Honey, NE1 Has Shrunk the Toon!


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Young visitors to Newcastle will have an exciting new pretend-play village to explore this summer full of familiar businesses, buildings and a scaled-down Metro train – courtesy of NE1 and a team of local sponsors.

NE1’s Tiny Toon, delivered in association with Tyne and Wear Metro, is an incredible new addition to NE1’s Summer in the City activities in Old Eldon Square, complementing the other NE1 activations in the area - Screen on the Green and Play Rebellion.

Commissioned by NE1, Tiny Toon will open on Monday 22nd July, remaining in place until the end of the school summer holidays on 1st September. Kids and parents can join the fun every day from 10am - 5pm (4.30pm on Sundays).

Local businesses, Boutique Events and MCW Design, have designed and built the Tiny Toon city, complete with its own mini Tyne Bridge and Tyne and Wear Metro train. Other city additions include Eldon Square, the Theatre Royal, and a My Delhi Restaurant – all sponsored by their namesakes and lovingly recreated. All scaled-down versions of these recognisable businesses and landmarks will provide hours of free fun for children as they pretend to be metro drivers, retail workers, restaurant staff or customers…or perform on the stage of the mini-Theatre Royal.

The scope for imaginative and creative play will know no bounds in Tiny Toon and the team has worked to ensure every detail is captured as part of the designs. The Metro is a child-sized version of the new trains coming into service on the Metro network later this year, together with the same interior design, even down to the seat covers and with high-vis vests for mini-workers. The mini-Metro will even have its own platform, creating a new station for the summer, Old Eldon Square!

Thanks to support from the city’s prime retail destination, Eldon Square, the shopping centre will be recreated in miniature form with a shop, featuring a large window and stocked with different outfits reflecting films showing at Screen on the Green, or in-store activities happening in the real shopping centre. Young fashionistas will be able to dress up and play at being live mannequins in the window with ample photo opportunities for parents and carers to capture the moment.

Olive & Bean, My Delhi and the Grainger Market all have a lot to celebrate this year and were quick to collaborate and bring the fun to Tiny Toon this summer. Olive & Bean has just celebrated its 16th birthday and was keen to commemorate the milestone with a new mini-me café at Tiny Toon. The mini-village will also pay homage to the iconic Grainger Market as it undergoes its major transformation. The miniature market will be equipped with realistic-looking fake foods, allowing children to play at being grocers and test their customer service skills.

The mini My Delhi restaurant celebrates the award-winning street food restaurant and its 5 years in the city, with a hand-painted mural on the wall to replicate the colourful interior of the real restaurant. Whether they’re playing diners, chefs or servers, the pretend mini-ingredients will provide platefuls of fun.

Rachel Barlow, Head of Marketing and Events at NE1 said: 

“We’re incredibly excited about this year’s newest installation, Tiny Toon. We can’t wait to see the kids' reactions and the fun that will be had over the summer, limited only by their imagination!

“For the past few summer holidays, we’ve developed Old Eldon Square as a destination for play, and the scale of the activities has grown year on year. This year, we wanted to create something children would love that is distinctly and authentically Newcastle. We hope young people will come and enjoy Tiny Toon, fostering pride and appreciation for their city, its wonderful architecture, transport links, and businesses.”

Huw Lewis, Customer Services Director at Nexus, said: 

“We're delighted to be headline partners for NE1’s new Tiny Toon activation this summer. We wanted Metro to be a part of this project, as it aligns with our ‘kids go free’ permanent price promise, helping families access the city and now enjoy free play at the miniature village.

"The new mini Metro train, a highlight of the play space, is designed to resemble our new fleet, which we are excited to roll out as part of a £362m investment to transform the region's transport system.

“We hope families take full advantage of free kids' Metro travel and have a great time in the city this summer.”

Eldon Square, sponsors of the mini Eldon Square retail outlet in Tiny Toon, have had a close hand in designing the miniature retail outlet. Cormac Hamilton, General Manager of Eldon Square said: 

“We jumped at the chance of getting involved in this project, it is such a fantastic addition to the city this summer and gives children an opportunity to learn through play and most of all, have fun being retailers for the day. Tiny Toon at Old Eldon Square comes at a great time for us as we gear up to transform the centre with our multi-million-pound transformation. I don’t know who will be more excited, the Eldon Square team or the kids who come to play.”

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