Next month the eagerly awaited NOW Festival will begin. Now in its 5th year the city-wide competition that tackles worldwide issues around mental health will attract performing arts students from across Merseyside.
King’s Liverpool is riding on the success of last year’s Year 9’s who won with their outstanding and emotive performance of ‘To Whom It May Concern’. The 2019 Festival theme was ‘Rise Up – Adverse Childhood Experience’ and invited students to explore issues surrounding mental health and resilience.
The performing arts students developed their own performance drawing on issues such as discrimination, knife crime, sexuality and the challenges of being singled out as a teenager to deliver a powerful and raw performance in front of 300 professionals attending the Liverpool Education Conference at the M&S Arena.
This unique opportunity provided the students with an unbelievable platform to convey young people’s perspectives on these important issues breaking many glass ceilings in the process. The sense of belonging, pride and confidence that being part of the NOW Festival brings to these students is invaluable and connects strongly to the King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool ASPIRE values of endeavor, self-awareness and leadership.
The messages have struck a chord with a wide public audience and the group has been asked to work with the Merseyside Youth Association to develop the performance into a short film. The students will get the chance to work with a professional film company and act in the production. Damien Hart, the Principal Development Manager for the Merseyside Youth Association commented on the performance, ‘I have seen ‘To Who It My Concern’ three times now and each time it leaves me with something more.’
This year the NOW Festival theme is Mental Health and Belonging. The current Year 9’s are working hard to perfect their performance ‘NOWHERE…’ The King’s students are exploring three individual stories of belonging and are excited for their first performance in a professional theatre. This year’s theme has allowed the students to question where do they feel that they belong and what are the consequences if the answer is ‘nowhere’.
Performances will be held from 11th-14th February at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool. For tickets visit the NOW Festival website.