Theatre’s royal seal of approval for work

Derby Theatre has been named as one of only eight arts venues in the UK to have been selected by HRH The Prince of Wales’ charity, The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts, to participate in its 2013/2014 Start programme.

Start, now in its seventh year, gives those arts venues judged to have exciting and imaginative projects and clear determination and passion to deliver work to new audiences, the vital funding and specialist support to run long-term, high-quality arts projects with children from their local schools.

The Start programme is designed to reach children from social and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who have very little experience of high quality arts activities and who would benefit most from early intervention in order to unlock their potential.

In the seven years that Start has been running, Children & the Arts has helped create opportunities for more than 104,000 children. The success of the programme is due to the long-term partnership it forges between local arts venues and schools that lasts far beyond the lifespan of each individual project.

As a result of Derby Theatre’s successful bid, Start will give local youngsters the means and motivation to take their children to see inspirational performances and teachers will be provided with the training and resources they need to use the arts comfortably in the classroom.

Equally, Start will also give the children a new environment – which is neither the classroom nor the home – in which they will be able to find new experiences and new ways to express their ideas and personalities.

It will help children to develop vital skills such as confidence and self-esteem, communication, self-expression and analysis which can actively improve their academic attainment across the curriculum.

Through Start, each child will experience two professional performances over a year and have the exciting opportunity to go behind the scenes to meet artists, directors, technicians, actors, choreographers and other performers.

Caroline Barth, head of learning at Derby Theatre, said: “The Start funding enables us to develop a really meaningful relationship with our partner schools over the next three years and ties in perfectly with our ‘how we do learn from this’ ethos as a Learning Theatre .

“We have the opportunity to do something really special with the young people involved.

“We want to include their ideas from the beginning, to enable this project to become one of those memorable learning experiences that the young people involved in will take with them forever.”