Teenagers’ festival take-over puts a focus on social activism

A group of 15 teenagers have worked on the Handover event, which will form part of the Norfolk and N

A group of 15 teenagers have worked on the Handover event, which will form part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2019 Picture: Vicki Maitland - Credit: Archant

Kicking off day one of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2019, Handover is a festival in a day organised entirely by young people from Norfolk while attracting speakers from across the world.

A group of 15 teenagers have spent months planning an event which explores social activism and creates a space to question ideas and controversies. Handover is part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2019 line-up and takes place this Saturday from 10am at Anteros Arts Foundation.

The festival organisers, all aged 15-17, have been responsible for every aspect of the event, including booking the speakers, planning promotion, designing the promotional material, managing the budget and selling the tickets.

Handover includes interactive workshops, performances and talks, including a world premiere performance from Jenny Lindsay, one of Scotland's leading spoken word poets as well as talks from Mariam Khan, author of It's Not About the Burqa, and award-winning American journalist John Dennehy, who will be talking about immigration, borders and breaking down divisions.

The Handover Festival organisers are: Mathilda Arminger, Paston College; Martha Dack, CNS; Elizabeth Davy, Hartismere High School; Taryn Everdeen, Paston College; Beatriz Feiteirinha, Dereham Northgate High School; Tomas Frere-Jenkins, Hewett Academy; Hayden Lewis, Thorpe St Andrew; Nicky Matthew, Springwood High School; Grace Murray, Norwich School; Amelia Platt, Litcham School; Eleanor Sparks, Hellesdon High; Joel Starling, Hellesdon High; Grace Stewart, Access to Music; Maud Webster, CNS; and Billy White, Norwich School.

As a collective, the group says: "This is probably the most interesting thing we've ever done; this has been such a unique opportunity to create an event that represented what we, as young people, want to see. It's been amazing to be around so many positive and talented people and we can't wait to see the final result of all our hard work and planning."

The festival is taking place as part of the City of Literature programme, organised by the National Centre for Writing for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2019. The project is funded by the European Union under the Creative Europe fund and supported by Pen Catala. As part of the project the young people visited a literature festival in Krakow, Poland, which like Norwich is a UNESCO City of Literature.

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Peggy Hughes, programme director at the National Centre for Writing, says: "From Scottish spoken word to award-winning American journalism, the Handover festival line up, exploring politics and activism, demonstrates that the future of festivals is very bright. The team have demonstrated remarkable commitment, focus, imagination and energy to devise this festival, and will be pulling out all the stops to guarantee an unforgettable day."

A 'pay what you can' pricing structure will apply to enable the festival to be as accessible as possible.

Tickets for the Engage festival are available from www.nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk or on the door.