Sinfonia Viva Pushes Out The Boat To Win National Award

Derby-based orchestra Sinfonia Viva has won a national award for its family concert 'The Boat & The Blue' at last year's Get Creative Family Arts Festival.

The annual Get Creative Family Arts Festival is a national festival offering families an extraordinary range of arts activities to enjoy. Voted for by a panel of expert judges from the arts sector, the Awards recognise the outstanding events that took place within 2015 Festival and the organisations and venues that participated.

Sinfonia Viva won the national award for the festival’s Best Family Event.

The Get Creative Family Arts Festival was celebrated at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 30 March at the Albany in London, recognising the Festival’s most engaging family events as well as highlighting the outstanding organisers amongst the huge variety of participating organisations. Sinfonia Viva Chief Executive Peter Helps, Education Manager Marianne Barraclough and composer Jack Ross accepted the award for Best Event on behalf of the Orchestra.

Sinfonia Viva joined more than 800 other organisations in delivering events as part of the 2015 festival, which took place between 9 October and 1 November 2015.  Around 500,000 family members attended one of the 4,000 festival events across the UK. ‘The Boat & The Blue’ was commissioned by Sinfonia Viva as part of the national Get Creative Family Arts Festival especially for children aged under five and their families.

The afternoon concert at the Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre told the story of a young girl’s wonderful adventures – setting sail with Rowan and her paper boat into an ocean teeming with marine life.

Presented by composer and guitarist Jack Ross, and accompanied by twelve Sinfonia Viva musicians, the concert featured new music written by Jack, as well as a host of orchestral favourites to give the audience a flavour of a life on the ocean wave and the creatures who live there. The story was further brought to life by the wonderful illustrations of visual artist, Eleanor Meredith, whose stunning live drawings and animation were projected on a big screen behind the orchestra.

Before the concert, there was the chance to explore the Rolls-Royce Learning & Development Centre, and to discover more about the engines and manufacturing that allows man to dive deep under the oceans to explore the undersea world.

In preparation for the performance, Viva held taster workshops at Becket Children’s Centre and Play & Learn Day Nursery in the city who have been involved in Family Arts Festival projects for the previous two years. Sinfonia Viva’s Marianne Barraclough said: “We are obviously delighted that our work as part of the Festival has been recognised with this prestigious national award. “Our Family Arts Festival concerts have been a sell-out for the past three years - highlighting that there is a gap in the market for a high quality performance with elements that can be enjoyed by the whole family.”

The Festival is run by the Family Arts Campaign, whose recent evaluation report found that 61% of organisations reported an increase in work shown for families across the country. Since its beginnings in 2013 the Festival has also included over 500 pieces of newly commissioned work specifically for families.

Phil Cave, Director of Engagement and Audiences at Arts Council England said: “Encouraging arts organisations to develop their family offer, and to consider the diverse needs of families in Britain today is really important. “We are very pleased to continue to support the Family Arts Campaign, it has been a huge success to date and has reached a wide range of people. The Campaign continues to inspire artists, arts organisations and families to engage in a vast range of arts activities across the country. “It provides time for families to get together and create shared memories, and to experience the power of engaging with the arts.”

Planning is already underway for the next Get Creative Family Arts Festival, which will take place throughout October 2016. With extended dates, this year’s festival aims to involve even more families in exceptional programmes of events later this year. Visit the Family Arts Festival website to find out more:

‘The Boat & The Blue’ was supported by Rolls-Royce plc, Derby City Council and Orchestras Live. Sinfonia Viva is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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