Monday, 21 October 2019

Many happy returns: performers come back for 25th youth festival

PAST performers will be back at this year’s Henley Youth Festival to help celebrate its 25th anniversary.

They will take to the stage at the Kenton Theatre alongside this year’s young performers as part of the traditional gala night.

Some of them will return from university to perform while others who are living abroad will send in videos and messages.

A school which took part in one of the singing workshops led by Lucy Hewes, of Henley Rock Choir, will also take part.

The festival, which offers art, music, performance and sporting activities for young people aged from four to 18, will take place from March 10 to 18. Events include the Go Kids Run, Gig Night at Lovibonds and the Junior Proms at Shiplake College. The Senior Proms, Entertain, Sing and Dance evenings will be held at the Kenton in New Street.

The full programme will be launched at the d:two centre in Market Place on Wednesday at 7.45pm. Anyone is welcome to attend.

School workshops will again feature heavily this year, offering every child in Henley the opportunity to take part and try new activities. Jo Dickson, co-chair of the festival, said: “We have some firm favourite workshop providers who come each year and are always popular. These include Explorer Dome, the Young Shakespeare Company and Little Blue Monster, which was previously called Blunderbus.

“We also try to bring in at least one new workshop each year and see what the schools think of them. This year we have Urban Strides, a street dance company, coming and we are very excited to see what they will be doing.”

There will also be local artists with support from South Oxfordshire District Council and the Arts Society Henley, formerly called HEDFAS.

Lily Rossiter, who runs a children’s club at the Henley School of Art, will be working with primary and secondary schools.

She and other artists are keen to produce something that the schools can use again, so they will be making bunting that the school can keep, lanterns and a collage. There will also be numerous workshops running in schools.

Alison Flower, the art workshops co-ordinator, said: “We want to be as sustainable as possible and create art that the schools can use throughout the year at their events and celebrations.”

The festival is sponsored by the following: the Henley Standard, Harpsden Wealth Management, Philip Booth, Henley Town Council, Thamesfield Youth Association, Henley Educational Trust, the Arts Society Henley, South Oxfordshire District Council, Henley Lions Club, Penningtons Manches, Henley Royal Regatta, Invesco Perpetual, Henley IS, the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge, the Henley Business Partnership, Shiplake College, Rupert House School and St Mary’s School.

Organisers still want to hear people’s memories of the last 25 years. You can email these to or share them on social media using #HYF25.

For more information or to take part in the festival, visit or email

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