A NEW theatre project will give children in Rutland the opportunity to go to the theatre for free.
Rutland Children’s Theatre Project is a new initiative funded by The Windmill Trust to make the theatre more accessible to families in and around the county.
The project has been started by Alastair McLachlan at Uppingham Theatre, who was inspired by a quote from author Philip Pullman.
He said: “There isn’t as much theatre for children as there should be. Teachers are less able to take time out to give pupils the experience of theatre,
“Live theatre is difficult to get to, it’s expensive.”
For the last three years Mr McLachlan has been trying to pull the project together and has finally found the funding to provide free performances, workshops and drama groups for children.
He said: “We estimate that it will cost about £10,000 a year to run but I wanted to find a way to make theatre fun and accessible to children.
“I have organised children’s theatre events in the past but it is usually the cost which puts schools and parents off from bringing their children.
“This project will make it accessible for all and I hope it will be a success.”
This year Mr McLachlan has organised three free performances.
Tiddlers and Other Terrific Tales will be performed on April 19 at 1.30pm for schools, which is already fully booked, but there is another performance at 3.30pm for parents and children and tickets are still available.
Swamp Juice will be performed on June 18 at 1.45pm and 7pm. The third show is still to be announced.
Starting in summer next year there will be a Rutland Children’s Drama Festival and throughout the year children from the area will be encouraged to write, perform, design and direct their own pieces of theatre.
Mr McLachlan said: “Teachers in schools are very restricted by the curriculum and children do miss out on being creative.
“I am very excited about it.”
Children from around the county were even challenged with designing a logo for the Rutland Children’s Theatre Project. Eleanor Queen, four, who is a pupils at Brooke Hill Academy won with her windmill design.
Uppingham School is providing the theatre for free.
A new Saturday morning drama group for children called Acting Upp will also soon be launched.
To sign up or for more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01572 820820.