Spun Glass Theatre - new family venue for Hastings

by Spun Glass Theatre in Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom

Total raised £5,342

raised so far



Help us raise much needed funds to finish creating a mini theatre and event space designed for little ones, children and their families.

by Spun Glass Theatre in Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 6th December 2022 we'd raised £5,280 with 67 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

- Baby changer - £140

- Stocking up the teas, coffees and other drink and snack offers - £200

- Decorating costs - £1,250

-Sensory Fabric ring suspended from the ceiling - £371


Our vision for The Mini Playhouse is to create a destination for a whole new generation of theatre goers; reimagining programming for a younger audience and creating events which bring children, parents, and siblings together. A space designed to immerse babies, toddlers and children in the magic of live performance.


We have found a home for Spun Glass Theatre in Hastings and St Leonards, bringing the local community together and providing excellent cultural opportunities for children from all backgrounds. We have been led by Creative Director Ross Drury with an excellent design team Emma Chapman and Graphite Design who are based in Hastings. All contractors to create the space are local too. 

Once set up on the seafront our weekly programme will include:

Workshops at 10am Monday - Friday for parents and babies/young children including music, our popular First & Second workshops, arts and crafts and more. All led by fantastic local artists. 

From 12pm we will run as a free to access Play Cafe, with coffees, drinks and snacks on offer as well as play offers like Lego and messy play.

Each evening the space can be used for yoga classes, pregnancy/parent support, antenatal classes and rehearsals. 

At the weekend and in the holidays we will run a wide variety of theatre and performance events as well as holiday clubs, birthday parties and more! 

We have great support from wonderful arts companies and artists in the town including The White Rock Theatre, Hastings Contemporary, Little Mashers, Out of the Bag Theatre, Soundcastle, Arts on Prescription and many more.


Spun Glass Theatre gives families the opportunity to play and be creative together in a beautiful and inspiring setting. The added opportunity to see live performances including music, puppetry, storytelling and theatre provide a unique offer. Installing an accessible toilet at ground floor level means young children can use the space comfortably. We're also putting down a soft cork floor which means babies can crawl and toddle safely. The floor is also very comfy for adults to sit on and for classes like yoga!

The Mini Playhouse Creative Director Ross Drury says "Theatres are made for grown ups. The Mini Playhouse is a space made specifically for early years, children and young audiences. A theatre that reclaims the spirit of play within both live performance and the audience, serving as a destination point and trend setter for families and the theatre experience. The design is inspired by the company's extensive practice creating children and early years performance and workshop activity with a vision of creating a setting that will be the renowned host of families at the theatre whilst inspiring the best kind of performance and creative acts in this field. We hope to inspire a whole new generation of theatre goers and cultural engagement, repurposing the way the theatre industry considers hosting and programming for a younger audience and to create events that bring children, parents, siblings and the whole family together."

Here are the ground plans for our renovation

You can see how the different spaces will be used to create exciting events and provide a place to play and relax for families.


We have secured £29,000 for the overall development of this mini theatre from Arts Council England and £10,000 in investment from us as a company - we need this further contribution of £5,000 as the space on White Rock we have leased doesn't have a ground floor toilet, which is essential for young children, and to fund purchasing all the resources, books and play equipment we need. 


We will be undertaking the following works aiming to be finished by early December 2022. We have already raised £40K which made this possible. 

- Remove all existing infrastructure and furniture and make the venue safe (work has begun on this!)

- Building toilet - install toilet, sink, walls and door, tile the space.

- Painting walls

- Laying soft cork flooring

- Fitting theatre seating which is soft and fun to climb on!

- Building a sensory wall - a fractured textured stained glass window effect wall with objects like buttons and marbles inlaid so children can touch and explore the different textures

- Installing professional lighting and sound equipment in the mini theatre space for magical theatre experiences

- Mural art work on the front of the building

We need your help for the final push, the final money needed to make this space a reality. We need to raise £5,000 to cover these final costs:

- Installing a book nook with a sea view in the window £1,439

- A big table and chairs for a welcoming cafe space - £400

- Lots of books for the library snug area - £300

- Resources and toys for our free, open play sessions - £300

- Theatre curtains - £600

We have set the crowdfunder at £3,000 at all or nothing. We have then set a stretch goal at £5,000 to cover everything we need including:

- Baby changer - £140

- Stocking up the teas, coffees and other drink and snack offers - £200

- Decorating costs - £1,250

-Sensory Fabric ring suspended from the ceiling - £371


We are offering some great rewards for our supporters including free Birthday Party hire worth over £200, our Seaside Activity Pack for 0-3 year olds created with our workshop groups this summer for £30 & free drinks until 31st August for just a £40 pledge!

A bit more about Spun Glass Theatre - the company behind this idea                    

Why are we doing this?              

The Spun Glass Theatre project started with our creative programme of workshops and performances for 10 weeks engaging 150 parents and babies aged 0-18 months in Spring 2021. Since then we have connected with over 500 parents through our regular weekly workshop programme - First, one off sessions and our online community. Connection, story-telling and friendship are at the heart of First workshops with two facilitators leading each group. This allows one to focus on the parents and the other to focus on the babies allowing us to truly understand the needs of both. Baby changing, feeding, cuddling, crying are all welcome and expected.         

Every week, we invite both parent and baby to explore different themes together through sensory activities, music, movement and visiting live performance artists, in an open and relaxing environment. Parents experienced our workshops holding, feeding and nurturing their child, two separate people yet completely linked. We quickly observed that when parents and babies were able to engage with live performance within a setting they were comfortable in their responses to the work transformed.

‘Such a friendly welcoming environment.’ parent feedback


Originally, we intended to make our own show, inspired by the stories parents were sharing with us about lack of sleep, joyful moments and the big changes that parenthood brings, and tour to studio theatres. During the creation process parents in our groups told us they had low-confidence in taking babies to a live performance. They would feel self-conscious if their child cried or they needed to move around, so much so they would avoid the theatre completely.                

Our previous national touring experience includes a number of family productions, where we have seen first hand that spaces specifically designed for families are few and far between. These spaces were not geared to holding a baby while keeping a toddler engaged meaning parents couldn’t go alone, only with another adult - driving up the costs to families. A major gap exists where both parent and child could feel uninhibited and free to experience the arts comfortably.

There are many wonderful companies doing early years work - what is missing is the space which puts both the child and parent centre stage, which truly responds to their needs, freeing them to comfortably enjoy the experience together.


The Covid lockdowns have had a huge impact on the confidence parents feel in taking their young children to new places. Many have become used to staying at home and 48% of those surveyed by Family Action say they have less motivation and confidence compared to how they felt pre-Covid. By creating this attractive
and accessible performance space we will help to bring people together and create new demand from families for art and artists.        

Covid also shone a spotlight on how vital the arts are in helping to develop intrinsic human qualities, from a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development to building shared experience and communication between parent and child. The arts provide a forum for creativity, freedom and exploration unlike anything else.     



Spun Glass Theatre is an award-winning theatre production company based in Hastings, East Sussex, founded by Jessica Cheetham. Spun Glass Theatre blend groundbreaking theatre making with excellent community engagement.

We are a young, dynamic theatre company creating theatre productions for all ages with experience in traditional theatres, schools, community settings and developing early years activities. Each project is built from the ground up with its intended audience, ensuring that the end result is delightful, entertaining and meaningful.

Since having our own children we have learnt first-hand the importance of the arts for the cognitive, emotional and social development of our little ones. We have discovered the lack of appropriate facilities for this age group in our home area of Hastings and St Leonards.                                

'It's great that this is being done by parents of small children, you really understand what we need' parent feedback

We have ambitious plans for the future, and are developing a tourable version of the Spun Glass Theatre, bringing amazing arts experiences to young children all across the country...but that is just an idea at the moment :) 


 To keep in the loop about our future plans and this crowdfunder please join our mailing list HERE                       



This project offered rewards

£100 or more

Free Birthday party

The Mini Playhouse is a perfect spot for a child's birthday party, with lots of fun play resources and a chill out sensory space in the theatre itself. Have lots of fun acting out stories and celebrating together! + your name on supporters wall.

£10 or more

Your name on our supporters wall

We will add your name to part of the sensory wall in the Mini Playhouse, thanking everyone who was generous in supporting us to finish this amazing journey.

£25 or more

Be part of our art

Many parents have the baby grows, hat and little jumpers that your children wore and have a special resonance for you. Maybe it's the outfit they wore home from the hospital, or a special gift from a family member. We are creating a patchwork artwork for the library snug area and with this reward you will buy a place for your item in this artwork + your name on supporters wall.

£30 or more

Activity Pack for 0-3 years

Our Seaside themed activity pack was created by Early Years Specialist Abi Horn working with our First parent and baby groups in St Leonards and Brighton. It's packed full of fun ideas you can easily recreate at home + your name on supporters wall.

£40 or more

Free drinks!

Enjoy free drinks from our opening date until 31st August 2023! Tea, Coffee, Milkshakes - all free! We'll give you a card to show when you order + your name on supporters wall.

Show your support

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