News Column

Making dreams come true

June 10, 2014



By Alix Norman

Calling all young families: the First Nicosia Youth Arts Festival is launching next weekend, with a jam-packed schedule of fascinating workshops, thrilling performances and lots more besides. Two-and-a-half days of theatrical activities designed for youngsters by youngsters (and the young at heart), this is a festival you absolutely won't want to miss.

Organised by Little Box Theatre in collaboration with ARTos and the Aigaia School of Art and Design, the event has been created to offer a platform to young people in Cyprus to perform and exhibit their artwork: a mix of amateur and professional performers, dancers, musicians and artists all aiming to inspire a youthful audience and promote the arts in Cyprus.

"The festival is a collaboration of as many young artists as I could find or bring together to showcase their artwork," says Eleni Cosma, Founder and Artistic Director at Little Box Theatre. A theatre graduate with years of experience working as a teacher both in Cyprus and the UK, the Festival is a project she feels is very much needed on the island. "The idea came from my work as a drama teacher here in Nicosia," she says. "I've always worked mostly with younger children, but teaching in high schools has made me see the amazing amount of talent and enthusiasm for the arts that exists on the island, especially among teenagers.

"Talking to them, you see how much of a passion there is for younger people to make their dreams come true through art it's something that often goes away at a later stage in life when you get caught up in paying the bills and so forth. And I really wanted to inspire and support youngsters who are interested in following a path in the arts, creating a platform so that they feel their art is actually appreciated and encouraged by an audience."

Working in collaboration with ARTos (who have been extremely supportive of the project, offering their theatrical spaces around the city for free) and the Aigaia School of Art and Design (whose specialised facilities have been made available to participants) the festival will take place in a number of locations within Nicosia. "We've been offered a lot of artistic spaces that permit us to include different kinds of art in the festival," Eleni says, adding that there's even a wonderful rooftop venue which will allow for outdoor evening performances.

The diversity of venues is well matched by the variety of events on the programme, and Eleni mentions that she was overwhelmed by the number of artists who wished to be included. "I held an open call for artists to send in examples of their work, and I've tried to choose people who are doing something a little bit different from the norm," she explains.

With non-stop workshops interspersed with performances, the two-and-a-half day event will feature "interesting people doing interesting things. We have a creative arts team doing a 90-minute combined workshop which includes music, theatre and art; workshops on forum theatre and on applied theatre for young people, a drumming workshop and an animation workshop focusing on video mapping, to name just a few," says Eleni.

"There's also an area with art projects, food, drink and music," she adds, mentioning that it's an ideal event for the whole family. "The morning events are aimed mostly at younger ages, such as an amazing performance of Alice's Wonderland from the Little Muse Theatre. And then in the late afternoon and evening the programme is directed more towards young people and teenagers." With each day concluding in either a musical event or a film projection, the festival really does offer something for everyone who's young at heart.

With all the performances created by people under the age of 35, any age restrictions with regard to attendance will be clearly marked on the programme. "The full schedule is available on the website, and the programme is available at various locations around Nicosia, such as schools and bookshops," says Eleni. "And we've deliberately kept the cost of attendance extremely low so that our audiences are able to experience all the amazing events of the weekend."

With tickets for each show a mere 1, and those workshops offered by professionals all priced under 5 per participant, this is an event that's accessible to all. So, if you've been wondering how to instil your kids with a love of the arts while remaining within budget, the First Nicosia Youth Arts Festival is the place to be. Don't miss out.





1st NICOSIA YOUTH ARTS FESTIVAL

June 13-15 at ARTos Foundation. For more information, the full programme of events and exact ticket costs visit the website www.youthfestivalcy.com or call 99 832370 or 22 445455

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Source: Cyprus Mail


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