The newly formed Fun House Arts CIC and St Mary in the Castle are delighted to announce that Fun House Festival, an immersive arts festival for families, will be returning this summer Friday, August 23rd.

For a ticket price of £12 per child, families can take part in relaxed drop-in sessions making bespoke Fun House memorabilia to take home with them. Families can also book on to smaller-scale workshops, at no extra cost, run by local artists and educators. Children will leave with an armload of Fun House fodder to remind them of their day.

Once again, the festival will be split into morning and afternoon slots when booking so that each family can have the opportunity to experience everything on offer and have more one on one time with the artists, without having to fight through a crowd.

This year, the festival will be working with a raft of new and dynamic artists who will offer a range of activities for families to take part in. Common Clay, a ceramics studio project in Hastings run by Carla Wright will be running a brilliant new session where kids will create their own ceramic forest. The Amazing Art Cart will bring its versatile mobile art station to the festival and Theatre Rotto will be delivering an incredible series of performances and workshops for families in both time slots. Little Mashers will also be back, working with kids to create incredible prints which they will design and make on specialist equipment.

This year, a key addition to the festival will be the Fun House Exhibition, scheduled 3 weeks after the festival itself. The exhibition will take over St Marys for a second time and will include some of the collaborative work created during the festival alongside the work of individual families. Fun House Arts know how important it can be for children to see their work being exhibited. The directors said “we know that for kids, having fun and developing new arts skills is an incredible confidence boost, especially for those who suffer from anxiety or low self-esteem. What better way to double up on that confidence boost, than to curate a special exhibition so that young people can see how their new skills can be used and how seriously their work should be taken. After the festival last year, we desperately wanted to show people some of the incredible group work that was done too, so we have created an opportunity for that to happen.” 

The exhibition will be free to visit and families who sign up on the day will be reminded of the dates and times so they can bring their children back to see their work.

Fun House Arts are so happy to see the festival return this year and plan to develop a longer-term programme of work all year round. Hastings and St Leonards continue to develop as exciting cultural hubs for artists and makers, but there remains a serious issue with the way in which young people can access that creative scene and learn more about the making techniques which are not taught in school. The directors said “we hope that the festival can form a part of the essential push that many organisations are making across the region, to give children access to the arts. We know that developing art skills can vastly improve emotional and mental wellbeing amongst young people, but schools are under so much pressure to deliver work which only speaks to the core subjects, that they are not able to invest as much time and effort into art as they would often like to. We hope we can be one of the organisations which fills that gap, and which reaches children who really need the kind of fun and joyfulness that art can provide.”

Fun House Festival is taking place on Friday 23rd August. The morning session will run from 9:30am to 13:00pm and the afternoon session will run from 13:30pm to 5pm. St Mary in the Castle will be running a bar with tea, coffee and snacks for children available.

Get your tickets here.

For more information follow @funhousefestival on Instagram and visit the website now