What can I do with the family in Newcastle and Gateshead? We talk to Juice Festival
Last October, Juice Festival filled Newcastle upon Tyne with inspirational and exciting arts, crafts, films, live music, dance, circus by day, museums by night and many more with one aim: to celebrate and encourage the creativity of children and young people in NewcastleGateshead. The Family Arts Campaign team had a fantastic time there, and so did the Team Juice - formed by young festival leaders that create, programme and produce the festival. We think that Juice Festival is such a great opportunity for families and young people from all backgrounds to get together through the arts, that we want everyone to be aware of what went on there during the festival's last edition. These are some of the Juicers' experiences that we believe express the amazing human and artistic quality of this festival:
On the final Saturday of the festival I was lucky enough to work all day assisting Ingi Jensen, Icelandic comic book artist, running drop-in workshops. Ingi and I spend the Comic Book Takeover at Seven Stories helping children and young people invent characters and stories to become part of their own comic books. We worked in the gallery space encouraging children to think about the structure of a comic and different settings, and also overlooking the river making drawings of characters – my favourite was the one eyed unicorn who was nervous because he lived in a cave inhabited by bats! I love the vast imaginations that children have, and throughout the day I was constantly surprised by the incredible, intricate, hilarious stories I was told. It felt amazing to know that these children could work so closely with a professional artist who would listen to them and their ideas, inspiring and encouraging the next generation of illustrators and artists, writers and storytellers.
There were so many fantastic parts of Juice Festival but some of the best for me were getting to be right in the centre of the action at Zest Theatre and Half Moon Theatre’s wonderful post-Brexit play ‘What Once Was Ours’. I also loved the chance to try out the Von Turr Salon and going for a wonderfully imaginative ride on Blackpool Pleasure Beach just though my senses!
During Juice Festival, families, including young and old, could enjoy outstanding work created by, for and with children and young people as well as a family-friendly programme delivered by regional, national and international artists. This year’s headline event was Our Time, which took place on Saturday 21st October at Great North Museum: Hancock. This event was for young people and young adults 16+ and had been created and produced by Team Juice. Our Time is a creative and positive response by young people’s to the Freedom City programme. We would like to share with you a review about this event that was written by a member of the Team Juice:
Our Time - Reviewed by Natalie Royal
What a night! If there was ever a venue packed with an electric atmosphere and people from all walks of life; it was the Great North Museum: Hancock this Saturday night. Our Time excelled in being an event enjoyed by all.
The museum was an amazing venue, stunning building and great inside space for hosting the event. The main stage was set up along Hadrian’s Wall, hosting live music from Skimstone Arts’ Young Artist Collective and Voguing performances from Curious.
Arriving early gave chance to see artists set up their space and explore before the event began. Newspaper pages hung along the stairwells and large lettering reading “WE ARE CHANGE” ran along the upstairs railing. The message was loud and clear: this is our time, we are change and we can change.
Skimstone Arts performed twice across the evening on main stage featuring songs about war and poverty to discrimination. These young people displayed true passion about these matters and aimed to spread the word. Performances from Excelsior Academy’s Young Writers City also captivated the audience with a heartfelt poem and a rap about racism: “black or white we’re all the same.”
The Free Underground Press by Jade Blood was a fun, hands on, workshop. Activities on offer included print-making, banner creating, badge designing and using a type writer. Upstairs World Artists exhibited their prints about freedom, selling postcards of their designs.
As well as showcasing their voguing on the main stage Curious Arts also held two 15-minute dance workshops for all to get involved. Upstairs you could find their expressive make-up station, all things glitter and sparkle. The lovely Crystal worked her magic taking inspiration from star signs, favourite colours or seasons. Collectively they were definitely #queeringthespace.
The food and refreshments were great and fairly priced. Inside the bar had a selection of beers, wine, cider and soft drinks whilst outside stood a sweet shop full of options to satisfy one’s sweet tooth. Local company Ugly Duckling was also on hand offering tasty burritos individualised to order.
Our Time proved to be a great event hosted by Juice Festival. Each person had a smile on their face and enjoyed the evening. Let’s hope it will return next year!
From Family Arts Campaign we want to congratulate everyone involved in the festival and hope to see you again next year for another fantastic edition of Juice Festival!
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