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Annual Report 2016


Our Vision The Spark enables children to enjoy the opportunities for discovery offered by the arts as audiences, as learners and as creators of their own art.

Our Mission The Spark gives children from 0 - 13 opportunities to immerse themselves in the arts by experiencing a wide range of high quality work, which inspires, empowers and educates. We offer children the space to discover their own skills, passions and potential, as audience, participants and creators of their own work, •

Through a year round programme of Participation & Learning and Bespoke Events.

Through the presentation of an annual festival in Leicester schools, theatres and community venues, and through collaboration with other agencies.

The Spark works to increase its impact on the creation and presentation of arts for children in the UK and beyond.

Our Focus

On Your Doorstep

Our work in partnership with communities

At Your School

Our work in partnership with schools

In Your Venue

Our work with cultural partners across the city

< Mister Tootles Storychair

A children’s story installation at St Barnabas Library with sound effects and stories from eight local, national and international authors.



Animating Libraries in the East Midlands During the last 12 months we have toured 2 Spark productions, A Boy and a Bear in a Boat and A Tasty Tale to libraries in the East Midlands and the UK; placed Artists in Residence at two Leicester libraries and curated a series of live theatre events in libraries in Nottinghamshire. Imaginative Spaces places artists in residence within a library to support storytelling as a medium to promote reading for pleasure and language development. Our Artists worked together with librarians and the community to bring stories to life, encouraging families and children to become actively involved in arts and culture at the heart of their community. The Pop Up Theatre project provided high quality, fun, imaginative and accessible live theatre in libraries in Nottinghamshire for children aged 5 – 9 and their families. This extensive strategic programme saw some 42 performances and 48 workshops enabling Nottinghamshire Libraries to develop and grow their audience.

2433 audiences

In partnership with Leicester and Nottinghamshire Library Services, supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

16 libraries


“I love stories and story telling, and in my experience just about all children do too! Could there ever be a more worthwhile aim than inspiring a child's imagination? Opening the door to a child's imagination is the beginning of just about everything.” Donated his story ‘The Wild Girl’ to Imaginative Spaces project


theatre companies

pop up theatre project

Chris Wormell, Children’s Author ‘Mister Tootles Storychair’

42 shows



family workshops

workshop participants

< A Tasty Tale

An exciting re-working of Hansel and Gretel featuring Gary Lagden with songs and lyrics by Christopher Preece.



The Spark Festival This year’s Spark Festival was another resounding success with over 17,000 attendees participating in our festival across 13 fabulous days in schools, theatres, parks and community venues across the city. We are especially proud of the work we commissioned:

Young People’s Residency with Adriano Adewale at 2Funky Music Cafe

“It's been such a unique and worthwhile opportunity for our children to experience and engage with a different genre of music and to have performed on a stage” Emily Millard, Rushey Mead Primary School

Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale, his band and children from three Leicester City Schools raised the roof at the 2Funky Music Cafe. Workshops using Samba instruments, rhythms and styles resulted in pieces that were then performed to school peers, families and friends. These performances brought a new audience into a professional music venue to hear great music in an intimate and authentic setting. In partnership with Leicester-shire Music Education Hub

Stopgap Dance Company The Spark were thrilled to work with Stopgap Dance Company and Casson & Friends on the development of The Performance. Taking world-class dance, employing disabled and non-disabled artists, in to Leicester schools.


children’s centres

17 venues


127 events

13 days



< Stopgap Dance Company

20 schools

One of the three Festival performances supported by local businesses Bray & Bray, Kirby & West and Moss Solicitors, as part of the Adopt a School programme.


artists / companies



The City Classroom The Spark Arts for Children is the lead organisation for The City Classroom, a cultural education initiative that aims to build sustainable partnerships between arts, culture and local communities, providing a high quality cultural education for every child in Leicester.

“Creativity means that you should try your best and whatever is left is a masterpiece” Sheema, aged 9

In the last 12 months The City Classroom have delivered Leicester’s Cultural Education Conference and the Children and Young People’s Summit. The Summit was a one-day festival of creativity, connecting schools and arts organisations across Leicester City; focusing on children as creative agents and providing opportunities for consultation on young people’s views and understanding of cultural education. Using Arts Award, installations and artist lead activity, the event mixed the arts with curriculum subjects and identified the impact of creativity.

17 teachers

The City Classroom partners: Attenborough Arts Centre, Charnwood Arts, Leicester Print Workshop, Soft Touch Arts, The Spark Arts for Children and The Mighty Creatives

75 children

“Without creativity you can’t understand or learn, it makes you ask questions and opens your eyes to how things work.” Syrus aged 10

Photo: Alan Fletcher


Arts Award Discover

< Children and Young People’s Summit

In Search of Creativity produced in partnership with Gemma Kiddy, freelance creative producer.



City Primary & SEN Schools






Tiny Sparks Tiny Sparks placed Artists in Residence in Children's Centres in two areas of Leicester City. The artists, through a weekly programme of project activity, developed and delivered a series of workshops aimed at early years children and their families.

“The growth and richness of language developed has been amazing. Watching this development has ignited staff’s enthusiasm in this area of learning”

Acclaimed musician Arun Ghosh and story-teller Manya Benenson worked alongside early years’ teachers and play workers to provide opportunity for peer learning and creative professional development among front line staff.

Training session participant

The residencies were enhanced by performances of Sponge by Turned on Its Head and Toddler’s Room by Norwegian company Dybwikdans as well as a visit to Attenborough Arts Centre to see Poggle by Barrowlands Ballet.


In partnership with Leicester’s Children, Young People and Family Centres supported using public funding by The National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund

pre-school professionals

and support from The Edith Murphy Foundation, John and Susan Bowers Fund.

198 child participants 164 gaining skills

parent / carers

< Arun Ghosh


Artist residencies

2 training sessions

23 performances

501 participants

Using music to increase confidence, language and communication. 11


Bespoke Commissions My City - A Poem for Leicester The Lord Mayor of Leicester commissed The Spark to run a creative writing project in 4 city schools to inspire and build the confidence, self esteem and resilience of participating children through art and creativity. The schools worked with Joseph Coelho, an acclaimed writer and award winning poet. Their poems were published in an anthology alongside a new ‘poem for Leicester’ written by Joseph called City Kids.

“It really helped children with self esteem especially children that are not very confident in class” Class teacher, Medway Community Primary

In partnership with The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Carlton Hayes Mental Health Charity and Florence Turner Trust.

115 pupils

“Bringing in someone from outside, especially when seen as a famous writer increased their expectations and sense of success” Literacy Co-ordinator Overdale Junior



4 < My City - A Poem for Leicester


4 schools 20 days residency

poet in residence

poetry newsletters

157 published poems


public performance by poet and pupils

Searching for similies in the school playground 13


Financial Report

The Spark Staff

Financial year September 2015 - August 2016

The Spark continued to receive National Portfolio Organisation funding from Arts Council England and a grant from Leicester City Council Festivals & Events, which represents about one fifth of our income. We are extremely grateful to both organisations for their continued support. Our work in Libraries continues to make up the bulk of our project work expenditure, with income from grant dispersal and service level agreements with Library Services. We were very pleased to have been chosen as Charity of the Year by the Lord Mayor's Charity, as well as Rowley's Chartered Accountants, Leicester Law Society and Fosse Business Breakfast Club and would like to thank all those involved for their fund-raising activities over the year. The charity also received continued support from its corporate partners, trusts, foundations and donors. We would particularly like to thank all those individuals who took part in the Abseil Event at De Montfort University, which made a significant contribution to our fundraising. Income 2015/16

Arts Council England Grant Leicester City Council Grant Project Grants Fundraising & Sponsorship Earned Income Total income for the year Expenditure 2015/16

Library Activity Festival Activity Other Project Activity Core Staff Overheads

Total expenditure for the year

Figures shown are based on pre-audited accounts. A copy of our published accounts can be supplied on request.

< Tiny Sparks

Manya Benenson, Storyteller in residence

18% 2% 40% 17% 23%


32% 17% 16% 29% 6%


Director Adel Al-Salloum General Manager Harriet Roy

Press & Marketing Manager Keith Turner Development Manager Carrie Carruthers Projects Co-ordinator Gemma Kiddy

Guest Festival Director Tony Reekie

Administration & Marketing Assistant Matthew Fife Marketing & Events Support Maya Biswas Board of Trustees Lucy Bani Sarah Brigham Ravinder Kaur Vijay Mistry Mahmood Reza Patron Tim Crouch

David Bell (Chair) Mike Candler Rachael Mabe Debbie Read Akshay Sharma

Spark artists in residence Manya Benenson Arun Ghosh Andy Reeves Trina Haldar Jayne Williams Parmjit Sagoo

Student placements Kezia Kneller Helena Fewkes Louisa Pomfret Varda Nisar Spark Photographer Pamela Raith Report design Mooli 15

Our Partners Print Partner

Higher Education Partner

Festival’s Official Hotel

Media Partner

Media Partner

Media Partner


Design Partner

City Play-ground Partner


The Edith Murphy Foundation • Florence Turner Trust • The Hinrichsen Foundation • John Salmon Fund John and Susan Bowers Fund • Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation • East Midlands Children’s Theatre and Dance Network • Leche Trust • PC Hickinbotham Charitable Trust

Donors The Spark is delighted to have been chosen as Charity of the Year for the following four organisations

Festival Partners



Lord Mayor’s Charity of the Year

Thanks to: Maber, Next, pupils and staff at Mellor Community Primary School, East Midlands Airport, The Rotary Club of Leicester Novus Adopt a School Donors: Bray & Bray, Kirby & West, Moss Solicitors


Cover image - Pupils at Sandfield Close Primary School Enjoying a performance of Stopgap Dance Company at The Spark Festival

Contact Us

The Spark Arts for Children, LCB Depot, 31 Rutland Street, Leicester LE1 1RE

Tel: 0116 261 6893 Email: Web: Facebook




The Spark Arts for Children is a company limited by guarantee, no.5254229. Registered charity no. 1106952.

The Spark Annual Report 2016  

Annual report from The Spark Arts for Children, an arts organisation based in Leicester UK. We exist to enable children to enjoy the opportu...

The Spark Annual Report 2016  

Annual report from The Spark Arts for Children, an arts organisation based in Leicester UK. We exist to enable children to enjoy the opportu...