An initiative to give free tickets to disadvantaged young children and their families has been launched by Scottish early years company Starcatchers.
The company’s Forward for Families scheme is crowdfunding the scheme , initially raising £800 to enable 45 families to attend MamaBabaMe, its new co-production with Curious Seed for children aged 18 months to three years.
The company points out that while 200,000 children are growing up in poverty in Scotland, access to theatre and cultural experience is consistently found to impact positively on health and well-being.
However, a Starcatchers audit of audience participation suggests that 72% rarely engage in cultural experiences with their babies and many have never engaged with their local community arts venue.
The pilot phase of the scheme is with three venues – the Byre Theatre in St Andrews, Platform in Easterhouse, Glasgow and Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. They will engage with those working in their local communities to find families to take up the offer.
Having tested audience response to the scheme, the long-term aim is to embed the fund in Starcatchers’ touring model.
Launching the scheme, Starcatchers chief executive Rhona Matheson said: “We believe that arts and creativity have the power to transform lives and therefore wanted to explore a new fundraising model to make our work available to families despite their financial or social circumstances.
“We understand the power that a theatrical experience can have on very young children, especially when that experience is shared with a significant adult in their life.”