Family Theatre Week is Under Threat

by Catherine Smyth Media

A POPULAR theatre week that provides workshops for 300 people is under threat because a grant application has been delayed.

It costs £12,000 to put on the Family Theatre Week and the activities are co-ordinated by the Maden Centre in Bacup.

Currently, there is only £2,000 in the pot to cover the week’s expenses because two grant applications have been turned down as both were massively oversubscribed.

The remaining application – from the Big Lottery – has been deferred three times with no guarantee a decision will be made before the week is scheduled to happen in August.

Theatre week co-ordinator Sue Hopkinson said: “We have been running the week for the past 11 years.

“The first one was at the Royal Court Theatre and since then we have been based in Fearns Community Sports College, Stacksteads. The location is ideal and the number of families has increased from 20 to 50-55.

“We have families from all over Rossendale coming to theatre week and several come back year on year.

“Some have told us that because money is tight they are not going on holiday as a family and instead using the theatre week as their holiday. Others plan their holidays so they are free to attend.

“We engage up to 300 people each day and hold nearly 40 workshops across the week – from zumba to circus skills, from singing classes to props creation with a finale production at the end.

“We have grandparents, families and single parents attend. We provide a free crèche so parents can spend time with older children while their younger ones are cared for.

“The week is aimed at the whole family spending time together and everyone takes part in the workshop.”

Theatre week is well supported by volunteer young helpers from local high schools predominantly from Fearns but also from Alder Grange, Haslingden High and AccRoss College. Last year 26 young volunteers attended.

“If this week cannot go ahead then there will be a lot of people across Rossendale disappointed,” said Sue, who is also cluster leader (children’s centres) Rossendale.

“There is nothing better than seeing a child looking at their parent as they are about to perform in the finale and seeing the complete awe in the parent’s face as they look back.

“Families pay a nominal £20 for the week to ensure it is always accessible for everyone.

“There are also health spin offs because many participants go on to sign up for classes.”

The week has previously been backed by Awards for All grants, Lancashire County Council’s Local Initiative Fund and last year’s event was funded by LCC’s Early Help and Prevention.

This year’s theatre week is planned for August 17-21.

If you wish to donate, or know any grants that may be available, please contact Sue on 01706 871740 or email

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