Thursday, 21 October 2021

Dr Squabbles is back with his red van as youth festival begins

Dr Squabbles is back with his red van as youth festival begins

A FREE art event will be held in the town centre during this year’s Henley Youth Festival, which starts tomorrow (Saturday).

Children’s artist Dr Brian Squabbles will use his red van full of unusual objects to encourage children to create their own, imaginary worlds for Art in the Square in Market Place next Saturday (March 18) from noon to 3pm.

Kate Swinburne-Johnson, co-chairwoman of the festival, said: “We wanted to provide a free event to encourage people from the wider community to get involved with the festival.

“We already run a series of workshops in local schools but Art in the Square will be an opportunity for parents to see for themselves how their children can benefit from the festival.

“Dr Brian Squabbles is a firm favourite in our programme and anyone is welcome to come along and join in the fun.”

The festival, which is now in its 24th year, has the theme “Journeys” and will make greater use of school workshops to coach the children for performances at the Kenton Theatre in New Street.

Pupils from Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common will spend the day with West End performer Jonny Vickers before performing musical theatre at Entertain on Thursday.

Students from Gillotts School in Henley will be collaborating with Victoria Porter, of DanceDesign Choreography, to produce a routine for Dance on March 18.

Another highlight will be a special schools workshop to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Henley Decorative & Fine Arts Society.

Children will create a batik banner in honour of the society, which has been a longstanding supporter of the festival.

There will also be a samba drumming event for disabled children at the Chiltern Centre, off Greys Road, tomorrow.

Other events are as follows:

Saturday, March 11 

HYF Go Kids Run at Swiss Farm (school years 1 to 6), 8.30am to noon.

Gig Night at Lovibonds Brewery (school years 9 to 13), 6pm to 10.30pm.

 Sunday, March 12 

Junior Proms at Shiplake College (school years 1 to 6), 11am to 4pm. Young musicians perform or sing their favourite pieces in front of an audience. 

 Wednesday, March 15

HYF Proms at the Kenton Theatre (school years 7 to 13), 7pm to 9.30pm. Secondary school children perform classical, folk and jazz  on their own instruments.

 Thursday, March 16 

HYF Entertain at the Kenton Theatre (school years 1 to 13), 7pm to 9.30pm. The festival’s very own variety show. Performances will include poetry recitals, stand-up comedy, musical theatre, gym routines and magic shows.

 Friday, March 17

HYF Sing at the Kenton Theatre (school years 3 to 13), 7pm to 9.30pm. Solo and group performances by young singers, including the renowned Henley Youth Choir led by its new conductor Peter Asprey. 

 Saturday, March 18

HYF Young Dancer at the Kenton Theatre (school years 1 to 4), 1pm to 3pm. A series of short dance routines performed and choreographed by the festival’s younger participants.

HYF Dance at the Kenton Theatre (school years 5 to 13), 7pm to 9.30pm. A second dance concert showcasing the talent of older school children.

Prizegiving for the writing competition at the Bell Bookshop, 11am.

 Sunday, March 19

Prizegiving for the art and film competitions, 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

An exhibition of entries for both competitions will be shown in the River & Rowing Museum’s education centre from 11am to 4.30pm on the Saturday and from 11am to 2.30pm on the Sunday.

For more information about the festival, visit

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