South West London’s Creative Youth Launches Online International Youth Arts Festival Digifest

IYAF Digifest
IYAF Digifest

Creative Youth, a charity based in Kingston upon Thames, South West London, is launching a digital arts festival for young people in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Taking place online from Friday 3 – Sunday 5 July 2020, the Festival will give young people from around the world an opportunity to share new work created during lockdown and debate the future of the arts with industry professionals.

Creative Youth has historically delivered a ten-day festival in Kingston every summer but cancelled the original programme of activities in March due to the pandemic. Many international relationships and discussions had taken place by this time, so the decision was made to transfer the work online.

International Youth Arts Festival Digifest, delivered with support from Arts Council England, includes a series of panel talks led by young creatives covering topics including diversity, mental health and working internationally.

Audiences are invited to take part in the festival by watching online or getting involved in the live panel discussions through Zoom.

International collaborations
Youth Theatre Kenya
Founded in 2015, The Youth Theatre of Kenya (YTK) is inspired by the successful National Youth Musical Theatre in the UK and the company developed out of two tours to the International Youth Arts Festival.

The YTK story begins in 2009, during the very first performance of ‘Kesho Amahoro’. At the time, Lizzie Jago (YTK Artistic Director) and Ben James (YTK Chairman) were both teachers at Braeburn Gitanga School, whilst Mimi Mutahi (YTK Director) & Jazz Moll (YTK Director) were both Year 7 Students, performing as lead roles in the play.

Two years later they would reprise their roles in London on the Rose Theatre stage during the International Youth Arts Festival, and a year later would take their first steps into directing with ‘Albatross: Wings of Freedom’. It was here in the UK exposed to so much drama and theatre, that the YTK was birthed. The Festival has worked with the YTK team to create new digital work for 2020.

City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong
The Festival features a collaboration with City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong with a digital performance based on Bug Symphony, the award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Nick Harvey and Scott Ligertwood.

Bug Symphony features British comedy duo Scotty & Lulu and a stellar cast of 40 Hong Kong-based actors, singers, dancers and musicians in a stunning array of bug costumes. Presented by City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Bug Symphony was premiered in 2015 to rave reviews and won the Public Choice Award at the YAMawards in Portugal in 2017.

Petra Jane Tauscher, Festival Director of International Youth Arts Festival said:
“International Youth Arts Festival Digifest is a celebration of the creative spirit of young people throughout this unprecedented period of lockdown. We have so much admiration for all the young artists who have worked with us over the last months to produce such an exciting programme of work.=

IYAF Digifest offers an energetic and eclectic weekend of music, drama, dance, circus, visual art and theatre with companies performing from as far away as Hong Kong and Kenya as well as UK artists presenting brand new pieces of work. Accompanying the performances, our series of panel discussions, ‘So You Wanna Work in the Arts’ will discuss and debate the major issues facing the Arts today and in the future. Join us for a weekend of performance, inspiration and debate!”

All listing information can be found at www.iyafestival.org.uk.

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