Project information

The Spark Children’s Arts Festival

The Spark Children’s Arts Festival introduces children to creative experiences to inspire and motivate them to be the best they can be. It strives to enhance their quality of life by providing exciting, entertaining and educational experiences that have a lasting and transformational effect on them

May 2011 - June 2011

Charity information: The Spark Arts for Children

The Spark Arts for Children logo
  • Need


    The Spark Festival was founded because children in Leicester were not benefiting from the rich stream of arts experiences available, with no funded company touring regularly, and venues only including performances for children at Christmas and Easter. Leicester has significant economic and social problems, and low educational attainment. In most challenged areas, 90% of children are from homes where English is the second language, leading to social isolation. Access for all is important


    The Spark Festival will include high quality events by artists and practitioners from all over the world. The Festival Director will seek activities that will entertain and have real wide ranging educational value, support and inspire teachers and engage, challenge and inspire children. The education programme is provided to schools located in deprived areas. Access will be central. The Festival will maintain current partnerships and extend partnership working by finding new partners

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    • Enhance the quality of life of children by providing accessible, exciting arts experiences


    » • A programme of high quality arts events in theatre venues with around 20 performances for schools and family audiences (In Your Theatre)

    Success will be...
    A high level of positive feedback about the quality of events for participants in The Festival 2011 (via venues feedback initiative/website comments/twitter)

    Aim 2

    • Inspire children to learn skills, develop new talents, lift their aspirations, think creatively


    » • A schools programme of around 20 performances and workshops. Last year, 14 of the 17 events in this programme were in schools in deprived areas

    Success will be...
    Involving at least 20 schools in Festival activity and collecting feedback from children and teachers

    Aim 3

    • Enhance community cohesion by placing arts events in unusual spaces for people of all backgrounds


    » • A low cost, local, accessible programme called In Your Theatre taking around 10 performances to family audiences in public places and spaces

    Success will be...
    High attendance at family events and those in parks and public spaces. Positive feedback via questionnaires and website.

    Aim 4

    • Maintain successful partnerships and extend partnership working to the benefit of children


    » • Extend partnership working to increase activity and access (e.g. Pre-school Learning Alliance, NHS, venues, schools, funders and sponsors)

    Success will be...
    Maintaining relationships with current partners and achieving at least 4 new partners

    Aim 5

    • Programme high quality events by artists and practitioners from around the world


    » Research children's work by local, regional, national and international artists in order to find high quality events for the Festival programme.

    Success will be...
    At least three international artists or visiting companies as part of the programme

  • Impact


    The Festival will engage children with arts experiences with which they may not otherwise connect. It will provide entertainment, thought provoking shows and interactive events that will bond families through shared experiences. The Festival will work with artists and children’s organisations, to involve and inspire the next generation.

    We will measure success through feedback from participants and by maintaining Festival attendance of 14,000


    The economic climate could cause risk to The Festival. Current partnerships mean The Spark Children’s Arts Festival 2011 could go ahead at a higher level of programming than outlined in this project form, but we have dealt with this risk by planning a reduction in the number of activities in the programme and by maintaining a target of 14,000 attendees rather than planning for a growth increase as in past years


    Funding organisations will receive evaluation reports. Sponsors will receive a partnership report and a general Festival report. De-brief meetings will be held with sponsors. The Festival will keep in touch with sponsors through the planning phase with regular calls and meetings

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £55,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Launch Activity 3 days of arts activity in city centre - shows and workshops
      £21,000 School programme Around 20 shows and workshops in schools
      £22,000 Main programme 20 performances in venues and public spaces
      £7,000 Family Events Around 5 interactive events for children and their families
  • Background


    Leicester has significant economic and social problems and is in the bottom 10 of the national league tables of GCSE and A level grades. In the indices of multiple deprivation, 26 of Leicester’s 28 wards are in the worst 50% in the UK. 13 are in the worst 10%. About 25% of children have free school meals. 90% of children are from homes where English is the second language. Leicester has around 731,000 inhabitants. The E. Midlands receive the least sponsorship of all the regions in the UK (A & B)


    Leicester city and county children aged 0 – 13 participating in the school education programme. The Spark Festival strives to seek ‘hard to reach’ children. In previous years, 14 of the 17 events in this programme were in schools in deprived areas.

    Family interactive events and Festival shows bring families together to enjoy shared experiences and to create things together.

    Teachers benefit through CPD projects that offer access to shows and workshops led by creative professionals.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Spark Festival has 8 years experience of running this event growing it from a 7 day Festival to an organisation that works all year round and offers a yearly 2 week Festival that has become the biggest of its kind in the UK. It has gained the trust of a wide range of partners – artists, venues, schools and businesses. They all contribute to the success of this project. The Festival team leads a project with a fine reputation for high quality and sound management

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ellen Bianchini Festival Director

    Ellen founded the project after she led the Outreach Dept at Leicester Haymarket for 8 years. Her knowledge and talent are key to achieving our aims

    Harriet Roy

    Harriet is an exceptional and creative administrator/manager, with 15 years experience as Production Manager at the Haymarket Theatre to draw upon too

    Maya Biswas

    Festival Marketing Manager for 7 years, she is hugely skilled at promoting the Festival. She also has 15 years experience as a project manager.

    Patricia Kelly

    Development Manager since 2005 with 15 years experience of fundraising and sponsorship. Her enthusiasm for the Festival is contagious