Get Creative Youth Takeover at Riverfront Arts Centre, Newport

On Saturday 9 September young people from all across Wales and around the UK got together at Newport’s Riverfront Arts Centre for a one day spectacular youth takeover event.

The projects and performances were all inspired by UK native wild flowers and plants and were funded by Grow Wild’s Get Creative. Not only created and performed by young people, the successfully funded projects were selected by a panel of young people as well. They ranged from a steel band to puppetry, silk acrobatics, interpretive dance, drama and more. Here’s a flavour of the day…

The first performance of the day, Growing Up by Louby Lou Storytelling, packed out the auditorium with their sold out show. And it’s fair to say that children and adults alike loved the colourful interactive performance.

Next up, multi-award-winning theatre company ThisEgg highlighted the plight of the bee and invited everyone to get involved by joining the Bee Party. Not only that, but audience members could take real action to help these important pollinators by taking away a packet of native wild flower seeds after the show.

During lunch, Contrast Steel Band Juniors struck up a lively ensemble in the lobby, after some ominous looking rain clouds led to the last-minute decision to move the whole band inside. After a mad dash when the heavens finally opened, they played a pitch perfect set. All the more impressive as this was their first ever performance without an adult lead.

The afternoon’s performances kicked off with the mesmerising Symbiosis by Emma Cat. Silk acrobatics performed against a projection of time-lapse photography. Gasps could be heard from the audience as Emma twisted, climbed and spun on her silks, several metres above the ground.

Regeneration by Zak Douglas and the Wolverhampton Youth Theatre made for a powerful next act. Their emotional performance, created through a combination of poems and diary entries, tells the story of the men who fought in WW1 and highlights nature’s ability to regenerate in the face of manmade destruction.

Pain In The Arts got messy with a whole lot of hay for their contemporary piece portraying the life cycle of wild flowers.

Poppy Edwards made for a fantastic penultimate act with her interpretive dance piece based on her knowledge of native flora.

And to wind up the day, Ben Hughes and his puppet Chippy performed a live comic strip, featuring cheeky jokes for children and adults alike. 

In addition to a full day of performances the Riverfront was host to a installations including Sensory Roots, an interactive and participatory wild flower installation created by a local group in partnership with deafblind charity Sense. Lettering artist James Lewis created a stunning table planter, with living grass spelling out the word Thrive.

Each performance and piece brought something new to the day. By the end of the afternoon, when the crowd began to disperse, it was obvious everyone was going away having learned a little about the importance of our native wild flowers. But even more importantly, everyone went away inspired.

Learn more about Grow Wild Youth Projects 

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