Two NE Fantastic for Families winners

Published: 12 February 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Fantastic for Families
The Hullabaloo Credit: Mark Savage
One of the community casts of Rumpelstiltskin Credit: Bill Cooper

A venue, Darlington’s The Hullabaloo, and a dance company, Newcastle-based balletLORENT, have won 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, exemplary family-friendly organisations and venues that welcomed families. The winners of the Awards, which are given by The Family Arts Campaign, the national initiative funded by Arts Council England to connect families with cultural opportunities, were announced at a ceremony at the Liverpool Everyman on 11 February 2019.

The Hullabaloo won the award for Best Family Venue. In announcing the award, the judges said, “The Hullabaloo has demonstrated excellence across the board with a popular, fully accessible, dedicated venue, strong awareness of diverse needs, and innovative activities. Not only does the venue develop its offer in consultation with local partners and communities but the quality of effort to inform and welcome all kinds of families was particularly impressive.”

Expressing the venue’s delight at the Award, Chief Executive Laura Case said, “we knew when we started this journey of creating a venue dedicated to children and their families that it would be special, and to be recognised as the best is great for everyone involved in making it become a reality. The venue design, build and overall offer has children and families at its heart and to see it full of children and their grown-ups every day is the most important thing of all. 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.”

balletLORENT won the Audience Choice Award, which is voted for by the public, for their 2017/18 national tour of Rumpelstitskin, which toured to 14 venues across England, Scotland and Wales, working with a local cast of children and older people who joined them onstage at each venue alongside the professional dancers.

After opening at Northern Stage in Newcastle, the production visited Pitlochry Festival Theatre; Sadler’s Wells, London; Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield; The Lowry, Salford; New Theatre, Hull; Oxford Playhouse; Darlington Hippodrome; His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen; Eden Court, Inverness; Adam Smith, Kirkcaldy; Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry; CAST, Doncaster and Pontio, Bangor.

“Our audiences are very important to us,” said the balletLORENT’s Artistic Director Liv Lorent MBE, “and the award celebrates this successful relationship. Thank you to all of you who voted for balletLORENT. You have given us a wonderful boost of encouragement and confidence as we develop our new work for family audiences this year. We look forward to seeing you on our tour of The Lost Happy Endings, and we hope to meet your high standards again! Thanks again for all your support.”