JM Barrie Awards: in photos

JM Barrie Awards: in photos

JM Barrie Awards: in photos

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 JM Barrie Awards! Pictured above from Left to Right: Sir Philip Pullman CBE (winner of the JM Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award); Joseph Middleton, Kathleen Evans and Ewan Gilford (from Leeds Lieder, Members' Award winner); Amanda Craig (Members' Award winner); Josh Parsons and Yvonne Farquharson (from Breathe Magic, JM Barrie Outstanding Contribution Award winner); Matthew Sanders and Diana Schomberg (from Magic Lantern, Members' Award winner).

Thank you to the fantastic team of young people who helped make the awards happen. From Left to Right: Emmerson Sutton, our young presenter; Lilly Kurata (top right), our young pianist; and Albee and Noah Superville, our award presenters.

Members' Award Winners

Left top: Joseph Middleton, Kathleen Evans and Ewan Gilford (Leeds Lieder);

Left bottom: Diana Schomberg, James Mayhew and Matthew Sanders (Magic Lantern);

Right: Amanda Glover

Outstanding Contribution Award - Breathe Magic

Left: Breathe Arts Health Research Founder Yvonne Farquharson with ACA President David Wood OBE

Right top: Breathe Magic patron Jim Carter chats to Sir Philip Pullman

Right bottom: the full Breathe Magic Team

Introducing: Breathe Magic

Introducing: Breathe Magic

Introducing: Breathe Magic

The Breathe Magic Intensive Therapy Foundation programme is a clinically effective, fun and engaging approach to therapy. It’s designed to help young people with hemiplegia, a weakness or paralysis affecting one side of the body caused by an injury to the brain.

Grounded in world-class medical research, this award-winning approach gives young people access to 78 hours of intensive therapy AND transforms them into young magicians! Specialist occupational therapists work alongside Magic Circle magicians to teach magic tricks designed to develop hand and arm function, cognitive abilities, self-confidence and independence.

Breathe Magic will be awarded with the Action for Children's Arts Outstanding Contribution Award on 7 November. They were selected for this award by ACA Trustees, in recognition of their contribution to children's arts and well-being.

At the awards, a citation will be given by Magic Circle Centre Director Darren Martin.

Working at The Magic Circle headquarters, you would expect to see miracles and wonder on a daily basis helping you believe in magic. However, it was when hosting a ‘Breathe Arts Health Research’ event some years ago that we realised what real magic can be.

Breathe Magic is part of Breathe Arts Health Research - one of the first arts-in-health companies to be recognised by organisations such as NHS England. Breathe Arts Health Research began as part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, before becoming a separate social enterprise in 2012. Since then they’ve been designing and delivering arts-in-healthcare programmes that:

  • Improve clinical outcomes for patients
  • Enrich healthcare environments for staff, patients and visitors
  • Offer unique training opportunities

The organisation represents a ground-breaking collaboration between Arts, Health and Science. As the new National Academy for Social Prescribing is launched, ACA is delighted to be honouring an organisation at the forefront of this research.

Click here to visit the Breathe Arts Health Research website and find out more about Breathe Magic.

Sir Philip Pullman wins 2019 JM Barrie Award

Sir Philip Pullman wins 2019 JM Barrie Award

Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) has chosen Sir Philip Pullman CBE as the recipient of their 2019 JM Barrie Award. The Award is given annually to a children’s arts practitioner or organisation in recognition of a lifetime’s achievement in delighting children.

Sir Philip Pullman is a patron and long-time supporter of ACA’s campaigning work. Last year the charity celebrated its twentieth anniversary and was sent the following message by Sir Philip:

Children deserve the best of everything; the best opportunities, the best education, the best food, the best stories and poems, the best music, the best theatre. In fact, they’d need the best even if they didn’t deserve it. Action for Children’s Arts is a very good way indeed of seeing that they get it, and I’m very glad to support its work”.

ACA Trustees have also chosen to honour Breathe Arts Health Research with an Outstanding Contribution Award – recognising their ground-breaking Magic Programme for young people with hemiplegia. Uniting arts, health and science, this is an award-winning approach to occupational therapy, using magic skills to improve hand function and independence.

Previous JM Barrie Award winners have included Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE, Bernard Cribbins OBE and Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE.

Action for Children’s Arts is a national membership organisation campaigning for arts education for 0-12 year olds. For only £2.50/month you can support their campaigning activities: www.childrensarts.org.uk/join/individual/

For more information about the 2019 awards, please contact mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk

The World Day of Theatre for young audiences 2019

The World Day of Theatre for young audiences 2019

20 March 2019: ASSITEJ World Day of Theatre for children is a campaign promoted and celebrated through the message: "Take a child to the theatre, today."


This year’s messages have been written by Yvette Hardie, President of ASSITEJ; Joyee, 8; and Jojo, 11.

ASSITEJ president Yvette Hardie says : “Children need to be offered to enjoy moments in community where they are reminded of what we share, and where they are able to appreciate the multiple realities of what it means to be human.”

Joyee says : “Without theatre, there would be no imagination. Everyone wouldn’t be able to be themselves. Without stories, everyone would be bored all the time. A bit gloomy – they wouldn’t really feel very nice.”

Jojo says : “I love theatre where you have to use your imagination, your own imagination which is different from everyone else’s. Because the things in the show are hard to see or aren’t there, you have to imagine them. You make them up. And then you can see them really well.”

Find out more about ASSITEJ and World Day of Theatre for Young Audiences at this link.

JM Barrie Awards 2018 – photos

JM Barrie Awards 2018 – photos

Photos of award-winners at the 2018 JM Barrie Awards, taken by Katie MacKinnon. The ceremony was hosted by the Prince of Wales Theatre on 11 October 2018.

2018 winners Stuart and Kadie Kanneh-Mason
Stuart and Kadie with ACA Patron Julian Lloyd-Webber
Outstanding Contribution Award winner Sticky Fingers Arts, with ACA chair
The Kanneh-Mason Family
JM Barrie Award winners 2018, Stuart and Kadie with ACA Chair Vicky Ireland
Caroline Moore and Susie Hall, Members’ Award winners from GOSH Arts
Helen Smee, Members’ Award Winner

JM Barrie Awards 2018

JM Barrie Awards 2018

On 11 October 2018, we presented Stuart and Kadie Kanneh-Mason with the 2018 JM Barrie Award, recognising a lifetime’s achievement in children’s arts. The award was presented in recognition of all parents who selflessly dedicate themselves to their children’s artistic education.


It is ACA’s immense delight to honour Kadie and Stuart with our JM Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award. They are great ambassadors for the inspirational role music education can play in nurturing childhood.


The 2018 Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to Sticky Fingers Arts, who have provided twenty years of ground-breaking early-years arts provision in Northern Ireland. The organisation provides a powerful voice for the rights of children to engage in the arts. They are committed to increasing opportunities for as many children as possible to access and participate in the highest-quality, professionally-run, age-appropriate, arts programmes.


The Member’s Awards were presented to GOSH Arts and children’s choral conductor and workshop leader Helen Smee. The GOSH Arts programme is run by Caroline Moore and Susie Hall. They work to bring the arts into Great Ormond Street hospital; ranging from work that thrills and lifts spirits, to participatory programmes that entertain and inspire the young patients.


Helen Smee is the founder of Voices of London Festival, and is also extremely active in maintaining opportunities and enthusiasm for music in state primary schools. She is currently working with schools in three parts of London, bringing children together to sing an original choral piece in a series of concerts.


BAFTA Young Presenter Tianna Moore skilfully presented the awards ceremony, and the JM Barrie Award was handed to Stuart and Kadie by 7 year-old Angelina Sinclair, after Julian Lloyd-Webber had read his citation.


Arts Backpack UK launch – photos

Arts Backpack UK launch – photos

On 4 August 2018, ACA celebrated its 20th Birthday at the National Theatre, where the charity launched in 1998. It also used this Impact Hour as an opportunity to launch the Feasibility Study for the Arts Backpack UK. Find out more here.


National Theatre


President David Wood OBE

BAFTA Young Presenter 2016 Tianna Moore with ACA Trustee Chris Jarvis

ACA Trustee Janet Robertson

Patron Jamila Gavin

Trustee James Mayhew
Guests at the party


Trustee James Mayhew with Patrons Michael Foreman, Jamila Gavin

Trevor MacFarlane, Labour Party and European Parliament

ACA Chair Vicky Ireland MBE

Vicky Ireland MBE

Cutting the cake: Tianna Moore, Vicky Ireland

Arts Backpack Launch

Chris Jarvis, Tianna Moore, Vicky Ireland

20th Birthday Cake


JM Barrie Awards 2018

ACA is delighted to announce that the 2018 JM Barrie Award will be presented to Stuart and Kadie Kanneh-Mason, in recognition of all parents who selflessly dedicate themselves to their children’s artistic education.

Stuart and Kadie are parents to chart-topping ‘cellist Sheku (2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year), as well as six more exciting young musicians: Mariatu, Jeneba, Konya, Isata, Braimah and Aminata.

This year’s Outstanding Contribution Award will be presented to Sticky Fingers Arts, in recognition of twenty years’ ground-breaking early-years arts provision in Northern Ireland.

The awards will be held in October at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Limited spaces are always available to members – if you would like to attend, click here to join for only £30/year.

David Wood OBE receives 2017 JM Barrie Award

On 9th November 2017, much-loved children’s playwright David Wood OBE received the 2017 Action for Children’s Arts J.M. Barrie Award, in honour of his lifetime of unforgettable writing for children. The award was presented by six-year-old Sacha Lee-Khan in a ceremony hosted by Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.


Sir Cameron Mackintosh personally welcomed assembled guests, before a ceremony that included speeches from Maureen Lipman CBE and ACA patrons Philip Pullman CBE and Judith Kerr OBE.

The J.M. Barrie Award is awarded annually by Action for Children’s Arts to a children’s arts practitioner whose work, in the view of ACA trustees, will stand the test of time. Previous recipients have included: Sir Quentin Blake CBE (2008) Roger McGough CBE (2009) Shirley Hughes CBE (2010) Lyndie Wright (2011) Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE (2012) Lynne Reid Banks (2013) Bernard Cribbins OBE (2014) Dame Jacqueline Wilson (2015) and Michael Morpurgo OBE (2016).

2017 is a marvellous year to celebrate David Wood’s life and achievements, as it is his 50th year of writing plays for children. He is an actor, playwright, composer, author, writer, director, producer and magician, who directs most of his own plays and writes the music for his songs. We think J.M. Barrie would be delighted to know that David has received an honour in his name; an honour that celebrates a lifetime of work dedicated to children, which will stand the test of time. He is indeed, a true and worthy recipient.

Action for Children’s Arts also presented a range of awards for excellence in Children’s Arts including an Outstanding Contribution Award to TV composer Liz Kitchen and five Members’ Awards to Daphna Attias of Peut-Être Theatre; Hollie Coxon and Anthony Hope – The Sunderland Empire Theatre Creative Learning Team; Jude Merrill – outgoing artistic director of Travelling Light Theatre; Kate Prince from ZooNation and Gillian Rennie from Seven Stories.

Vicky Ireland MBE Acting Chair of ACA said, “Children are the future. The arts practitioners who specialise in entertaining and inspiring them and triggering their imaginations deserve – Action for Children’s Arts believes – public recognition. This is the 13th year of the J M Barrie Awards. We are proud to honour David Wood OBE, Liz Kitchen and our Members’ Award winners. They are all brightly-shining beacons in the vibrant world of children’s arts.”