shaw

    Programme Administrator - assisting the above named managers.

It was great to go as a family and see our 3 children enjoying themselves and looking happy!

Mother participant in summer family theatregoing