HX Youth Arts Festival take the stage

June 12, 2019 by Perthshire Creates

Excitement is building in households across the area as the much anticipated annual Horsecross Youth Arts Festival begins on 12 June.  Showcasing the dedicated work of Perth’s young performers and the fantastic performance opportunities the city has to offer.

The Youth Arts Festival will be full of young talent taking to the stage in a range of mediums. Perth Youth Theatre, Horsecross Glee, Streetcrew, Perth Youth Dance Company and more make up over 300 5-18-year olds who will be performing over the five days. Young Playwrights, Let’s Dance Kids (free dance classes for children and teens with learning or physical disabilities), Perth’s Rural Youth Theatre groups, and Perth’s Autism Youth Theatre Group also join the programme.

Join In groups like these have provided thousands of young people with opportunities to experience the arts for over fifty years. Perth Youth Theatre alumni include world famous actor Ewan McGregor and BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Rhod Sharp. This year, with the inclusion of Scotland’s first autism youth theatre group and a production by the Perth Youth Theatre seniors of Pronoun, which follows the journey of a transgender man, Perth’s youth arts opportunities build this prestigious legacy and continue to push the envelope.

The performances by Perth Youth Theatre are testament to the creativity and imagination of all those involved. The Primary 1-3’s have been using the magic of theatre to ponder magic doors to new places. They ask, ‘If you went through a magic door where would you want to go?’. Primary 4-7 D’s get the audience involved to help solve a murder mystery before it’s too late! Time travel and audience participation are all part of this play with twists and turns at its core. Primary 4-7A,B,C’s have been collaborating with Perth Museum & Art Gallery to present Make (You) Believe, inspired by the recent immersive Only in Whispers – The Myths and Legends of Perthshire exhibition which ran at Perth Museum until 9 June. P4-7A,B,Cs welcome you to join their sleepover, where they’ll share their most loved scary stories and deliberately freak each other out. You can catch all three of these productions on Sunday 16 June.

Perth Youth Theatre at Horsecross. Image www.fraserband.co.uk

Perth Youth Theatre’s S1-2s have devised their own performances for the festival this year and invite audiences to enjoy their double bill of totally original work, written, directed, and performed in house. The S3-4s meanwhile have worked with another Perth Youth Theatre alumni, Ava Broughton-Stuart. Together they have adapted the classic myth of Icarus. While S3-4’s devised the idea, Broughton-Stuart put together a script of their work. The familiar story of Icarus has been given a fresh new adaptation for this performance. Perth Youth Theatre’s seniors are performing Evan Placey’s Pronoun, the story of a transgender man, Dean, assuming his male identity. With Placey’s script having been described as captivating and thought-provoking, this production is sure to ask difficult questions sensitively and explore often neglected topics of gender identity. All of these performances will take place on Saturday 15 June.

Perth’s Autism Youth Theatre group have also devised their very own original production showing on 14 June. This is in partnership with Perth Autism Support. Horsecross Arts has been providing a place for Perth’s autistic youth to engage with performance arts since 2012. This year, this fantastic opportunity for autistic children and teens in Perth has been made possible by The Jimmie Cairncross Charitable Trust and The Ellis Campbell Foundation. Blackadders have also been great supporters of Perth Youth Theatre Juniors. The grants and sponsorship from these organisations have been invaluable in helping Perth Youth Theatre enrich the lives of budding young performers.

Perth Youth Dance Company is made up of an ensemble of young people from S1 to S6. Together they have worked with their tutor Lucy Wilson to present Silver Alchemy and 4:3, incorporating poetry and art into dance respectively. Silver Alchemy is the work of local poet Jim C. Mackintosh, penned during Platform 2018 in response to the Portrait of an Artist Exhibition, and will be performed accompanied by a specially created sound score. 4:3 has been inspired by the work of  BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Ross Hogg, recently announced as winner of the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at the Vienna Shorts Festival 2019. The piece reflects upon Hogg’s work including his exhibit, also called 4:3, which can currently be viewed in his first solo exhibition in Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold artspace.  Streetcrew will be showcasing what they have been working on this year with fun, dynamic choreography based on the urban art of street dance. The Youth Dance Showcase is taking place on Sunday 16 June.

Perth Youth Dance Company at Horsecross. Image www.fraserband.co.uk

This year, the Let’s Dance Kids group will be taking to the stage for their first performance. Let’s Dance Kids is a group for 11-16 year olds with learning or physical disabilities. Let’s Dance Kids would like to pay a big thanks to The Guildry Incorporation of Perth and Gordon Fraser Charitable Foundation for their funding. This upcoming performance will surely be the first of many in the years to come.

Horsecross Glee, supported by the Walter Craig Charitable Trust, will be accompanied by a live band as they explore a diverse range of styles and songs. Composed of Primary 1s, all the way up to S6s, the three groups will sing individually but come together for a fantastic finale. Listen to their musical stylings on Friday 14 June.

Glee at Horsecross. Image www.fraserband.co.uk

As well as onstage opportunities, the Youth Arts Festival will once again support a work experience programme over the duration of the week. Three young people will be offered a valuable, insightful experience, as they join the department running the festival. This will allow hands-on experience of working in the theatre and running events like these.

The Festival will culminate on 16 June with the Join In Awards, a chance to acknowledge and thank Perth Youth Theatre’s most inspirational, creative, and dedicated members. This will be a celebration of all the hard work put in over the year and what this work has produced.

Tickets for these performances are available at www.horsecross.co.uk and from the Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre Box Offices or by phoning 01738 621031.

Copy kindly provided by Heather Maycock, working as a Perthshire Creates Content Volunteer, one of the various volunteering opportunities available within Culture Perth & Kinross