Hull Libraries (part of Hull Culture and Leisure Ltd)


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Hull Libraries (part of Hull Culture and Leisure Ltd)

Performance arts programme at The Big Malarkey Festival

We are requesting £7480 funding from the I Am fund to support a theatre, music, dance and puppetry programme within The Big Malarkey Festival 2020, to inspire participation and improve the experience of performing arts for 2000 children and young people in Hull.

Funded to date: £0
£7,480 needed to reach goal of £7,480
0% funded
Finished on 13-01-2020

1. Background information - what is The Big Malarkey Festival?

The Big Malarkey is Hull Libraries' festival for children and young people. Its aims are:

  • to engage children, young people, families and schools with Hull Libraries' rich and varied offer
  • to encourage reading for pleasure, through the power of meeting authors, illustrators, performers, artists and makers
  • to develop creative, cognitive and expressive skills and confidence, through practical workshops

The Festival was launched in 2017 as part of Hull UK City of Culture, and over the past three years has attracted nearly 20000 people with over 200 events for families, and 90 for schools audiences. It takes place in a colourful village of tents in Hull's East Park.

The festival is entirely designed and programmed for children aged 0-16 years. It will consist of

  • two days of celebration and voting at the James Reckitt Hull Children's Book Awards (23-24 June)
  • a three day programme for schools and nurseries (24-26 June)
  • a family weekend )27 - 28 June)

2. What we will do - the performing arts programme and the I Am Fund

The performing arts strand of the festival strongly supports the I Am Fund aims to connect your people to high quality live performance. We will present

  • 20 small scale performances and
  • 8 workshops for
  • 2000 children

Delivered by a wide range of local and national companies, these will include:

  • dance and movement workshops with Hull's Ten Foot Dance Company
  • music workshops with acoustic duo Mambo Jambo
  • theatre for early years with Mudpie Arts, Tutti Frutti Productions and Riverside Performing Arts
  • puppetry with Garlic Theatre and Hull's Liz Dorton

 The programme will inspire participation, both through its practical workshops developing skills in telling stories through music and movement, and in the highly interactive elements of the performances: audiences are invited to participate in the stories as they unfold and play their part in the character's dramas.

Overall, the programme will also improve experience, giving children opportunities to watch and listen to different kinds of performing art forms and meet performers. For many children who attend, the festival offers the very first formative experience of sitting in an audiences watching live theatre. This is powerful stuff and we make sure that het experience is an entirely positive one, with work appropriate to the age range, delivered in intimate settings of around 70 people.

3. Why is the festival necessary?

Feedback from schools and families shows that experiencing the festival is a powerful motivator for reading for pleasure. We believe this is a crucial issue in our city, where literacy standards are below the national average:

only 38.8% of children enter the reception year at school and the age and development typically expected of their age

9% of children in Hull do not own a book

26% of children in Hull own between 1-10 book

The  performing arts programme is an inspiring way of engaging children with stories , and offers a further means of creative self-expression and exploring other worlds for reluctant readers too. The Reading Agency Literature Review (2017) summarises the benefits of reading for pleasure, as an asset that will empower children long into their adult lives:

  • enjoyment
  • knowledge of the self and other people
  • social interaction
  • social and cultural capital
  • imagination, focus and flow, relaxation and mood regulation
  • improvements in communication abilities for early years children

4. Why is financial support needed?

Hull Libraries is receiving £100K from Arts Council England and the James Reckitt Library Trust towards delivering the festival in 2020. As an outdoor festival we incur high infrastructure costs of nearly £75K before any staffing, programming or marketing costs are taken into account.  We therefore have a fundraising target of £13500 to enable us to programme a broad range of high quality experiences. The performance art programme is key to that breadth, but is by nature more expensive to buy in than single authors or illustrators. Support from the I Am Fund would enable us to guarantee a rich, small scale programme.

We are working on income from business sponsorship for 2020. We achieved £6500K in cash sponsorship in 2019 which was an encouraging result for such a new festival. We aim to maintain this target for 2020.

5. Who organises the festival?

The festival is produced and delivered by Hull Library Service, with the support of a freelance Event Manager and Artist Liaison Manager. Ellen Bianchini, an experienced programmer of children's arts, is Festival Director and works with colleagues in and out of the Library Service to develop the programme. A steering group including primary and secondary teachers from Hull schools supports the operation. Technical management, stewarding and front of house is all managed by our libraries team, who bring their combined skills and knowledge to the delivery and marketing of the event. The festival thus becomes true 'shop window' for the libraries offer and many people join the Library over the course of the event.

Absolutely Cultured volunteers help with stewarding and site management, and Hull-based Home PR lead the press and media campaign in the lead up to the festival.

6. How do people know about the festival?

The schools programme is publicised via the Schools Library Service in February 2020 and schools book onto the programme via Eventbrite. The family weekend of the festival is launched in April with a city centre event and  is marketed through

  • 10000 full colour brochures for the family weekend, distributed widely across the city
  • bookmarks distributed to schools around East Park
  • Hull Libraries social media channels and the festival website
  • local bloggers such as Mumbler and Hull Bloggers
  • Banners around East Park
  • local and regional media

For more information , please see the festival website

reg number: 06455490 | Charity number: 1125856