About the 2012 Festival

Spark Playground at Curve

The 2012 festival was a landmark year for The Spark as we celebrated our 10 year journey to become the largest independent children's arts festival in England and Wales.

Changes took place as Ellen Bianchini, Festival Founder and Director 2003-2011, stepped down and Adel Al-Salloum was appointed as the new Director. Despite this change, the strength, passion and commitment of The Spark team enabled us to deliver staggering results for the celebratory 10th year.

The 2012 festival ran for 13 days from 28 May – 10 June 2012 and delivered a total of:

  • 147 events over 13 days
  • 23 arts companies
  • 46 performances & workshops in 18 schools, children centres and nurseries
  • 94 performances in 4 professional venues & 11 community centres including 2 museums, 2 libraries and a shopping centre

13,653 attended The Spark events as audiences & participants.

Our programming format enabled us to reach a broad range of children and families engaging them in high quality activity and cultural product through our three strands of work: In Your Theatre, At Your School, On Your Doorstep.

For the full Festival Report please download the PDF.

Highlights of the Festival

The Play-ground: The Spark's exciting 'festival hub' is based at Curve theatre. The hub serves as an information point for festival goers, and offers a unique opportunity for children to take over the space accessing high quality theatre product, free arts workshops & events and family friendly experiences.

Jump In Festival: Through our partnership with Lakeside Arts Centre & Deda we were able to grow the East Midlands Children's Theatre and Dance Consortium. With support from the Cultural Olympiad the consortium delivered a region-wide programme of international, truly great work for children and families.

Children & Young People: Taking children and young people into partnership as artists is an important part of our festival programme. Working with Leicester Arts &Museums Service we delivered Little Artists, an exhibition of art work by early years children from Leicester inspired by contemporary international artists.

The Spark creates and develops several projects aimed at increasing the engagement of children in Leicester. Projects include our annual Story Writing Competition with Whatever It Takes (WIT), Leicester City's campaign to encourage allchildren to read, and a new collaboration with Takeover Radio & BBC Radio Leicester – The Spark Newsroom.

Shiny: The development of professional work for children is a new departure for The Spark. The organisation offers strong artistic and administrative capabilities to assist in the creation of new work. In 2012 we were proud to be able to support local dance company Turned On Its Head in developing their new show Shiny in partnership with family centres across the city.

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