ACA welcomes five bursary members

ACA welcomes five bursary members

ACA welcomes five bursary members

Following an initial round of applications, we are delighted to welcome five new bursary members into the Action for Children's Arts community.

Elgan Rhys, writer-director-performer

Elgan Rhys is a fluent Welsh speaker, writer-director-performer living in Cardiff. In 2015, he co-founded Cwmni Pluen Company, and was Associate Artist at Frân Wen from 2017-19. He was raised in Pwllheli and studied Theatre and Drama at the University of South Wales, where he has since returned to lecture.

Elgan directed Frân Wen’s acclaimed adaptation of the multiple-prize-winning Llyfr Glas Nebo, which toured main stages at eleven Welsh venues. His debut play Woof, staged to sell-out audiences in January-February 2019 as part of Rachel O’Riordan’s final season at the Sherman Theatre, was described by The Guardian as “a triumph”. Pluen’s most recent production, Mags, which Elgan wrote, toured Wales and London in Autumn 2019 following an initial 2018 run that was described by Wales Arts Review as “a fearless play by an innovative company, using language in a way not seen anywhere else in Wales.” Recurring elements in his work are community co-creation, an interest in multilingualism, the amplification of young people’s voices and telling stories of contemporary queer life. Elgan has also been BAFTA Cymru-nominated for his TV work, and is one of Stonewall Cymru’s Role Models. He is currently developing several plays with major companies, as well as TV and book projects.

Nominated by Theatr Iolo.

Stephan Boyce, actor

Stephan is an actor and long-term employee of Bigfoot Arts Education.

"By the end [of a workshop] the ‘naughty’ child is confidently performing Shakespearean soliloquies. The shy child is a doing solo dance in an assembly. The quiet child is directing a group activity. Often the children labelled with terms like shy, naughty, unresponsive, not a team player and other harmful terms are transformed by creativity. I believe that this is due to everyone’s innate need to create and imagine. An important skill that is undervalued and suppressed as we get older."


Jaydean Dawkins, theatre practitioner

Jaydean is a theatre practitioner, mother, and the Founder and Director of Confessions of the Youth Theatre Company (now renamed JD Theatrical Creative), a company devoted to creating new devised work with BAME and underprivileged young people in the Twerton and Radstock, some of the most deprived areas of the Southwest. She specialises in making work that confronts and challenges current issues surrounding the lack of diversity in theatre through the empowerment of underrepresented people and groups.

Nominated by the egg, Theatre Royal Bath

Kyle Lima, performer

Kyle Lima is an actor, writer, singer and director, and in his own words “a frustrated yet proud dyslexic” born and raised in the Splott area of Cardiff, South Wales. He is Theatr Iolo's Platfform Artist for 2020. In 2018, he was appointed as a BBC Writersroom Welsh Voices member and has collaborated with the BBC in developing scripts for radio and TV. He has also written and performed for Sky Arts as part of the Sky arts ART50 program, filmed at the Barbican Centre, dealing with the issues of Brexit and Article 50. He has worked with the Omidaze Theatre Company in collaboration with National Theatre Wales, The Fio Theatre Company, and the Sherman Theatre.

Nominated by Theatr Iolo.

Ben Knight, baritone

Ben Knight is a singer who has worked with Bach to Baby.

"I am passionate about children’s arts for a multitude of reasons. Making music should be inclusive to all children from different walks of life. I have personally benefited by projects when I was younger that lead me to my musical success today. My family is not musical and I was the only male singer at my school. Music education and outreach projects gave me vital skills including; confidence, creative thinking, collaboration and communication. All skills I feel that making music can bring. Most importantly, children have the right to create, imagine and play and I am passionate about music being fun and exciting for all children."

Applications for bursary memberships will be accepted on a rolling basis. Click here to find out more.

Children’s Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients

Children’s Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients

Children's Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients

In May 2020, Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) ran a crowdfunding initiative, raising money to support children’s arts freelancers and organisations in financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were delighted to raise almost £4,000 thanks to the generous support of ACA members, patrons, and the arts community.

Our board of Trustees greatly enjoyed considering an impressive selection of applications. Applications were prioritised where we thought our money could make a genuine difference in helping a creative to survive or develop in the face of the ‘new normal’. We have taken the decision to support the following freelancers and organisations:

Ania Straczynska / SE19 Dance

“This grant will be invaluable in helping me to develop better practices for online teaching, through the purchasing of equipment and flooring that is safe for me to dance on. I will also be able to deliver props to class participants, providing a great sensory experience for the young children.”

To find out more visit

Assitej UK

“This is fantastic news and a ray of hope we can take to the sector with whom we have had so many conversations recently: the corona-coaster of optimism versus pessimism. Thanks so much to ACA for initiating this scheme and acknowledging our organisation in this way.”

To find out more visit

Feel Theatre

“We have been creating community based sensory work since late 2016, but officially became a not-for-profit in January 2018, so we are relatively new to the industry. We have been determined to make a big impact from the beginning, however from September 2020 we will not be able to cover our running costs.”

To find out more visit

Jennifer Jackson, theatre-maker and choreographer

“I believe art that is playful and creates a space for children to see themselves reflected back at themselves, is essential. To that end, I want to continue to explore my work in a digital form.”

To find out more visit

Kelly Smith / Boogie Monsters

“Thank you so much, this is wonderful news, and is really going to help me to bring live music to children online!”

To find out more visit

Laura McFall, musician

“Amazing news! A very nice boost after finishing a contract yesterday.”

Lily German, artist

“Thank you very much to ACA for this generous funding and support during these difficult times. This will make a significant difference to my current situation in these uncertain times and will support the future of my professional practice and working with children in The Arts.”

To find out more visit

Lydia Barton Lovett, theatre-maker

“I would like to create a piece of theatre for children with complex needs which is possible to execute safely at this time, and enable other practitioners to do the same.”

Rainbow Stripes

“We have seen over the years first hand how music is very powerful for firstly encouraging children's development, but also for bonding, socialising and bringing communities together. Thank you so much, the grant has really cheered us.”

To find out more visit

Sophie Tea Creative Arts

“I literally am over the moon right now and can't thank you enough. I am incredibly excited to be able to use this money to develop my business.”

Teach it through Drama

“The award has given us a lifeline. As we said in our application, it will be reserved to pay for our biggest overhead, which is our prop/costume/set store. Meanwhile, we continue to adapt some of our drama workshops and interactive storytelling shows, which can be viewed free of charge on our YouTube channel.

Thank you again to everyone at Action for Children's Arts. We hope to see you again soon when we can all meet up and celebrate but, meanwhile, we will continue to push for children's arts to be central to the recovery from this dreadful pandemic.”

To find out more visit

Toubie Jack, artist

“I would love to run a series of online workshops where I show children how to paint a picture of hopes and dreams as I think in this current situation, we need to keep the children thinking positively about their future.”

Children’s Arts Covid-19 Fund – open for applications

Children’s Arts Covid-19 Fund – open for applications

Children's Arts Covid-19 Fund - open for applications

Action for Children's Arts has raised £3,000 to distribute to children's arts organisations and professionals who have been financially impacted by Covid-19. We will be awarding two grants of £500 to organisations, and eight grants of £250 to individuals.

We will be prioritising those who are ineligible for government support, and who work in smaller art forms. We also particularly encourage applications from individuals and organisations that are new to the industry, who might have less established financial reserves to fall back on.

Deadline: 5pm on Wednesday 27 May 2020


I'm from Scotland / Wales / Northern Ireland - am I eligible?

Yes, ACA is a UK-wide organisation and we welcome applications from all four nations.

We are a partnership, rather than a registered company or charity. Can we still apply?

Yes, we will also welcome applications from existing professional partnerships.


Homeschooling during Covid19 – week eight creative activities

Homeschooling during Covid19 – week eight creative activities

Homeschooling during Covid19 week eight - creative activities

We're here to help you through another week of home-schooling! To get you started for the week, here's quite a big resource. Fantastic for Families have updated their website to include lots of online participatory activities for all ages:


Have you got small people in your life who love the ballet? Then check out the Royal Opera House creative learning resource packs! Alongside the class activities, there are plenty of digital resources that you can use from home:


We are delighted to see ACA Members Little Angel Theatre getting this publicity! Have you seen their lockdown content yet?


Do your kids need a goal during lockdown? Glyndebourne has launched Arts Award at Home - a new opportunity for young people to engage with the arts during lockdown and earn a nationally recognised qualification:

Why not have a play in Google Chrome's Music Lab? Get your creative juices flowing and then send us the results!,6JZR,2XJGH5,OTBM,1


On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you and your family can join in with a bit of Time Travel TV courtesy of the National Archives:

If you are enjoying any of this content, please consider making a donation to the organisation who is producing it! Arts organisations are facing up to 100% revenue loss due to Covid19 and need all the help they can get right now.

Homeschooling during Covid19 week seven – creative activities

Homeschooling during Covid19 week seven – creative activities

Homeschooling during Covid19 week seven - creative activities

We're here to help you through another week of home-schooling!


Why not try Fly High Stories' plays that you can act out at home? We are very excited that this includes a script by our Chair - Vicky Ireland MBE:

Our friends at Little Actors Theatre have come up with a weekly lockdown schedule of activities. Definitely worth a visit if you have acting-obsessed little ones:


We recommend heading over to Little Radio UK - run by the incredible present Chris Jarvis! Check out their website and find out all the different ways you can listen:

How about a story read by our superstar patron Baroness Floella Benjamin? Suitable for kids and big kids alike!


Don't forget to prepare your submission for the #BBCLockdownOrchestra. You can play, paint or pirouette - just make sure to meet the deadline on Sunday

Home-schooling during Covid19 week five – creative activities

Home-schooling during Covid19 week five – creative activities

Home-schooling during Covid19 week five - creative activities

Are you back to school with the kids this week? Here are our top five creative resources to keep their imaginations alive during homeschooling!

  1. Check out Starcatchers' Wee Inspirations for some fun, low-pressure art as part of your at-home curriculum:
  2. Using Google Arts and Culture, you and your kids can explore museum artefacts around the world from the comfort of your living room!
  3. Why not take the family to a concert one evening played by the Berlin Philharmonic? Their award-winning digital concert hall is currently FREE for everyone! We recommend this family 'Toy-Box' to get you hooked:
  4. Check out this FANTASTIC blog about keeping creative at home - we particularly liked the page 10 challenge:
  5. Every morning at 10am you can get moving with the Circus Central free Wake Up and Warm Up class:

Have you got a favourite Stay at Home creative activity that we haven't shared yet? Get in touch via and let us know all about it!

If you're enjoying this content, please consider donating to our Crowdfunder. All funds raised will be distributed to children's arts organisations and freelancers to help mitigate the financial damage done by Covid19:

Homeschooling during Covid19 week four – creative activities

Homeschooling during Covid19 week four – creative activities

Homeschooling during Covid19 week four - creative activities

It may be the 'Easter Holidays', but we are here to help those of you who need entertainment for the smaller people in your lives!


1)  Nothing beats a good bit of colouring in. How about this doing this #ThankYouNHS picture made by Sir Michael Craig-Martin?


1) Check out the Sadlers Wells family dance classes on YouTube:


1) If you're #homeschooling today, why not introduce your kids to a classic film on @BFI player?

2) Check out the ChildNet film-making competition:


1)  We love this book illustrated by Alex Scheffler explaining Coronavirus to kids:

2) Don't miss the chance to join in with Seven Stories Museum's #kidsbooksinquarantine - this is a great activity for kids and big kids alike to recreate a favourite children's book cover! (Head over to Twitter for some examples...)

Is there a home-schooling activity that you've particularly enjoyed and would like us to share? Send it over to for next week's round up!



Home-schooling during Covid19 week three – creative activities

Home-schooling during Covid19 week three – creative activities

Home-schooling during Covid19 week three – creative activities

This week’s homeschooling activities are all run by wonderful freelancers! Freelance performers and artists have lost nearly all their income due to Covid19 and need as much support as they can get right now. Most of these activities are free to participate in, but donations are welcomed (and needed) by the artists who have created them.

To get you started, why not try ToddlerTunez’s creative babysitting?


Art Kids are creating great online resources inspired by contemporary artists!


Try out these fun dance classes at Peekaboo moves:



Mini Music Makers – participate in daily musical entertainment for small people, whilst also supporting freelancers during these challenging times:

Sing with Claire:


We’ve been enjoying story time with Mama G, which also includes stories written by children and young people!

Covid19 – emergency funding for freelancers and small organisations

Covid19 – emergency funding for freelancers and small organisations

Covid19 - emergency funding for freelancers and small organisations

Funding available

This page will be updated as we become aware of further funding opportunities. Last updated on 11 May.


Arts Council England – grants for NPOs and CPPs who are in financial need. Open for applications from 12-19 May

Charities Aid Foundation – grants of up to £10,000 for charities whose income was under £1million in the last financial year (applications pause at 5pm on 6 April and will re-open soon)

Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland - supporting local charities whose work and income has been affected

Directors Charitable Fund - grants of around £500 for Directors in acute need

Equity Charitable Trust open to anyone who has previously worked on an Equity contract

Facebook Small Business Grants – now open for applications

Liverpool Coronavirus Support - a range of financial programmes to support local business through Covid19

London Community Response – Wave Two Funding now available to arts and culture organisations

Pay it Forward – set up by the Creative Industries Federation to help people crowdfund

The Royal Opera House Benevolent fund – for past and current employees of the Royal Opera House and Birmingham Royal Ballet, or of any other charity or organisation which gives public performances of opera, ballet or music

The Schroder Charity Trust - support for charities impacted by Covid19

The Steve Morgan Foundation - grants for charities in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales helping the most vulnerable

The Yapp Charitable Trust - small charities with an annual expenditure of less than £40,000 can apply for up to £3,000 core funding

Royal Variety Charity – supporting people in financial need who work in entertainment


Artists General Benevolent Institute – fund for fine artists


Film and TV:

all applications now closed


National Lottery Heritage Fund – grants of between £3,000 - £50,000


The Book Trade Charity - support for people who work/have worked in a bookshop

Royal Literary Fund - financial support for published authors

Society of Authors – grants of up to £2,000 for writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others


Musicians Union – grants of up to £200 for MU members

PRS – grants of up to £1000 for PRS members, open until 15 May

Youth Music - emergency grants for music organisations, deadlines every Friday until 15 May


BenSoc - support for professional photographers


Actors’ Benevolent Fund – grants for those who have contracted Covid19 and have applied for Universal Credit (or are already in receipt of benefits)

Actors’ Children’s Trust – ACT gives money to actor parents and their children, they have paid £200 to each family who has requested support for food and bills in April.

Funds for Freelancers – for actors, creatives and ushers working in theatre. If you’re in need of financial support then all you need to do is email: with a few sentences about your situation.

Make a Difference Trust – grants of up to £200, priority will be given to those who have helped raise money for the Trust in the past

Royal Theatrical Fund – for people who have worked in their profession (theatrical arts on stage, radio, films or television or any other medium by which such arts may be presented) for a minimum of seven years

Theatrical Guild – for those working in theatre who are not on the stage

Until the Curtains Rise – fundraising for grants which will be administered by Acting for Others

Northern Ireland:

Community Fund – children and young people’s projects, which connect people through creative mediums


Crisis Fund - if you are on a low income and have lost work or money due to Covid19

Emergency Arts Workers Support Fund - grants of up to £250, open for a second phase from 6 - 15 May

Third Sector Resilience Fund – grants and loans for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland.


Arts Council of Wales – Urgent Fund for Individuals (opens 14 April), Stabilisation Fund for Organisations (opens 21 April), Stabilisation Fund for Individuals (opens 29 May)

Home-schooling during Covid19 week two – creative activities

Home-schooling during Covid19 week two – creative activities

Home-schooling during Covid19 week two - creative activities

To support parents home-schooling their children during Covid-19, we will be sharing daily resources to help continue your children's creative education. If you enjoy a particular organisation's free activities, please consider making a donation directly to them so that they can continue doing their fantastic work out the other side of lockdown - small arts organisations are under huge strain right now and every penny helps. We are sharing stories of organisations in particular need over on our Twitter page.

Here is a list of our resources for week two:

Craft: Learn how to make a tambourine from... Macaroni! (If you can spare the pasta, that is). Check out Sound Connections' YouTube channel for more fun instrument-making activities.

Dance: Strictly star Oti Mabuse is running daily dance classes at 11.30am over on her Facebook page! We hear this week's theme is musicals...

Literature: ACA Critical Friend, author and illustrator James Mayhew has started #StoryTime4HomeTime, the perfect way to end your day! Follow the link to find out a little more, and make sure to subscribe to James' YouTube channel:

Music: Why not try incorporating the Voices Foundation Virtual Singing Assembly into your daily lunchtime routine?

Another week of home-schooling done! And for some, it's the start of the Easter holidays... Why not wind down with some free meditation from Calm?

Other things we've loved...

The egg, Theatre Royal Bath are sharing some fantastic family-friendly plays online, including I wish I was a mountain

Usborne has launched a Play and Learn at Home digital hub, which includes all their e-books for a reduced price of 99p each:

First News, the schools' newspaper, are making some of their editions available free online:

We will continue to provide ideas for fun stay-at-home activities throughout the holidays, so watch this space!