Among Ideal Friends

Among Ideal Friends is a theatre touring consortium developed by The Spark Arts for Children in partnership with libraries in the East Midlands.

Inspired by books and stories for children 5-11 years, the tour gave families and schools new opportunities to take part in arts and culture at venues on their doorstep.

Over an 18 month period, 5 seasons of theatre performances and workshops were held in libraries across the region; Leicester City, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire.

Almost 8,000 people attended 151 performances in 54 different libraries as part of the project. 1 in 5 had never seen a theatre show with their child before.

  • Among Ideal Friends - Evaluation Report Among Ideal Friends - Evaluation Report (PDF, 5.9 Mb)

    Project summary, research findings, conclusions and recommendations

  • Marvellous Marketing for Story Selling Marvellous Marketing for Story Selling (PDF, 2.3 Mb)

    Toolkit for front line library staff. Creative and practical ideas used during Among Ideal Friends that could be used to generate interest in library events. Written by Jayne Williams and Ideal Friends in libraries, neighbourhood centres, community groups with artists, writers, creators and theatre-makers.

With funding from Arts Council's National Lottery supported Strategic Touring programme Among Ideal Friends will continue to tour theatre in to libraries, starting Summer 2018.

2016 / 2017 PERFORMANCES

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat toured Summer 2016 to coincide with the libraries Summer Reading Challenge.

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 libraries throughout November 2016 to school groups.

Big Sister Little Brother a fun and fast-paced retelling of The Emperor's New Clothes by Mike Kenny. A great alternative Christmas show that toured libraries in December 2016 performing to both school and family groups.

Where the River Runs by Full House Theatre in association with Motionhouse, a dynamic and beautiful dance theatre performance that toured Spring 2017.

Sylvia South and the Word Catcher by Finegan Kruckemeyer. A new play full of imagination, adventure and surprise. Produced especially for libraries, commissioned by the Among ideal Friends touring network. Toured Summer 2017.

"At the heart of our communities libraries provide a safe and familiar space to engage in new experiences. Live theatre transform these familiar spaces – not because of extensive sets and special effects but because children (and adults) are swept away by the power of the performances.

The opportunities to watch and be part of a live show in an everyday space opens up the experience to many new children, families and schools in a way that not only broadens their cultural participation but also their creative curiosity."

Sarah Russell (Deputy Mayor, Leicester City Council)

"Libraries are an essential part of communities. They give us spaces to learn, explore and be creative, which is why we're pleased to be investing in The Spark Arts latest library tour. It will be a brilliant way for more families in the East Midlands to enjoy great theatre locally.

Peter Knott (Area Director, Arts Council Engkand)