Fantastic for Families Awards

Published: 9 January 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Two North East theatres, The Hullabaloo in Darlington and Sunderland Empire, have been shortlisted for Fantastic for Families Awards.

Voted for by a panel of expert judges from the creative sector, the Fantastic for Families Awards recognise the outstanding events that took place during 2018 and the exemplary family-friendly organisations and venues that welcomed families.

Awards have been given by The Family Arts Campaign, the national initiative funded by Arts Council England to connect families with cultural opportunities. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Liverpool on 11 February 2019.

The Hullabaloo, built within an Edwardian Fire Station on a site adjacent to Darlington's newly refurbished Darlington Hippodrome, celebrated its first anniversary in December last year. The venue presents performances for children, houses free creative play installations and offers a wide range of creative opportunities for families. Since opening, the venue has welcomed more than 18,000 children and their families to enjoy theatre and access the free creative play installations.

It has been shortlisted for the Best Family Venue Award for its contribution to arts and culture for families during the last year.

“We are delighted to be shortlisted for a national Fantastic for Families Award for Best Family Venue,” said Laura Case, Executive Director at Theatre Hullabaloo. “The venue design, build and overall offer has children and families at its heart, so to be recognised as excellent for our provision is wonderful news. Theatre Hullabaloo strongly believes that creativity should be part of everyone's childhood and the opening of The Hullabaloo has enabled that to become a reality for the thousands of children and families that visit and use the venue.”

Sunderland Empire has been shortlisted for Best Age-Friendly Welcome which recognises outstanding provision for older family members, including staff welcome, communication and the venue and its facilities in accommodating the needs of older people.

The Family Arts Campaign is a national Sector Support Organisation funded by Arts Council England to raise family engagement with arts and culture.

Since it began in 2012, it has focused on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of artistic work available to families
  • Increasing the quality of experience for families
  • Improving marketing to reach more families

It supports ACE National Portfolio Organisations, museums, libraries, community groups, individuals, and anyone else looking to better connect families with arts and culture.