Performing Arts Students at Solihull College & University Centre have been impressing audiences with their latest show ‘Festival 16’.
The show ran for three days showcasing 16 performances, covering themes from the refugee crisis, body image, abuse, self-esteem, relationships and violence. If offered students the opportunity to create with the freedom to collaborate with classmates or others from the art department. Many students held auditions to cast roles in their pieces.
Talyaan Pambou, 17, created ‘The Moonwalker’, a piece on the evolution of the dance through the ages. ‘This project was a real trial and error experience’ he admits ‘if you’re passionate about dance and have a voice then this course offers so many creative outlets. I used to have anger issues but this has helped with that. I can really give the audience the message I want to tell them. It’s almost therapy.’
‘Not Enough’ a piece about body image by Terri Nevin, 17, featured on the second night. Terri created a short film that answered questions on body image and the struggles young people face surrounding their image. The 11 minute performance featured a documentary with interviews and a solo performance piece. ‘This festival has helped me grow in confidence. It’s about keeping an audience connected and attached to your piece, which is no easy task’ Terri comments.
Lance Ray created ‘A Refugee’, a story using real life experiences through ‘verbatim theatre’. The debate style allowed the audience to have their say, question things throughout the performance and make changes if they wanted.
Tutor Kelly Casey was impressed with the dedication and variety of what she saw. ‘Students have worked really well autonomously. We have had students from across the art department involved in the performance on a number of different levels. In a political climate where young people’s voices really need to be heard, these platforms are especially relevant. The project has been very collaborative and has really helped the students learn to contextualise their work in a festival fringe environment’.