• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
  • leftlayout
  • rightlayout

Family First Nights 2018

Family First Nights: 2018 Highlights

Share the news! Download and share the pdf version of this article 

Families unite at A Gran' Day Out

Celebrating 20 years of Family First Nights in 2018!

2018 marked the 20th edition of Family First Nights and our spectacular summer programme was our biggest yet, with 506 families from 31 London boroughs visiting the theatre for the very first time, including 1192 children.
Families had a choice from 33 top West End shows, including 15 musicals, 6 plays, 1 concert and 11 shows for younger children. The most popular shows were Thriller Live, Dream Girls, and Wicked. 15 lucky families participated in free workshops for The Little Mermaid, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Barmy Britain. Families also attended special ‘relaxed’ performances of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Aladdin and a BBC prom, as well as an audio described performance of A Monster Calls.

Generations united at 'A Gran' Day Out'

To celebrate two decades of Family First Nights, we held our first ever ‘Gran’ Day Out’: a day of inter-generational theatregoing fun which united young families with their elder relatives and carers. On 16th August, family members ages 7 to 92 came to St Martin’s Theatre to enjoy a matinee performance of the long-running show The Mousetrap, as well as participate in pre-show activities including face painting and a 'whodunnit' competition during the interval. Suffice to say, a gran’ time was had by all! 

A GRan' Day Out


Celebrating talented young artists

Nick Sharratt

To mark the 20th anniversary we ran a special art competition inviting young people aged 5-16 to send in illustrations of ‘the magic of family theatregoing’. Entries were judged by two of Britain’s most famous children’s book illustrators: Nick Sharratt - who illustrated Dame Jacqueline Wilson's best-selling Tracy Beaker series - and Tony Ross, whose work features on all the Horrid Henry books. Our 3 lucky winners each received signed books and £100 worth of gift vouchers to spend at Cass Art.

Entry to our 20th anniversary art competition

Creating unique family learning experiences 

The Little Mermaid workshop
We collaborated with the teams behind The Little Mermaid, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Barmy Britain to run free workshops for 15 families, providing them with the chance to learn more about the themes, stories and characters of each show.
The workshops offered a unique opportunity for the whole family to come together to learn and experience something new together: including circus skills at The Little Mermaid workshop and an exclusive tour of the National Portrait Gallery during the Barmy Britain workshop.

Supporting child literacy

The Scarecrow's Wedding book cover

This year’s programme featured many shows adapted from iconic children’s books. So, to encourage children to develop their literacy skills and read the books before or after the performance, we partnered with three publishers to offer families free books with their show tickets.

Books were kindly donated by Harper Collins (Mr Stink and The Tiger Who Came to Tea), Walker Books (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and A Monster Calls) and Scholastic (The Scarecrow’s Wedding) and distributed to families, who welcomed the addition to their theatregoing experience: all saying that it helped their children to understand the plot and inspired them to read more.

The results!

Young theatregoer at The Mousetrap

We received hundreds of wonderful comments back from the families, theatres and all those who participated - thank you!  Based on the feedback received in our evaluation forms, we're thrilled to say that: 

 98% of families said the experience has made them more likely to visit the theatre again

96% of families said Family First Nights had helped to improve their child's/children's wellbeing

98% said it had brought them closer together as a family

On behalf of all at Mousetrap Theatre Projects we'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in helping make this spectacular year happen.    

To our partners: Thank you to all 116 of our amazing partner organisations who made this incredible year possible - including the 14 new organisations who came on board through our partner referral scheme. And congratulations once again to the team at SIGNAL FAMILY SUPPORT for winning this year’s Family First Nights Partner Organisation Award!

To our funders: Huge thanks to The Society of London Theatre, The Childhood Trust and The Wates Foundation.

To the show producers: Thank you to the generous producers and theatres who subsidised the cost of their tickets to enable 506 families to attend the theatre this summer.


The whole experience was perfect. From the telephone help to the show. Our favourite thing has to be the pleasure of being in an outdoor theatre on a nice warm day! Thank you for the opportunity!

I had such a fantastic day out with my nan we both love theatre and it was so lovely to spend such quality time together. I will really remember the day as it was so special and unique and brought me and my nan closer together.

The workshop was fantastic, my daughter and I were engaged from start to finish - very well run!


Contact Us

Mousetrap Theatre Projects
33 Shaftesbury Avenue

t: 020 7632 4111
e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Follow us! 

Registered charity number 1053434