Education & Family
by Aspect County

Art Shines Bright in Hastings

Art stimulates the imagination, boosts self-esteem and creativity in children and should be available to all. The mission of the new arts education charity, The Bright Foundation, is to nurture creativity in children and young people facing disadvantage. On Thursday 9th June 2022 stars of stage and screen attended the launch of The Bright Foundation and the official opening of the Barn Theatre and Museum at Rodgers Farm in Hastings. The new museum and theatre opened to spark imaginations, enhance wellbeing and ignite new interests through quality educational, cultural experiences, regardless of background.

1 John Bright Piper Wren Jim Broadbent

John Bright & Jim Broadbent at the Opening of the Barn Museum & Theatre with Hastings Young Writer Piper Wren © The Bright Foundation & Patzi Shepperson

The launch was the realisation of the vision of philanthropist, John Bright, one of the world’s leading period costume designers and costumiers. Whilst he may not personally be a household name, for over half a century, through his costume house Cosprop, John has brought characters and moments in time vividly to life on stage and screen. From The Charge of The Light Brigade (1968) to Poldark, Evita, Pirates of The Caribbean, The Crown and Downtown Abbey to name but a few. In 1987 he was awarded a BAFTA and an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for A Room With A View, alongside designer Jenny Beavan.

2 Jeremy Irons Sinead Cusack John Bright

Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack and John Bright at the Opening of the Barn Museum & Theatre © The Bright Foundation & Thom Kofoed

4 Family Launch Festival THE GREENHOUSE by Sophie and Marie Nuzel Photo Khali Ackford Trinity Centre

Family Launch Festival – THE GREENHOUSE by Sophie and Marie Nuzel – Photo ©Khali Ackford (Trinity Centre)

It is through John Bright’s generosity that the Foundation has been established and he has bequeathed most of his personal estate, including Cosprop, to help fund the charity in perpetuity. The ongoing programme of events and activities include school visits, summer schools, performance projects, cross-curricular learning, wellbeing retreats, volunteering, family festivals, skills training and career support for young people wishing to gain an insight into the creative industries.

5 Barn Theatre and Museum c The Bright Foundation Darren Traynor

The Barn Theatre and Museum © The Bright Foundation & Darren Traynor

John Bright’s contribution to the entertainment industry is unique and legendary.” Hugh Bonneville said. The Bright Foundation will ensure that a whole new generation has the opportunity to explore the what ifs of imagination and the arts. What a legacy, what a gift.”

Situated in a stunning rural location, the museum and adjacent theatre hosts family events, school visits, lectures and workshops for young people to develop their creative talents. Free access to the Barn Theatre and Museum is available to schools, colleges and community groups, initially across East Sussex and in the longer term much further afield.

For further information about the Bright Foundation or simply to get involved visit the charity’s website.