WordFest – a new celebration of the arts for Croydon youth

By - Thursday 7th August, 2014

Something’s stirring in the library. It’s time to spread the word about Croydon WordFest, says Rachael Phandey

WordFest offers Croydon’s young people new routes into expressing their creativity.
Photo author’s own.

Croydon Libraries, Apples and Snakes, the Croydon Youth Arts Team, Club Soda and young people aged 11-19 have worked together to develop a programme of free events across Croydon this summer. During the early part of summer 2014, WordFest offered a series of workshops in creative writing and performance (singing, rapping, lyric-writing) – all of these free of charge to its young users. This is possible as WordFest is funded by the Arts Council England – the first time Croydon has been the direct recipient of such funding.

The first WordFest took place in Croydon back in 2012 and introduced an exciting new way of looking at words and celebrating the arts. Giving young people a chance to explore creative writing, journalism, rap, dance and drama, WordFest aimed to engage with the youth of Croydon allowing them to explore the written and spoken word in new and innovative ways.

This year has seen Croydon WordFest take things to the next level with the involvement of Young Producers, a core group of young people driving the project. From now until the project comes to an end at Christmas 2014, the Young Producers will be encouraging their peers to co-produce their own arts events.

WordFest reaches out to those who wouldn’t normally visit a library

On 13th August the Young Producers will hold auditions from 2pm – 5pm for an open mic performance event at Thornton Heath library: young musicians, poets, rappers and musicians are welcome to come along and perform, whether or not they have been involved in the earlier stages of this year’s WordFest. The finals show will take place on 15th August from 5pm – 6:30pm.

On 16th August they will stage a flashmob, with dancing, singing and other verbal performances. Rehearsals will take place at Stanley Halls from 10:30am onwards, then performances around Norwood during the afternoon.

The grand finale of the summer will be a Carnival of Books. On 27th and 28th August young people are invited to make costumes around literary themes then participate in a parade on Saturday 30th August. Spaces at all these events are limited but still available to .

Giving young people a chance to explore creative writing.
Photo author’s own.

One of our Young Producers, Rianna, explained what the opportunity has meant to her so far,From this role my confidence has improved when meeting new people. I also think I will gain skills from this experience that will help me in my future career plans, as well as skills for my CV, UCAS and other application forms. I would definitely recommend other young people to get involved with similar projects.”

The Wordfest workshops, shows and public events of 2014 will culminate in a grand celebration and Festival of Words Carnival in December.

So why not plan to start the New Year 2015 with a new perspective about what your local library can offer you – and what you can also bring to it?

To book any of the above events, or call 07887 781361. To find out more, take a look on Facebook (Croydon WordFest 2014) or follow on Twitter @croydonwordfest

Rachael Phandey

Rachael Phandey

After doing an Art Foundation at Croydon College and an HND in Graphics and Illustration at KIAD Maidstone, I returned to Croydon College to complete my Graphic Design degree in 2002. To fund my way through studies I worked at Croydon Clocktower as an Arts assistant working alongside many talented and inspiring people within the Arts. I lived in Purley for 7 years working in marketing and advertising and have been a freelance Graphic Designer since getting married and having my two children. Croydon’s culture has had a great influence on me and it will always have a special place in my heart. This is why I am so proud to be working on the Croydon WordFest and promoting the opportunities this project brings to young people in Croydon.

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