Live classical music experience for Scotland’s under-twos

Starcatchers and Scotland’s National Orchestra tour a theatrical live music experience for little ones aged 0-24 months
Scotland’s little ones under 24 months will have the opportunity to engage with a tailor-made live theatre and classical music experience in venues across the country from the end of April.
Starcatchers, an organisation which specialises in performances and creativity for babies, toddlers and young children, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) have devised a new classical music experience for babies under 24 months.   Co-created by Starcatchers Associate Artist Hazel Darwin-Edwards and Musician and Composer Abigail Sinar, Hup combines live classical music, with a heart warming storyline in a performance for babies, toddlers and their carers.
In this new theatrical performance a trio of musicians will perform an original score composed by Abigail Sinar, intertwined with a non-verbal narrative presented by Hazel Darwin-Edwards, which will take the audience on a journey in pursuit of the story’s lead character, a very inquisitive raccoon.
The setting for the music-led story is a forest (designed by Theatre Designer Karen Tennent) with the audience seated on set, drawing them into the story and breaking away from traditional ways of enjoying both theatre and classical music.
“From the moment we walked in there was a sense of calm.  We loved how the children could get close to the musicians and feel the connection with the music.”  Nursery practitioner
The concept for Hup was inspired by the delivery of the Arts and Business Scotland People Award-winning Nickum residency project, piloted by Starcatchers and the RSNO in 2013/14 and supported by TOTAL E&P UK Limited and Vibrant Aberdeen.
During the Nickum project, Hazel and Abigail worked in two childcare settings in Aberdeen for six months, with babies aged 0-24 months. Through this process they simultaneously developed a classical score and a new play for babies.  The original work toured nurseries in Aberdeen in 2013/14.
With funding secured from Creative Scotland in 2014, the original work was developed, with fresh input from established director Xana Marwick and learning taken from the initial mini-tour.
The original music, composed by Abigail Sinar and recorded by the RSNO, will be given to audience members as a free memento.
Starcatchers’ Chief Executive Rhona Matheson said:  “Starcatchers’ work is focused on producing high quality arts experiences for the very young. Research proves that engaging in creative activity such as drama and music in the first few years of life helps significantly in a child’s mental and social development, so we are delighted to be working with the RSNO on this unique project.  This could be a baby’s first experience of live theatre, music and creativity and we are committed to it being a positive one.”
RSNO Director of Learning and Engagement Jenn Adams: “In October 2012 the RSNO launched its initiative to provide every child born in Scotland with a recording of music, Astar, to help them learn, rest and play. This was the first step in our goal to engage with the very youngest of audiences. Furthermore, we have been committed to provide increased access to our musicians for young audience members and their families and guardians, and since last year have partnered with experts in the field, Starcatchers, to devise a tailor-made programme for those aged between 0-24 months, Hup. Piloted in Aberdeen in March last year, we are delighted to be announcing the roll-out of Hup to many areas across Scotland. We are looking forward to welcoming our eager young music-lovers to one of our performances over the coming months.”