The Ark Celebrates Creative Europe Funding News!

We are delighted to share the news that The Ark will be the recipient of funding for two Creative Europe projects that we are part of, that will be starting later this year. Grants from this highly prestigious fund are sought by artists and organisations across Europe, so we are hugely proud and excited to receive funding for not one but two projects at the same time, the first time that an Irish arts organisation has achieved this from Creative Europe.

The two projects that have been funded are:

  • The Big Bang Project which involves 12 partner organisations and aims to enrich and broaden the quality of music performance currently on offer to children across Europe.
  • PUSH+ which is an artist and art form development project involving five European partners. PUSH+ will stimulate European dialogue and initiate new artistic ideas and performances around three important topics in performance for young audiences – Home, Failure and Different Bodies.

Speaking of the news, our Director Aideen Howard said, “We are delighted to receive funding for two exciting Creative Europe projects. We look forward to working for the first time with 11 new European partners on the Big Bang Project led by Zonzo Compagnie in Belgium and to sharing exciting new music for children with audiences and artists alike at The Ark. Following the success of the recent PUSH project which has just concluded we look forward to working on PUSH+ with our four wonderful partners and to expanding the opportunities for artists further over the next three years.

Delivery of these large European partnerships requires infrastructure and artistic capacity which in the case of The Ark has been funded by the Arts Council since our founding in 1995. That ongoing investment, over decades, in turn, allows organisations like The Ark to think ambitiously and to secure additional funding from Creative Europe. It’s a tribute to the dedication of The Ark team that we have not secured one but two projects!

We are grateful to the Creative Europe Desk in Ireland for their support and encouragement.”

Katie Lowry and Audrey Keane from The Creative Europe Desk Ireland echoed this delight “We would like to congratulate The Ark on the achievement of two successful projects, PUSH+ and BIG BANG. We recognise the enormous work and commitment that has gone into securing this result. These projects with bring benefits to both audiences and the arts sector here and we look forward to seeing them unfold!”


BIG BANG is a network of adventurous international music festivals for young audiences with festivals taking place annually in 11 cities across Europe from 2019 -2-23 including Dublin. The BIG BANG project is dedicated to music for young audiences aiming to enrich and broaden the quality of music currently on offer to children in Europe. All of the festivals present an exciting mix of high quality music performances across musical genre within a programme of international and local musicians.

Across the 4 years of the funding, the BIG BANG partners will present a total of 44 festivals for children in 11 European cities in 9 European countries, inviting artists from all over Europe and thereby influencing the development, the creation and the programming of music performance in each country. This will open doors for musicians from Ireland to other BIG BANG Festivals across Europe as well as giving The Ark the exciting opportunity to programme international musicians of the highest quality to children in Ireland.

BIG BANG project was initiated by lead partner Zonzo Compagnie (Belgium) who are an award-winning production company that specialise in creating exciting and stimulating music performances and projects for children. BIG BANG was awarded with the European EFFE (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) award in 2015.

Professional music performance specifically for children remains an underdeveloped area and The Ark is really excited to be a part of this project as it will help us take new strides forward in helping to develop the sector for musicians and music in Ireland.


  • Lead partner: Zonzo Compagnie, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB), Lisbon, Portugal
  • The Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels (BOZAR), Belgium
  • The Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece
  • Opéra de Rouen Normandie, France
  • Eesti Kontsert, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Instituto De La Cultura Y De Las Artes De Sevilla, Spain
  • Opera De Lille, France
  • Wilminktheater, The Netherlands
  • The Espoo Cultural Centre, Helsinki, Finland
  • The Ark Children’s Cultural Centre, Dublin, Ireland
  • Project Media partner: MotorMusic (BE) is a company that specializes in the recording (audio/video) of musical productions will capture the Big Bang festivals across Europe

About PUSH+:

PUSH+ involves five European countries and will stimulate European dialogue and initiate new artistic ideas and performances around three important topics in performance for young audiences – Home, Failure and Different Bodies. These are topics that push us to take more risks as makers and presenters, to address the underrepresentation of different lives and bodies on our stages and to tell stories that really connect with children and who they are.

Each topic will have a year-long artistic and communications focus to maximise its impact and profile. We will explore each one alongside three artistic formats to inspire experimentation with form as well as content. These formats - Participatory, Site-specific and Intergenerational - are all styles of performance that have been identified as gaps in the sector while also offering us more direct, and sometime interactive, contact with our audiences.

PUSH+ has grown from the learning and results of PUSH (a 2-year small-scale co-operation project supported by Creative Europe and the Arts Council, that concluded in Summer 2018) and from the desire to take that learning to the next level. PUSH+ is a progression of the concepts, ethos and partnerships within PUSH, progressing its learning to offer more in-depth investigation. New activity includes Residencies (to create works in progress), Festival Presentations (to showcase these works), an International Workshop (to connect with a Third Country), a Symposium and a strong focus on diversity. You can read about the first PUSH project here.

PUSH+ Partners:

  • Imaginate Festival, Scotland
  • The Ark, Ireland
  • Krokus festival, Belgium
  • Aaben Dans, Denmark
  • SWOP/Showbox, Norway

And Associate Partner Bangkok International Children’s Theatre Festival

The Ark gratefully acknowledges the support of its principal funder the Arts Council and also its other annual supporters: the Department of Education and Skills, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, Dublin City Council and UNESCO Dublin City of Literature.