Youth Festival Launches Oceans Themed Programme With a Splash

Henley Youth Festival launched their 2020 programme with a big splash on Wednesday evening at d:two to representatives from local schools, partners and sponsors when they unveiled this year’s ‘Oceans’ themed festival taking place from 7-15 March.  This year’s programme will see some exciting new events and the return of some great old favourites.  The Herald is pleased to announce a new partnership with the festival to launch a competition to draw a cartoon with the prize of creating one with our resident cartoonist, Steve Allender.

#HYF2020 has something for everyone with music, performance, education, art and sporting events packed into nine days of fun for to those aged 4-18 who live or go to school in the Henley area.

Youngsters are invited to make waves as they embark on an exciting oceans adventure. The theme is expected to be widely interpreted with inspiration taken from nature or environmental interests as well as the arts, literature and science.

The Festival dives-off with Gig Night at new venue Magoos on Saturday 7 March for musicians and bands in Years 9-13 keen to play on stage, followed by Junior Proms at Rupert House on Sunday.

This year organisers have shaken-up its performance events with three new shows at the Kenton Theatre on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 March:

  • HYF Unplugged – is for classical, acoustic, folk singers or musicians in years 5-13 who don’t need a backing track.
  • HYF Dance combines all ages from years 1 to 13 into one show.
  • HYF Variety is for entertainers in years 1 to 13 – acts can play or sing to a backing track, tell a story, make us laugh or do some magic.

The popular writing, art and film competitions return again this year and an exhibition of selected work will be on at the River & Rowing Museum on the weekend of 14-15 March.  Entries for the cartoon competition are welcomed from children aged 8+ and can be created in any media.  A photo of the cartoon should be emailed to news@henleyherald .  Closing date for all competitions is 28 February 2020.

For those children who love sport, the HYF Run returns to Henley Rugby Club on Saturday 14 March. Children from Reception to Year 11 can enter and registration is required on organiser, Physiolistic’s website at  Races range from 0.5K to 2.5K. Up to £250 of sports equipment is on offer to the two schools with the most entrants.

Last year over 2,900 workshop places were provided to primary schools in the Henley area, that’s equivalent to 143 hours of activities for pupils to enjoy and learn from.  New for this year is yoga, line dancing and performing arts workshop for young children by Stageworks.

Anne Colvin-Jarvis, HYF’s School Workshop Co-Ordinator said, “Workshops form huge part of the HYF programme. We only use professional providers and try to balance newcomers such as The Great Little Yoga Company, Dance On and Stageworks with old favourites like the Young Shakespeare Company and Explorer Dome.

“Many are themed such as Red Van Man’s submarines, Jellyfish with Create n’ Make and some stories told through song by Henley College’s drama students. Line dancing, yoga and performing arts experiences are new this year, plus we have art, animation, sport, music and science workshops all happening from the 2nd March.”

To see the full line up and details go to



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