National award won by Derby’s Sinfonia Viva

Derby-based orchestra Sinfonia Viva has won a national award for its concert The Boat and The Blue staged as part of last year’s Get Creative Family Arts Festival.

Voted for by a panel of expert judges from the arts sector, the awards recognise the outstanding events that took place within the 2015 national festival and the organisations and venues that participated.

Sinfonia Viva won the award for the festival’s Best Family Event at a ceremony at the Albany in London on Wednesday March 30 and chief executive Peter Helps, education manager Marianne Barraclough and composer Jack Ross accepted it on behalf of the orchestra.

The Boat and The Blue was commissioned by Sinfonia Viva especially for children aged under five and their families and the afternoon concert at the Rolls-Royce Heritage Centre in Derby 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 12 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 drawings and animation were projected on a big screen behind the orchestra.

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 per cent 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 for 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.”

Déda, Derby’s centre for dance, was also highly commended for its contribution to the festival – a family storytelling show called Bleu presented by Compagnia TPO and programmed in partnership with Derby Theatre.

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: familyartsfestival.com.

In the picture above are Sinfonia Viva’s Simone Lennox-Gordon, Peter Helps, Marianne Barraclough, Jack Ross and Andrew Nesbitt at the awards ceremony.

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