Issue 277

Reaching family audiences

Image of children upside down
Photo: Richard Kenworthy

‘Family-friendly’ might not be a term that David Brownlee likes very much, but he knows that venues and events have the potential to appeal much more to family audiences.

I’ve never liked the term ‘family friendly’, particularly in the context of the arts. It sounds compromised: the opposite of high-quality, innovative, challenging art. It seems to be saying “Don’t worry, it may be dull and unexciting but it’s safe to take the kids.” Of course this is deeply unfair and many arts organisations have been promoting some great work under the banner of ‘family friendly’ for decades. But it has also been the banner for tokenistic face-painting and many hours of...

Also in this feature

Image of Moominsummer Madness show

Peter Glanville is passionate that children’s theatre should be of the highest quality attracting the best actors and creative teams.

Image of family audience

Creating and producing family theatre has led Harper Ray to reconsider his audience and cast aside some misconceptions.

Photo: Vanessa Pike-Russell (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Image of children in letter

Kazzum stopped creating work for young audiences in indoor spaces to focus on the outdoor arts sector. Daryl Beeton explains why.

Photo: Steve Brown
Image of Clunk performers

When Terry O’Donovan presented his latest musical show as a work in progress to five year olds they looked bored. Now it’s a manic and absurd experience for all, just as he wanted it to be.

Photo: Ludovic des Cognets
Image of children in a Globe Educationworkshop

Patrick Spottiswoode outlines how the Globe Theatre in London is continuing a long tradition in adapting Shakespeare’s plays for the young.

Photo: Alex Harvey-Brown
Image of children in the Tempest workshop

Within the past year the RSC has integrated relaxed performances into its season planning. Jacqui O’Hanlon tells how this has come about.

Photo: Lucy Barriball
Image of young theatre audience

Hosting relaxed performances requires thorough staff training and partnership working to target audiences, say Karen Townsend and Zoë Briggs.

Image of clay modelling activity

Visual arts activities for young people are more important than ever, since the decline in the teaching of arts subjects in schools, says Jane Sillis.