Touring East Midlands Libraries

Among Ideal Friends

Among Ideal Friends is a touring performance project developed by The Spark Arts for Children in partnership with Libraries in the East Midlands. Working together to deliver and transport high quality family theatre performances and workshop activities, inspired by books and stories for children, families and schools, alongside training for library staff and community volunteers.

The consortium is a partnership between, The Spark Arts for Children, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Rutland County Council, Nottingham City Council, Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries.

The consortium's objectives are to; support the development of libraries as Artsmark Partners supporting schools and making a contribution to Cultural Education Partnerships locally and to introduce new audiences to great work for children, schools and families.

With funding from Arts Council's National Lottery supported Strategic Touring programme Among Ideal Friends will tour family theatre in libraries between Summer 2018 & Summer 2020.

Click for more information on phase one, to read the Executive Summary, download the Evaluation report and to see our Marvellous Marketing resource.

Current Production

Touring November 2019.

Graeae Theatre Company and The Spark Arts for Children presents The Iron Man

Ted Hughes' classic modern-day fable of a giant Iron robot and the fearless courage of a young boy named Hogarth is a beautiful tale about friendship, understanding and tolerance. This new adaptation by award-winning writer Paul Sirett is brought to magical and compelling life by Graeae Theatre Company; created speci´Čücally for school audiences, performed in local library settings.

Featuring captivating puppetry and playful storytelling this production also integrates British Sign Language and audio description into every performance.

Adapted from the original work by Ted Hughes, published by Faber & Faber, with thanks to the Estate of Ted Hughes.


Mon 11/11 Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre
Tue 12/11 The BRITE Centre
Wed 13/11 St Barnabas Library
Thu 14/11 Pork Pie Library / Wigston Library
Fri 15/11 Loughborough Library

Mon 18/11 Hinckley Library
Tue 19/11 Oakham Library
Wed 20/11 Nottingham Central Library
Thu 21/11 Radford-Lenton Library
Fri 22/11 Billborough Library

Mon 25/11 Beeston Library / Bulwell Riverside Library
Tue 26/11 Mansfield Library
Wed 27/11 Workshop Library
Thu 28/11 Sutton Library

Among Ideal Friends Phase Two

The Girl of Ink and Stars at St Barnabas Library

Toured Summer 2019

The Girl of Ink and Stars A new play by Satinder Chohan, based on the book by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Presented by The Spark Arts for Children in association with Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries

'Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped. When a girl from the village disappears, Isabella and her lifelong friend Pablo go in search of her.'

A tale of maps, myth and monsters for ages 7+ and their families

Toured April 2019.

Mashi Theatre presents "Stripey Honey... is very yummy"

A colourful and touching story, with music, song, dance and puppets, of tigers, bees and honey collectors learning to live and play together.

Watch the show trailer on You Tube

Toured November 2018.

The First a play for school groups based on the global events of World War I, told from the perspective of two boys from a small town in the East Midlands.

Toured Summer 2018

The Gingerbread Man presented by The Spark Arts for Children, Hiccup Theatre in association with Derby Theatre,

'Chase after our cheeky gingerbread hero as he sets off on the biggest adventure of his life! Out of the Kitchen, through the town, across the fields and all the way to the river….. Now if he could just avoid that sly old fox!'