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Project information

The Upfront mask, puppet and mime youth theater

To engage young local people, from a rural area with low arts provision, in creative activity and to develop technical theater skills, employment skills and self confidence in the process.
We will also develop and train talented young people to encourage them to work with our professional company.

January 2018 - December 2019

Charity information: Upfront Arts

Upfront Arts logo
  • Need


    Children and young people living in the local rural area have restricted access to arts facilities without long travel distances. The Eden District area is one of the least serviced by resources with a widely spread
    population.There is a need for a creative social hub in the area which involves people of all ages meeting and working together with a common aim and focus.
    There is a lack of highly qualified arts practitioners in the area working with local people in dedicated arts venues.


    We have built the first dedicated theater ever to have been constructed in Eden.
    We have an award wining and newly built, low carbon footprint, performance and arts venue.
    It is located in the country side. We have trained and experienced staff, led by our founder John Parkinson, He has an honors degree in Drama from Manchester and trained at The Design School of English National Opera. He brings a lifetimes experience of working in the theater and lecturing in performing arts to the project

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To create a dedicated youth theater project inspired by the art forms of mask mime and puppets.


    » We will devise and rehearse performances using mime and masks and puppets. we will learn how to perform to an audience and create productions
    » We will learn to design and make puppets, masks and costumes, as well as scenery for productions in our serviced on site workshops
    » We will learn about technical skills need for a production, including lighting, sound and stage management working in a professional theater.
    » We will learn the transferable business skills of event management and publicity and the handling of finances in relation to the performances.

    What success will look like

    The project will create productions which are both an artistic and social success. Audiences will witness the quality of the shows produced the company reputation will grow.

    Aim 2

    We will provide a social, creative and artistic hub for a wide section of a rural community


    » We provide a cafe as a local meeting place
    » We provide and stage varied talks attended by people from a wide and rural catchment area.
    » We stage a wide range of visiting puppet companies. music concerts and plays for our local audiences
    » We work in rural schools providing creative input, building interest in our work at the theate

    What success will look like

    Local people will cherish the resource and use it frequently. The number of youth theater participants will grow, along with the number of workshops and productions staged.

    Aim 3

    We will train young people with transferable skills and build their personal confidence.


    » The proposed young peoples theater project will allow them to organise and plan whole projects for which they will have direct responsibility.
    » Participants will learn to project voices and to have stage presence, They wil be introduced to music making and recording skills skills,
    » Participants will learn to work together and to manage and direct each other making personal views and ideas as a creative contribution to projects
    » Young people will learn about marketing, promotion and copy writing for press releases. They will learn how to best express creative ideas in words

    What success will look like

    More young people will go on into work or further education with confidence and more knowledge of their potential future employment possibilities.

  • Impact


    The project will bring continuity to previous activity with young people from the local area being more involved in the activities of the charity.
    More creative work ,devised by local young people will be presented. The project will train future performers designers and administrators for the company and will encourage then to remain to live and work in the area. We will establish a national reputation for our young company and the company work in general, we will perform at national festivals


    Their is a risk that not enough young people will engage with the project, or that too many will do.If demand is so great ,then more sessions will need to be provided, if not enough want to participate then our experience to date is invalid.
    The current director of the project ,who is a volunteer, will retire , a succession plan for this is in place.
    The range of skill in people applying will make it hard to provide an inclusive experience for every one, varied experiences will be offered.


    We will report through quarterly updates and minutes ,created by our board of directors.
    Young people will be appointed to the board to reflect their views and allow the to make input into governance. Our dedicated face book page will allow instant appraisal of our creative output.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £7,200 workshops /rehearsals 120 workshops and rehearsal sesssions at
      £1,000 Materials wood paint paper, glue nails screws cloth etc.
      £2,000 Visiting staff/artists Visiting performers and experts
      £1,800 General costs Admin , travel, insurance, building running costs
  • Background


    We are located in the middle of fields, next a a rural village on the edge of the lake District in Cumbria. We our local rural population is drawn from the northern fells of the lake district including rural farming villages and small rural schools.
    We are able to service the poorer areas of Carlisle with our out reach through in school activities We provide a first experience of live theater for many children who can travel to us within the confines of school time tables and finance.


    Young people living in the rural district around the venue. other older generations through cross generational activity. The general public will benefit from seeing productions. Schools and school teachers with a local well equipped resource.
    Tourists and the local economy will benefit from a resource which will be able able to train future potential performers and administrators for the company, thus raising it's standards.
    The art form of puppetry will have a resource for the future.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are in the right place and have worked for the last 15 years to establish and service a need in the rural community, We have designed raised funds for and built our own well resourced venue in an area with little or no provision and we have an artistic focus which makes our creative project unique.
    In 2015 we were awarded "Small Arts Venue of the Year" in Cumbria Life Cultural awards and "Tourism experience of the Year" fro Cumbria Tourist board.
    We have strong relationships with schools.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    John Parkinson

    Artistic director and creative visionary. He will direct workshops in performance design and making and relate the work to the professional company.

    Elaine Parkinson

    Educationalist and trained teacher. Puppeteer and business planner. Project planner with ref. to time tables and deadlines. Special needs experience.

    Paula Pattreson

    Costume designer, maker. Skill in costume design, cutting and making, experience of teaching students of all ages. Experience of wardrobe management.

    Alex Lyon

    Teacher of technical theater skills, lighting ,sound, stage management set building and prop making. Experience of event management and promotion