The UK's International Youth Arts Festival showcase for new work from outstanding young arts producers announces its 2012 programme, kicking off for the first time with a special week of participatory projects, workshops and schools engagement (29th June – 5th July).
From 29th June -22 July 2012, the streets and venues of Kingston-Upon-Thames will come alive as young people showcase the very best in youth arts selected from the UK and internationally. The latter part of the festival will explode with 18 days of performances, exhibitions and showcases of incredible youth arts from around the world, including brand-new work created only the week before!
The line-up for IYAF's fourth edition features three Cultural Olympiad projects (Bodies in Motion, Illumination and Showtime) and is a brilliant addition to London's cultural landscape in an Olympic year. Organised by the dynamic charity, Creative Youth, the festival's beautiful riverside location in Kingston-Upon-Thames means visitors enjoy the feel of an intimate event whilst enjoying world-class acts. South-west London's relaxed village atmosphere offers locals and visitors alike the chance to be inspired by culture without the hassle of central London in high summer.
With more than 20 percent of performers coming from overseas, IYAF's programme this year is truly global. But as well as celebrating the artistic achievements of young people (as young as 5, with most between 16-26) around the world, IYAF is the flagship event in a year-round programme delivered by Creative Youth that offers a springboard for new UK talent and equips British youth with the skills they'll need to build long-term careers in the arts – so visitors' support has a positive impact that carries on long after the curtains have come down.
"This year there will be over 350 events across 15 venues and an anticipated 8000 participants - if you'd have told me those figures when we set up IYAF in 2009 I would never have believed it! Importantly, IYAF showcases the highest quality of young people's work and really does challenge the notion that youth arts should be tolerated and not celebrated. Performances at IYAF have been compared to work at the National and the West End and many of our productions go on to Edinburgh to win awards and receive five star reviews. Excitingly though, you can catch them here first, and you can catch so many productions and events, whether you are here for a day or two weeks with all venues within walking distance of each other." Aniela Zaba, Artistic Director, IYAF
Opening Night (6th July) – various artists
Raise the Roof! – Kicking off the performance side with real style, this variety concert features tasters from some of the very best acts taking over Kingston in the weeks ahead. Dance, Music, Theatre and Circus are brought together in an awe-inspiring evening which will leave audiences desperate to see what the next 18 days will bring!
The Dreaming – National Youth Music Theatre will have the honour of performing for HRH The Earl of Wessex and IYAF's celebrity patrons, including Matt Lucas, at this Royal Gala Performance on 17th July. The UK's finest youth music theatre presents its highly acclaimed treatment of Shakespeare's great comedy. The Dreaming promises to bring a very special mix of mystery, magic, comedy, melancholy and haunting music to Kingston.
Punk Rock – Chipstead Players bring their acclaimed production of this shattering and award-winning play from their converted barn playhouse to Kingston's Rose Theatre for IYAF 2012. Punk Rock is an 'intense, demanding and shocking' production with a 'highly talented cast' that examines a group of sixth-form students stretched to breaking point as they approach their finals.
Carnival Camp – Inspirational artists from three leading carnival companies come together to lead workshops to make costumes, headdresses, flags and giant puppets! The creations will be shown off in all their glory during the carnival procession on Sunday 8th July. Visitors can come for an hour or the entire week for a flamboyant, creative, colourful experience.
Farewell My Concubine – Lee Wushu Arts Theatre brings Wushu martial arts performance to the UK from Malaysia with an interpretation of a classic Chinese legend that merges dance, drama and fighting techniques to depict a simple and incredibly moving story of spirit, passion and devotion.