Making The Hub For Our Creativity
Mini Playhouse, Hastings
The arts provide a forum for creativity, freedom and exploration unlike anything else. But parents attending our workshop groups told us they lacked confidence when taking their babies and young children to a live performance. They would feel self-conscious if their child cried or they needed to move around, so much so that they would avoid the theatre completely.
Our previous national touring experience includes a number of family productions, where we have seen first-hand that spaces specifically designed for families are few and far between. These spaces were not geared toward holding a baby while keeping a toddler engaged, meaning parents couldn’t go alone, only with another adult - driving up the costs to families. A major gap exists where both parent and child could feel uninhibited and free to experience the arts comfortably.
Since having our own children, we learnt first-hand the importance of the arts for the cognitive, emotional and social development of our little ones. We have discovered the lack of appropriate facilities for this age group, especially in our home area of Hastings and St Leonards.
There are many wonderful companies doing early years work - what is missing is the space which puts both the child and parent centre stage, which truly responds to their needs, freeing them to comfortably enjoy the experience together.
Our vision for The Mini Playhouse is to create a destination for a whole new generation of theatre goers; reimagining programming for a younger audience and creating events which bring children, parents, and siblings together. A judgement-free space designed to immerse babies, toddlers and children in the magic of live performance, where crying, tantrums, crawling, moving about, and feeding were all expected and accepted.
We secured £29,000 for the overall development of this mini theatre from Arts Council England and £10,000 in investment from us as a company. We then crowdfunded a further £5,000 to help us over the finish line. After a pretty intense period of construction and renovations, Mini Playhouse opened in December 2022.