Scotland gives top New York arts centre its first live classical music and theatre experience for babies


Our five star show Hup will cross the Atlantic this month to give Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, USA, its first live classical music and theatre experience for babies. 

Hup was developed specifically for babies during a 2013/14 artist residency project in which Starcatchers Associate Artist Hazel Darwin-Clements and musician and composer Abigail Sinar spent six months working in nurseries with the show’s target age group. Their research culminated in a relaxed, comfortable and intimate performance that combines live classical music from two violins and a cello with a heart-warming storyline about an inquisitive raccoon. 

The show has since toured to critical acclaim across Scotland, Canada, Macau, and Hong Kong. It will return to Edinburgh and Stirling this month before making its debut in the US at RVCC, New Jersey and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York. 

Russell Granet, Executive Vice President of Lincoln Center Education, said: “Shared arts-going experiences strengthen bonds between parents and children no matter what the age. 

“We’re so pleased to present this classical music experience designed for babies – a first here at Lincoln Center. “Starcatchers’ production is a beautiful work equally powerful for adult caregivers as for the little ones for whom it was so thoughtfully devised. 

Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “The positive impact that participation in artistic experiences can have on even the youngest babies is often underestimated. Their response to a beautiful piece of classical music and theatre, for example, can be extremely powerful. Experiences like Hup allow us all, including babies, to ‘be in the moment’, to explore the world with all of our senses and encourage dialogue, connection and empathy. I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing Hup to US audiences for the first time.” 

Co-creator Hazel Darwin-Clements, said: “During the residency we spent time in nurseries exploring the instinctive response of very young babies to classical music and incorporated this into a live music experience specifically for them.

“We wanted to make a playful, warm, surprising show for the youngest audiences and the grown-ups who come with them.

“It’s so exciting to see how this show has grown – from the delighted response of a 9-month-old here in Scotland as they experienced hearing a violin for the first time to reaching audiences across the Atlantic.

“I love making theatre for babies because it surprises adult audiences, who can’t quite believe the natural, instinctive, joyous response of children who are so young.” 

The original concept for Hup was inspired by the delivery of the Arts and Business Scotland People Award-winning residency project Nickum, piloted by Starcatchers and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2013/14.

 A work in progress toured nurseries in Aberdeen, Scotland during March and April 2014. After securing funding from Creative Scotland, Hup was developed and then toured to critical acclaim across Scotland the following year. In 2016, Starcatchers toured Hup to festivals and venues in Canada, Macau and Hong Kong before returning to Scotland to deliver a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the Made in Scotland Showcase.

This year, with support from Creative Scotland’s Made in Scotland Onward Touring Fund, Hup will delight new audiences in Scotland and travel to New York and New Jersey in the United States.

Find out more about Hup on our production page