Making & Believing

"Children make-believing, artists belief-making."

Making & Believing offers high quality experiences through multi art-form creative residencies, performances and workforce development within early years settings.  

The project supports children, early years practitioners and creative practitioners through opportunities for knowledge and skills sharing, and respects all participants as co-facilitators. 

Regular Early Years participation and performance tours are taking place in Somerset, Derby and Surrey as follows:

  • Creative residences within early years settings where pairs of artists deliver creative sessions in collaboration with staff and children
  • Specialist early years theatre shows performed to children, staff and parents in early years settings as well as theatres
  • Regular project sharing and learning seminars provide opportunity for knowledge sharing, discussion, and learning with artists and early years practitioners, project staff and researchers attending

Case studies and learning feed into research led by Dr Susan Young. Final research findings will be disseminated to share learning from this project.

This rich action research programme is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, led by Take Art and delivered in partnership with Derby Theatre & Surrey Arts from 2020-2024.

Whether you are an early years provider or an artist/theatre company you can get involved. Follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, or email for more information.

Our partners

Surrey Arts

Surrey Arts: is the Surrey County Council Arts Service and leads on the Surrey Music Hub. The Arts Development Team works to enable access to the arts for all members of the community through partnerships, projects and development work. It is a member of Arts Partnership Surrey, a partnership of eight local authorities who develop projects for the local community. Through a project aimed at developing the cultural offer for 0-7 year olds in the county it has developed a strong relationship with the EY and Childcare Service, a group of local artists experienced in EY practice, and a network of EY settings who have benefitted from creative projects and practice. They are the basis of the ‘touring network’ in Surrey for this project.

Derby Theatre

Derby Theatre is part of the University of Derby and already has a relationship with EY specialists in the Institute of Education and the Sociology Department. They have experience delivering in this sector both in terms of research and well as working in partnership with Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership, the Opportunity Area board and the city council.

Derby Theatre specialises in making work for under-fives and has established practice in the way that children’s stories, language and interests inform work. They have successfully commissioned high-quality makers to co-create resulting in critically-acclaimed work for under-fives. They have consistently received excellent feedback from children and their families who enjoy work that is physical, metaphorical and highly creative. Artistic director, Sarah Brigham, has an excellent reputation for both making and commissioning work for this age group and understands how to ensure that audiences are both engaged and curious.