Reimagining Rotherham as the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture

This summer, see Rotherham through the eyes, ears and actions of its young people with a host of family-friendly events planned as part of the borough’s journey to become the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture in 2025.

The journey to 2025 starts now, with a host of opportunities, events, and activities for children and young people in Rotherham aged 0 – 25. This includes the Young Producers programme, which has given 16-to-25 year olds a golden opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge, and experience while working part-time to help Rotherham become the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture.

In a bid to retain talent and create a place young people can thrive, over 50 Young Producers traineeships were created at some of the town’s leading leisure and tourism sites: Wentworth Woodhouse, Gulliver’s Valley Resort, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), Grimm & Co, Magna, Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR), Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST), The Source Academy, and Affinity CIC.

Hundreds of young people aged between 16-25 from across the borough applied to take part in the project, a platform to upskill and access life-changing training opportunities.

All Young Producers were selected for their vision, hopes and aspirations for the town rather than qualifications or experience. Coming from a range of backgrounds and abilities, some have been through college and university and looking to take the first steps in the careers, while others have an innate creative flair. Placements were chosen based on where they thought they’d like to work, as well as where the Children’s Capital of Culture team thought their skills would shine brightest.

With a brief to create a series of colourful, family-orientated summer events, the Young Producers were given autonomy and independence to crack on with their plans, while also encouraged to endorse ideas when pitching and presenting.

Working under the wings of some of the town’s biggest cultural influences, all of the young people have learnt invaluable on-the-job skills, collaborating to share ideas and harness their individual strengths. From planning and design to promotion and delivery, every aspect of hosting events has been the responsibility of the Young Producers.

Clifton Park will see two events taking place. The first is an ongoing exhibition at Clifton Park Museum that tells the story of the Children’s Capital of Culture and showcases objects from the museum’s collection linked to different generation’s experiences of youth and childhood. In July, a mysterious sculpture will appear somewhere in the park, designed by Young Producers with the help of innovative outdoor artists, Kaleider.

At Rotherham’s magical literacy charity, Grimm & Co., Young Producers have been conjuring up schemes to chronicle a festival based on how stories are performed to younger audiences. Imagination has also been a powerful attribute for ROAR’s Young Producers who are working with local artists to host an event with a strong environmental focus based on the mythical Thurcroft guardian trolls.

Upholding Rotherham United Community Sports Trust’s ethos of improving sports participation, their Young Producers have been building up to launch a pop-up museum at New York Stadium, working with schools to assemble a dance routine based on Rotherham’s Arthur Wharton, the first black professional footballer.

At Wentworth Woodhouse, filmmakers and animators of the future have had an exciting opportunity to film, edit and present short films at the grand stately home known for its allure as a TV and film location, working with high-tech kit such as augmented reality, auto-cue, multi-cam and three-point lighting machines. One team are creating a music video based on mental health, while the other is organising an immersive film premiere complete with red carpet and paparazzi. Their idea includes creating a quest through state rooms in the house, where guests can get involved by jumping into sets, experiencing augmented reality, and taking part in filming.

As well as the traineeships already in place, there are also other opportunities for young people to take their first steps towards a bright future.

A Young Creatives Network has been launched to help those aged between 11-25 develop their skills, confidence, and creative talents. There are a wide range of inspiring workshops, classes and events of opportunities covering everything from games design and filmmaking to journalism and marketing.

The Source Academy is also delivering drop-in skills sessions at Riverside Library this May for people aged 13-25. The sessions will provide individual advice, career guidance and support with CVs and interviews. Sessions will cover a broad range of topics including first aid and fire marshalling, stress management, growth mindset, resilience in the workplace, and interview techniques. There is also an opportunity to achieve a Level 1 award in customer service or work skills.

The whole programme has been made possible thanks to funding of over £1.8m from the UK Community Renewal Fund, as well as additional funding from Arts Council England and RMBC.

Free events this summer

Into the Realm of Possibility, Clifton Park Museum

On until Sun 5th June

Pop-up exhibition exploring childhood and youth culture in Rotherham over the generations. Take a nostalgic journey back to your youth with toys, games, fashion, memorabilia, music and much more. Arts activities running throughout the exhibition.

For more information, visit

Gulliver’s Arts Fest, Gulliver’s Valley Resort

Tues 24th to Thurs 26th May

An interactive three-day festival for year five children from Rotherham schools. Art trails around the theme park, workshops in dance and circus skills, presentation about creative job opportunities. Limited places for Cultural Camp residential; a night of storytelling, shadow art, and musical arts by the campfire.

Headteachers of Rotherham primary schools can book directly with Gulliver’s Valley

Grimm & Co’s Festival of Stories, Linger Longer Lane at Rotherham Old Town Hall

Tues 31st May, Weds 1st June and Sat 4th June 10am-4pm

Fuel your child’s imagination at this literary festival with a difference, bringing stories to life through performance, music, dance, and artefacts. We can’t release the beasts just yet, but we have it from good authority from Grimm’s elves that the festival will be full of surprises and magical events

Bookable and drop-in sessions – find out more at

Rotherham United exhibition, New York Stadium

Launch day Sun 5th June. On until Tues 30th August

See the new pop-up museum at NYS highlighting the history of Rotherham United. Interactive displays, artefacts and a living memories video have been curated. On launch day, there will be a performance by local schools and community groups of a 32-step dance routine in honour of Arthur Wharton, the first professional black football player who began his career in Rotherham.

For more information visit

Get Up To Speed with Culture & Leisure, Magna Science Adventure Centre

Weds 8th June 9.30am-4.30pm

Young people looking towards a career in culture or leisure don’t want to miss Magna’s popular GUTS interactive employability fair in partnership with the Work-Wise Foundation.

Children and young people aged 8-25, along with their parents and teachers, are invited to meet some of South Yorkshire’s employers from creative, hospitality, sport and tourism industries. Hands-on activities and real-life experiences with links back to the curriculum.

Book your place at

Troll Fest, Thurcroft Rec

Saturday 25th June

Join the team at ROAR and Thurcroft Creatives for a day to celebrate a love of nature and protecting the planet. Expect creative workshops and activities, a stage for performances, food and drink, and the arrival of a walking troll puppet. This ecological event is based on Thor of Thurcroft, an environmental champion and guardian troll created by artists Lenny and Whale.

More information

Sonder Productions film premiere, Wentworth Woodhouse

W/c 20th June

An immersive event with a quest around the house to learn about the skills involved in film production, such as VR technology, set design, filming and music performance. Premiere of short factual films and music videos produced by film makers of the future.

There will also be a showing of the film made from the winner of Wentworth Woodhouse’s script writing competition in 2021.

Kaleider sculpture in collab with RMBC Events

Clifton Park in July

A dramatic public sculpture will appear in Rotherham overnight, changing familiar spaces and bringing wonder and joy, while asking questions about who we are and our place in the world. Throughout the weekend there will be pop-up and spontaneous performances to surprise those who are passing through the park.

Check RMBC Events Facebook page for more details

Get involved in the Children’s Capital of Culture programme


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