Starcatchers launches Scottish showcase for UK-France Spotlight on Culture ©

Brian Hartley

Thursday 25 April 2024

Starcatchers, Scotland's arts and early years organisation, based in Wester Hailes in Edinburgh, travelled to France last week to present their acclaimed co-production with SUPERFAN, "Little Top" at Les p’tites tommettes festival in Creil, France.

The show launched the Scottish showcase for the British Council's UK-France, ‘Together We Imagine’, Spotlight on Culture, which is building artistic collaborations and celebrating the cultural links between the UK and France throughout this year.

Set in a specially designed ‘little top’ circus tent the show is designed to create a magical first circus experience for babies aged 0-18 months. At a time in their development when young children are discovering their own physicality, and the pleasures and perils of gravity, Little Top invites babies to experience all the fun of the circus.

Rhona Matheson, CEO of Starcatchers, is delighted to bring Little Top to France:

 “Little Top transports you to a playful, joyous, upside-down, topsy-turvy world where people can fly, patterns fill the air, and anything is possible. We are excited to present our award-winning show, a co-production with SUPERFAN, at Festival Premières Rencontres."

The festival appearance strengthened Starcatchers' partnership with French arts company Compagnie ACTA, following their recent Erasmus+ collaboration exploring topics around artistic awakening in early childhood. The two organisations have already collaborated to share research findings and exchange best practices in arts for the early years. Starcatchers and Compagnie ACTA presented research at PREMIERES RENCONTRES festival 2024’s European Forum in March. The Early Childhood Principles were developed by Starcatchers, Compagnie ACTA, 2turvenhoog and LaSala Teatre.

Rhona Matheson continues:

"We are very grateful to the British Council's UK-France Spotlight Fund for this invaluable opportunity to strengthen our international connections, said Matheson. It was a huge privilege to showcase Scottish work on this platform as we deepen our understanding of what artistic experiences can mean for very young audiences."

Starcatchers is one of six Scottish-based awardees to receive over £100,000 in funding from the Spotlight on Culture Fund programme, funded with partners including Creative Scotland and the National Lottery. Their festival presentation is part of a wider celebration of UK-France cultural partnerships happening throughout 2024, coinciding with major events like the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Norah Campbell, Head of Arts, British Council Scotland added:

“What a wonderful opportunity for very young children to experience the magic of physical theatre for the first time. This is an excellent example of how through cultural exchange, artists can come together to share groundbreaking research and performance.

We’re proud to help bring this innovative work to France, a fabulous start to this year's UK-France Cultural spotlight activity. All the projects are now helping to maintain vital links between Scotland and France, and creatives across both countries are coming together to connect, collaborate and form lasting relationships.”


Rosalind Gould, Media and Campaigns Manager, UK Nations, British Council  



Notes to Editor

About Starcatchers:

Starcatchers specialises in arts for early years. They create inspiring and engaging performances, and drive development through creative engagement with children from birth to age five.

About the UK-France Spotlight on Culture 2024

In 2024, an exciting programme connecting Scottish based artists with counterparts in France will feature six projects from across art forms. Projects include: a co-production between Cryptic in Glasgow and Station Mir through sound and digital art, exploring the endangered natural heritage of our coral reefs. Meanwhile, University of Aberdeen are collaborating with La Pie qui Joue, Rennes to celebrate Scottish female folk musicians and to make their legacy more accessible to new and wider audiences.

Read more about the Scottish projects funded through The UK-France Spotlight on Culture:

  • A co-production between Cryptic and Station Mir will feature the first collaboration between artists Alex Smoke (sound and music) from Scotland and Paul Duncombe (digital art) from France. Exploring the endangered natural heritage of our coral reefs, the project will cross music, digital arts, biology and the environmental emergency with poetic exploration and ecological claim. The project will be presented at Festival ]interstice[ in Caen (May to August 2024) and Sonica Festival in Glasgow (September 2024).
  • A collaboration between Glasgow International and CAPC Bordeaux will feature a co-production of a new performance-based work by Glasgow-based artist Tako Taal, with public performances in both locations. These performances will take place in June 2024, as part of Glasgow International Festival and CAPC’s L’Academie des Mutantes.
  • Following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in June 2023, Dovecot Studios and the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie in Aubusson will produce public displays in Aubusson and Paris in Summer and Autumn 24, of 21st C tapestries created in Scotland with women artists. The project will also support inspiration and exchange between Scottish and French artist-weavers studying and creating new artworks. The collaboration will work French artists artist to be displayed in Scotland this year.
  • Take Me Somewhere, Glasgow / Festival Actoral, Marseille. This collaboration includes a Scottish focus on radical performance within Festival Actoral in Autumn 2024 centring approaches to sustainability, equity, diversity inclusion and accessibility. It will increase both organisations’ understanding of French/Scottish showcasing and provide residency opportunities to build lasting relationships between French and Scottish live art practitioners whose identity reflects or whose practice responds to issues of environmental justice, decolonisation, queer/trans politics/lived reality/disability.
  • The collaboration between the University of Aberdeen and La Pie qui Joue in Rennes, with innovative research at its centre, will celebrate Scottish woman folk musicians and make their legacy more accessible to new and wider audiences. Music will be intertwined with literature from underrepresented Scottish authors. A series of performances and workshops will take place in a range of venues in Brittany in Summer 2024.
  • Following on from their Erasmus+ collaboration on artistic awakening in early childhood, Starcatchers Productions and Compagnie ACTA strengthen their partnership through the presentation of Starcatchers’ award-winning production Little Top at Festival Premières Rencontres in April 2024. They are sharing their research findings and exploring and developing new opportunities to expand exchange of experience and best practice between companies, artists and practitioners working in arts for early years.

The UK-France Spotlight on Culture activity continues the British Council’s work, building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. To find out more about the British Council’s work in Scotland visit, or follow on Twitter, Facebook

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s cultural relations and educational opportunities organisation. It supports peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2022-23 we reached 600 million people