Hikapee, To The Moon

Introduction to Hopper

Here at Take Art we believe that the Arts are not just for grown ups, students or school children. That is why we work hard to ensure the under fives in Somerset and beyond have access to top quality creative experiences, tailored to their unfolding minds and imaginations.  

In 2017 Take Art joined forces with Surrey Arts and China Plate to launch Hopper, a 20-month initiative to create opportunities for over 3,500 pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting.  

Taking place over two-years, Hopper brings specially created theatre shows into, pre-schools, nurseries, theatres, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from less advantaged areas.

The Theatre Companies

The project has supported six theatre companies in developing high quality and relevant performances, with the development process involving Under 5s so their voice is heard in work made for them. The companies are Tangled Feet, Dancing Strong, Hikapee, Second Hand Dance, Flibbertigibbet Theatre and AYCORN East. Click on the below links to go to the company websites.

What Hopper Achieved

Read the Hopper Project Evaluation Report

Hopper Strategic Touring Evaluation Report 2018339.26 KB DOCX

A grand total of 3,972 children and their grown-ups came along to see a Hopper show, smashing our 3500 target by 472!

The pilot wanted to test if it were feasible to hold performances in a range of settings in Somerset and Surrey. Hopper brought seven fantastic early years shows to Somerset and Surrey during March, June and October. This resulted in 70 stunning performances held in nurseries, libraries, schools, children’s centres, village halls and theatres.  

Early Years practitioners stepped up to their new role of promoter selecting a performance from the curated menu and marketing it to their local communities. Amanda McMurren, Early Years Teaching Centre Co-ordinator at Bridgwater and Taunton College organised three shows in three different locations in Bridgwater.

Amanda McMurren, Early Years Practitioner, explains, “Being able to involve children and their families in an interactive and engaging show aimed at the early years has been an amazing experience. Children have been able to relate their own feelings to what they have experienced making it relevant to them and their lives.”

During the three seasons of shows, Joseph Coelho told tall tales of bad grannies, goldilocks and crocodiles in Fairytales Gone Bad. Tangled Feet weaved a poignant story of caring for each other in Need A Little Help. Fine Chisel took us on a squawking adventure in Flit, Flap & Fly. Peut Etre danced into town with lots of funny sounds in their interaction show, Shh..Bang! Filskit Theatre tried to catch an elusive blue feather using clever digital projections in The Feather Catcher. Dancing Strong delighted with their gentle dance piece, Light Steps and Hikapee took us To The Moon with their aerial circus show.  

Tamsin Mosse, Hopper project manager concludes,“There have been so many highlights to this initiative - working with brilliant artists, seeing Early Years practitioners grow in confidence in their role as promoter, the beginnings of a new type of touring network, and so many delighted children’s faces watching theatre, often for the first time, with mums, dads and grandparents. It’s been a real honour.”

What the audience thought!

Richard Tomlinson speaks to parents and children at Bridgwater Childcare Centre and Taunton College Childcare Centre directly after watching Flit, Flap and Fly?

Download the Hopper Early Years Promoter’s Toolkit

This toolkit will guide you through the three main areas of organising an Early Years show including marketing, hosting and the day itself.

Partners and Funders  

Hopper is a partnership between Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate, working closely with key local theatres: The Brewhouse in Taunton, Bridgwater Arts Centre, The Egg in Bath and Camberley Theatre in Surrey.  

Hopper is currently funded by Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Partnership Surrey. This funding enables us to offer high quality EY performance at a greatly reduced price to Early Years settings and theatre. During the project we will be exploring ways to ensure this model of touring is as sustainable as possible in the future.

Read more about the Hopper partners here.

Half Moon, Fairy Tales Gone Bad

Get in touch

For more information about this project please contact Tamsin Mosse, Hopper Project Manager at Take Art

email: tamsin@takeart.org  tel: 01460 249450

visit: www.takeart.org for regular updates

address: The Mill, Flaxdrayton Farm, South Petherton, Somerset TA13 5LR