Friday 16 March saw the first Big Imaginations Symposium taking place at Z-arts. With artists interventions, passionate discussions, and a summary of the past 5 years, this was a day of celebrating bringing brilliant children’s theatre to the North!
A Q&A with Chair Kate Cross, Liz O’Neill (Z-arts CEO & Artistic Director and Chair of Big Imaginations) and Zoe Pickering (Z-arts Children’s Theatre Programmer and Big Imaginations Manager) started the day. Highlighting that at the heart of Big Imaginations is quality and accessibility of children’s theatre, Liz discussed how the combined efforts of every venue and artist has created a warm, encouraging network.
Freelance director Benji Reid and Artistic Director of Mashi Theatre Trina Haldar shared their experiences of working with and creating art for Big Imaginations. Benji described how creating a theatre piece for children wasn’t his usual direction, but that it allowed him to take a well-known story and make it authentic to his experience and to the lifestyles of the families who were coming to watch the piece. Trina shared some beautiful audience feedback from Tales of Birbal and shared her thoughts on Big Imaginations, including that it is “a whole network of people changing the landscape so children can enjoy theatre”. URBAN Conceptz Ryan Harston shared a spoken word performance which explored the idea of audience development in an innovative and beautiful way.