Mousetrap win award for charity work

Mousetrap Theatre Projects has been awarded with the Sandford Award for Heritage Education – a first for any UK theatre organisation. The Sanford Award honours organisations for quality and excellence in their educational services and facilities at a heritage site – a prize which, until this year, had not been won by a theatre organisation. Previous winners have included the Tower of London and Edinburgh Castle.

Mousetrap specialise in providing young people with access to theatre performances in London. They work with children from disadvantaged areas and backgrounds, as well as children who have special needs and learning difficulties.

Director of Mousetrap, Susan Whiddington said: ‘We believe that theatre is a significant contributor to Britain’s cultural heritage and we are thrilled to be recognised for our part in bringing theatre to young people who would otherwise not have access to it.’

The theatre charity won for their overall work, but more specifically for their StageSeen programme: a theatre day which sees the company work with hard of hearing or deaf young people. The day includes participants taking part in a workshop with a deaf theatre facilitator, as well as providing the attendees with a BSL interpreted or captioned matinee performance of a production such as Billy Elliot.

Sandford Award judge Adam Clarke said: ‘Mousetrap’s work with hard to reach and seldom heard young people incorporates practice that could, and perhaps should, be transferred to all organisations and properties that deliver schools’ programmes. In enabling access to the West End stage, children are given access to a magical world that enables them to learn, create, socialise and grow.’

Chief executive of the Society of London Theatre, Julian Bird, offered his congratulations to Mousetrap, an organisation which they provided support to over the past six years: ‘To be the first theatre education organisation to be awarded a Sandford Award is an incredible accolade. I would like to congratulate Mousetrap for its instrumental work in introducing young people to the magic of theatre, irrespective of their cultural, social or economic background.’

www.mousetrap.org.uk

TMA to help support local authorities

A new scheme has been launched by the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) to help local authorities sustain theatre provisions. TMA will provide advice on reducing costs and boosting income and link up organisations facing similar challenges.

Chief executive of TMA, Julian Bird said: ‘We have started to gather a database of good practice all around the UK and will happily signpost authorities to other organisations facing similar challenges so that they can find out what is working and what isn’t.’

Philip Bernays, TMA council member and chief executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, revealed that last year savings were made of around £164,000  through communication and collaboration between 10 different organisations. He said: ‘By taking new approaches to procurement, all organisations are making major savings on their insurance costs. We have proved that there are ways of sustaining quality services by working collectively to save money.’

TMA will approach industry bodies for local government to offer their support. Funding has become one of the most pressing issues  facing theatres as local authorities face making huge cuts to their budgets.

President of TMA, Rachel Tackley said: ‘We that know Local Authorities are under enormous financial pressure but there is a difference between looking to make management changes that will lead to greater value for investment and making un-strategic cuts that threaten community assets. We applaud Councils such as Coventry and Bristol that are safeguarding arts funding because they understand the value of theatre in their communities, but other authorities are also showing strong leadership by supporting arts organisations through a managed period of change. In other places the sector is coming together to work out new ways of reducing back office costs and increasing earned income.’

For more information visit tmauk.org