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Join the Vital Spark movement!

Alongside the 20th Spark Festival, we’re hosting an intimate two-day programme for arts professionals.

Vital Spark events at Spark Festival 2023

The 20th Spark Festival is taking place from 13th -19h February. It will be taking over and transforming Leicester’s schools, favourite cultural venues, libraries and community centres. Children and artists will be side by side, making their voices heard as a positive force for good. Arts and creativity will be a tool for activism and discussion, and we will bring to the stage voices and stories that often go unheard.

As well as welcoming children and family audiences, we’re hosting a programme for arts professionals. It’s an opportunity for artists, programmers & producers to see the shows together, connect, experience great work and establish meaningful relationships, Central to all our work is the relationships The Spark has with artists through the Vital Spark Movement.

What is Vital Spark?

Vital Spark is a national movement placing diverse artists at its core. It’s our heart, it’s the centre of everything we do and makes us who we are.

Our journey with artists starts from a conversation, a place of building relationships, which might grow into a fully realised production or simply ideas waiting to be tapped into because at The Spark, children and young people are reflected and represented in all our work. Both in terms of the stories being told and the artists who tell those stories.

We work with partner organisations across the UK to create world class opportunities for artists and always pushing to challenge, provoke and change the sector and this year is no different!

This year we have been working with some amazing artists through our Ideas Fund and Artist Relationship programmes and during this year’s festival there are opportunities to meet them and find out more about their work and their ideas!

The IdeasFund

This unique opportunity allows artists to receive financial support and expertise towards the development of a new idea. We don’t ask for much, just that the new idea is bold, exciting and original. And this year is no exception, we’re supporting four artists and their bold ideas:

  • BaBa’s Musical Kitchen by Liga Orlovska & Iryna Muha. An exploration of Eastern European heritage Refilwe a southern African retelling of the children’s classic, Rapunzel by Bisola Alabi
  • When I Hear Music by Chad Taylor, a powerful hip-hop site-specific dance piece for schools
  • Benjamin “Longtime” Livingstone by Dave ‘Stickman’ Higgins, a time traveller archiving the memory books of people’s lives

During the festival we will be holding a Vital Spark Ignites event where you can get the opportunity to see early sharing of new projects, meet the artists and explore ways to connect with their work.

Artist Relationship Programme

The Artist Relationship programme is for artists with a passion and drive to create extraordinary art for children and families, to spend time learning, growing, and developing a relationship with us.

This year the programme included an Artist residential, training workshops, coaching and masterclasses alongside fantastic ‘go and see’ opportunities, and attending this year’s Spark Festival… and on top of all that the artists are paid for time to engage in the programme.

We had the joy to build relationships with Brigitte Aphrodite a punk poet, musician, Ashley Jordan (AJ) a dance artist, Naomi Joseph a theatre-maker, writer and actor and Siobhán Wedgeworth a Participatory Sensory Artist. They’ll all be holding their own unique event just for our intimate group of delegates.

Find out more

Upcoming events
Current artist opportunities