Project information

Theatre Trips for Schools and Families

Each year we bring 6,000 students from state secondary mainstream and special schools to see outstanding theatre for just £8 per ticket, supported by education resources, talks & workshops. We also buy out a top London show and provide discounted tickets to families with children with special needs.

December 2018 - August 2019

Charity information: Mousetrap Theatre Projects

Mousetrap Theatre Projects logo
  • Need


    For many families, arranging a trip to the theatre together is very difficult due to extremely expensive ticket prices. Schools have the opportunity to fill this cultural gap but squeezed budgets and curriculum pressures (e.g. the EBacc exclusion of creative subjects) mean they also struggle to provide this enriching experience. Families with children with special needs may also worry about how their child will behave in the theatre and feel unable to attend for fear of causing disruption.


    We provide top quality cultural outings at an affordable price. At only £8 per ticket, we charge far less than most theatres’ school group rates. We offer musicals, classic plays and contemporary drama, giving teachers access to a huge range of theatre, so they can choose something most suitable for their students' needs. We also buy out an entire London show and dispense with theatre etiquette and adapt sound & lighting to provide an accessible performance for young people with special needs.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To enable the most disadvantaged students to attend top London theatre.


    » Each term we send publicity material to all London state mainstream and special secondary schools offering tickets to a selection of shows for £8 each
    » We particularly target and give priority to schools with a high percentage of students on free school meals (FSM).

    What success will look like

    We assess the FSM % of applicant schools, together with other criteria such as poor local arts provision, to ensure we are reaching the most disadvantaged schools.

    Aim 2

    To provide an inspirational and educational experience.


    » We arrange a question and answer session with members of the cast or creative team who share their experiences on the production and their careers.
    » We commission a Teacher Resource Pack for productions with ideas for follow up classroom activities and further reading.
    » For special schools, we offer an in-school workshop to explore the themes and story of the show further.
    » For several productions, we offer a pre-show ‘Insight Session’ with creative professionals, to give students a deeper engagement with the production.

    What success will look like

    Teacher surveys will show how students responded to and benefited from their trip. Families will also provide feedback on their experience using surveys.

    Aim 3

    Build young people's life skills, broaden horizons and encourage social and cultural engagement


    » The theatre trip gives young people the chance to practice life skills such as going on public transport and appropriate behaviour in public spaces.
    » Rather than only going to their local theatre, we bring young people into central London - a new experience for many who lead very narrow lives.
    » We choose theatre productions carefully to show young people that theatre is relevant to them and not for other sections of society.
    » We create an environment where young people with special needs can enjoy theatre and see that this is an activity they don't have to be excluded from.

    What success will look like

    Teacher surveys will show the theatre trip's positive impact on students' aspirations and life skills. Families will write to say what the visit meant to them and their children.

    Aim 4

    To give families with children with special needs the opportunity to bond and have fun as a family.


    » We provide heavily discounted theatre tickets to our theatre takeover events so that the whole family can see the show without worrying about cost
    » We choose fun family shows - often musicals - which are engaging for everyone.
    » We provide pre-show workshops that families can take part in together before the performance.

    What success will look like

    Families will use surveys to indicate how they have benefited as a family.

  • Impact


    We encourage mainstream school students who come on our school theatre trips to join our theatregoing club, Theatrelive4£5. This scheme encourages young people to become independent theatregoers, attending without teachers or parents.

    Once schools have participated in our theatre access programmes, they move on to our other education programmes, giving students a longer, more in-depth education experience.

    Families feel able to attend the theatre together again in future.


    We rely on the goodwill of theatre producers, who offer us tickets at a greatly reduced rate. We need to raise the difference between the £8 paid by the participants and the price we pay for the tickets. There is a risk that theatre producers will reduce the discount they are willing to offer us. We mitigate this risk by fostering good relationships with producers, whilst also educating them about the work we do.


    We keep our donors closely connected to our work by sending reports on the particular projects they support and regular newsletters and emails reporting on the work of the charity as a whole. Where possible, we invite supporters to see the work for themselves.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £150,521

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £22,750 Theatre Takeover Buying out a whole performance, event costs (refreshments, signage, etc), marketing and admin
      £4,470 Theatre Takeover Staff salaries and support costs
      £12,000 Theatre Trips: Special Schools 800 tickets @ £15
      £5,511 Theatre Trips: Special Schools Drama practitioner fees to deliver workshops, workshop resources, marketing and administration
      £12,532 Theatre Trips: Special Schools Staff salaries and support costs
      £48,600 Theatre Trips: Main Schools 3,600 tickets @ average of £13.50
      £5,495 Theatre Trips: Main Schools Drama practitioner fees to deliver workshops, workshop resources, marketing and administration
      £39,163 Theatre Trips: Main Schools Staff and support costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Society of London Theatre £40,000 Conditional
    Trust donation £20,000 Conditional
    Earned income £10,000 Conditional
  • Background


    We offer theatre trips to schools and families across London. We particularly try to reach the outer boroughs of London where young people do not necessarily come into the West End and boroughs which have less arts provision locally.


    Families with young people with special needs & identified as experiencing disadvantage and around 4,500 young people of secondary school age will benefit over one year. Of these, 3,600 are from mainstream schools; priority is given to schools with a higher % of students on Free School Meals. The remaining 800 students will be from special schools, where economic disadvantage is also prevalent. In the last 3 years, 40% of students who have been on a theatre trip have received Free School Meals.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Whilst many theatres run education programmes, they are linked only to their own particular venue or productions. Being independent of any one particular theatre or producer, we are in a unique position to work with theatres across London and the West End and select productions that stimulate and inspire young people. We are not inhibited by box office revenue targets or what one venue has on offer in a particular term.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Elaine Grant

    She is one of MTPs full time programme managers, heading up our largest theatre access programmes for school and families.

    Jo Pelly

    She is one of MTPs part time programme managers, managing all our our work with young people with special needs and disabilities.

We chose pupil premium students so for most it was the first time at the theatre…it was a completely mind blowing experience – they did not know what the inside of a theatre looked like, they have such a culturally disadvantaged background that this alone was an important educational experience.

Teacher, Burntwood School