Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Youth festival returns but a little smaller than usual

HENLEY Youth Festival will have fewer attractions in the market place this year.

HENLEY Youth Festival will have fewer attractions in the market place this year.

In previous years, Falaise Square has hosted art events, games, BMX demonstrations and musical performances but a lack of resources means the festival will be reduced in size for its 20th year.

Popular attractions such as art workshops, the film competition, theatrical performances and the Stonor Run will return at various venues during this year’s week-long festival next month.

Artist Charlie Burns will cut out silhouettes of children in the square and Tara Cole will bring Daisy, her retro ice cream van that will sell hot chocolate.

Tina Jacobs, a member of the festival’s steering group, said: “We will have a banner in the square and there will be someone there telling people what’s going on but it’s not going to be a big affair like last year.

“We’re just making sure we’re keeping a focus and can deliver on the things we’ve got.

“The main planks of the festival are still there and the only thing people are likely to miss is the party in the square because we haven’t been able to resource it. Hopefully, the activities in the square will return in the near future.” This year’s highlights will include the Young Shakespeare Company, which will perform Julius Caesar, the Gomito Puppetry Workshop and Street Feet Dance.

The Explorer Dome, which includes a workshop on space, will return to Friends Meeting House on March 14.

Organisers are appealing for more bands to perform at the gig night at Henley Youth Centre on March 8.

Art activities will kick off on Saturday, March 2 and the following day artist Peter Rush will hold a wire, plastic and paper sculpture workshop at Henley Youth Centre. Last year, the freelance illustrator brought a 9ft praying mantis to the square. Youngsters can attend either or both days and choose what to sculpt from materials provided.

During the festival’s Big Weekend from March 15 to 17, there will be free art workshops for children aged five to 18.

Cartoonist James Parson, from the Crazy Comic Club, will run four hour-long workshops for under-14s on the Saturday on the festival’s theme of “Back to the Future”.

The workshops will involve making X-ray specs and creating time travel magic pictures. Fire the Inventor will visit the d:two centre on the same day to hold a practical workshop combining art, science and technology for children aged eight to 14.

All the workshops are free and sponsored by the Henley Decorative and Fine Arts Society. To book a place, call Jane Gray on 07913 184548 or email jane.gray@btclick.com

An art exhibition will be staged at the youth centre from March 15 to 18.

The Stonor Run for school years three to six will take place on the Saturday from 9.30am to noon at Stonor Park.

The following day, screenings of entries to the film competition will be shown at the Regal cinema.

A Facebook page for the festival was created last year and it now has more than 200 “likes”.

Ms Jacobs said: “The Facebook page has taken off this year and a lot of young people ‘liking’ it means we can get in touch with them directly rather than through schools.

“We hope the festival will begin to be run by young people for young people in the future.”

The festival will take place from March 10 to 16. For more information, visit www.hyf.org.uk

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