New Youth Arts Festival to celebrate creativity and empower young people

By Amanda Wilkins - 18 June 2024

Arts and CultureAttractions
  • Fom left to right: Arlo Carter, Erin Fletcher, Morgan Thomas, Clarissa Boyce-Johnson.

    Fom left to right: Arlo Carter, Erin Fletcher, Morgan Thomas, Clarissa Boyce-Johnson.

Swindon will welcome a brand new youth arts event, Signal Festival, which will feature a fortnight of performances, career talks and workshops from Monday 22 July to Sunday 3 August 2024.

Signal Festival aims to cultivate art, support artists and enrich audiences. The event will bring a dynamic mix of performances, participation, professional development and pop-up surprises all around the town.

The main goal of Signal Festival is to be as easily accessible as possible to all audiences. 

The festival is led by six young producers, all under the age of 28, who grew up and create work in Swindon. All six are involved in the creative industry, from visual art and theatre to music and dance.

Swindon’s young people provided the initial spark for Signal Festival. In 2023, Swindon Borough Council conducted the Swindon Taskforce Secondary School Survey which asked students what they liked most about the town. The overwhelming response was "Nothing." This feedback, along with results from the Needs Analysis for Wiltshire and Swindon, 2023 shaped the vision for Signal Festival.

Following the echo of these feelings, the young producers got together and set themselves the task to create a Swindon where art is accessible to all and young people are empowered to create it.

Their motivation is to highlight the exceptional work being created by Swindon-based artists, raise awareness of the creative opportunities around the area as well as empower the younger generation to embrace their creativity and know that they can be successful and supported here.

To launch Swindon's first ever Signal Festival, an Opening Showcase will be held on Tuesday, 23 July at Swindon Dance. It will be an evening of music, dance, theatre, film and spoken word from a range of local artists.

On Wednesday, 31 July, Swindon Arts Centre are housing Swindon's first ever theatre and film careers event, facilitated by Get into Theatre.

On Friday, 2 August, Signal Festival is taking over Town Gardens for an entire day of pop-up performances and creative arts workshops. Anyone can take part in the performances or simply sit back, relax and take in all the breakthrough talent on the Band Stage and the Bowl Stage.

Signal Festival is a collaborative effort, fuelled by funding from Arts Council England and partnerships with key local organisations such as Prime Theatre, Swindon Borough Council, GEL Studios, and The Listening Fund.

The festival is also backed by a number of other key sponsors, such as the National Trust, Swindon Wyvern Theatre, Museum & Art Swindon, STEAM and Create Studios. Some of these organisations are providing venues which will host a number of events throughout the fortnight. 

Arlo, Erin, Clarissa, George, Morgan and Riley, Producers of Signal Festival, said: Living in Swindon, you can’t ignore attitudes about the town and its potential. This often means that young people have to fight to create opportunities for themselves.

“Signal Festival is a chance to bring us all together, celebrate our talents and invest in our development. We want to empower all young people to create art and communities where they are, instead of feeling like they always have to find it elsewhere”.

Mark Powell, creative Director of Prime Theatre, Founding Partner of Signal Festival, said: “Signal Festival is the living response to the Producers’ consultations with other young people about Swindon’s arts and culture. They want more opportunities, more positivity and more celebration of youth talent. 

“It’s great to be one of the many organisations and artists answering their call to action. Signal Festival should be a step change in how we all work together to design and deliver a more creative future for the town”.

Find out more about Signal Festival and book tickets here: www.signalfestival.co.uk

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