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Aspire! Learning & Participation

Inspiring creativity

The Lichfield Festival’s ASPIRE programme for Learning and Participation was established in 2009, with the aim to offer unique engagement opportunities for the residents of Lichfield and the surrounding areas.  ASPIRE aims to engage individuals of all ages in activity which inspires, raises awareness, increases self-confidence and expands creative thinking.

Over the past 7 years the ASPIRE programme has worked with thousands of individuals in schools, community groups and partner organisations to achieve these aims.  Projects are curated by the Festival team, and are unique to Lichfield Festival.

The development of this unique project series since 2009, has earned the Lichfield Festival a strong reputation for producing high quality learning experiences and has lead to a focus on community involvement being central to the Lichfield Festival.

The ASPIRE! Programme works with an array of children, young people and adults each year on a range of arts projects, culminating in showcases at the Lichfield Festival and Lichfield Literature Festival.We are always keen to hear from schools, community organisations and individuals who would like to get involved in our projects.  We also have an open application process for artists and facilitators looking to join our pool of project practitioners.

To be added to our schools list or for other ASPIRE! enquiries please contact [email protected]


ASPIRE Past Project’s


Community Puppetry Parade

The Community Animal Parade was a large community parade through the City Centre on the first Saturday evening of the Lichfield Festival, Saturday 7 July 2018. The parade was a visually-arresting community event which finished off the first big community day of activity at the Lichfield Festival Market.

Working with professional puppetry companies, schools and community groups from across the West Midlands created giant animal puppets that processed from the City Centre to Lichfield Cathedral ahead of the performance of Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Ark). The parade also featured masks and hand held puppets created by members of the public in workshops throughout the day as well as stunning puppets created by the professional puppetry companies.

The performance of Noye’s Fludde featured music by the students from Chetham’s School of Music, joined by aspiring musicians from the local area. It was sung by a children’s choir of over 100 voices, drawn from schools across the region.

Hear My Voice

The Lichfield Festival’s Hear My Voice Scheme is an ongoing programme of work, which aims to engage with isolated groups and individuals across communities where there is little arts exposure and with those who struggle to find a means or platform to express their ideas and opinions.

Using storytelling and group-work textile arts activities in 2018 the scheme fostered conversation and understanding which lead to personal relationships and networks which will continue to move forward following the project.  Participants worked towards creating a patchwork storytelling tent using screen printed fabric and filled with the sounds of the participants stories.

From September 2018 the completed Storytent will be offered out on tour to schools, to inspire ideas for creative writing in Children.

Trench Brothers

Photo: © CLIVE BARDA/ArenaPAL;

Trench Brothers is a heritage, puppetry and music project for primary school children, which explores the histories of ethnic minority soldiers who fought for the UK in the First World War. HMDT Music’s project offers participating schools up to a term’s-worth of work that is fully integrated in to the curriculum and which includes a series of workshops with professional artists. The project builds to a performance of a new music theatre piece by Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor bringing all elements of the workshops together.

The Lichfield Festival and HMDT Music, in partnership with the National Memorial Arboretum brought the Trench Brothers project to Staffordshire for the first time. This was the only performance of this project within the Midlands area and for the first time in the project’s history, the final performance did not take place in individual schools but at the National Memorial Arboretum itself.

 The Lichfield Festival worked with a range of schools from across Staffordshire, to foster cross-cultural awareness and in hope of developing long-lasting links between them.