Youth Festival to Stage ‘Friendship’ Inspired Programme

Henley Youth Festival returns with a fun-packed programme of events and workshops inspired by the theme ‘Friendship’ and the programme for the festival which will run between 5-13 March 2022 was unveiled at launch reception last night at d:two.

Young people aged 4-18 at school or living in the Henley area can join-in; there’s something for everyone including competitions, music, drama, art and sports activities.

Local schools, sponsors, partners and volunteers gathered to hear about the theme and ‘What’s On’ at #HYF2022.

Laura Matthews, HYF Chair said:  “Friendship captured the mood of the young people of Henley when they chose the theme last Summer, reflecting a desire for shared experiences after a period of isolation. “I’m keen to see how the theme will be interpreted especially in music and art where we have some collaborative projects for larger groups to get involved in, such as the flash-mob performance in Music Makers and the School Mural Competition where we’re asking primary pupils to show what Friendship means to them.”

The festivals performance events start on Sunday 6 March with Rupert House School hosting the revived Music Makers concert for musicians and singers in years 1-6.

Gig Night, Unplugged plus the Junior and Senior Variety shows will run at the Kenton Theatre from Thursday 10 to Saturday 12 March.

Art, Film, Writing and Young Reporter competitions are back; plus new for primary pupils is a School Mural competition sponsored by Invesco who are offering £250 of art supplies for the winning entry. Pupils can use any media and team-up to work as a class or on a whole school project.  The competition will be judged by well-known mural artist Nicola Sutherland who has mural painted on a wall just over Henley bridge.

Create n’ Make, Doctor Brian Squabbles and his Red Van, Creating ART from Emily Cooling, a FRIENDSHIP themed digital portrait workshop with Kathryn Fell and the Young Shakespeare Company with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are offered as part of HYF’s school workshop programme for primary pupils.

The HYF Run will take place at Henley Rugby Club on Saturday 12 March  for children in Reception to Year 6. Races start at 8.30am and take place over Swiss Farm’s fields. Medals and prizes have been donated by partner Physiolistic and Össur with up to £250 of sports equipment on offer to the school with the most entrants per intake. HOT Moves will be on-hand to set-up. Register in advance at

The Art & Film Exhibition will present selected work from across the festival at the River & Rowing Museum during the final weekend of 12 & 13 March.

Young people can also get involved behind the scenes at the Kenton Theatre or in the running of the festival – email hyfinfo@gmail.comfor more information.

Entry deadlines:

Performing Arts – 25 February; Writing, Art, Film and the School Mural Competitions – 28 February; Young Reporter – 14 February. Full details and entry forms available online at

So far in 2022 the Henley Youth Festival has attracted sponsorship from: Cornerstone Arts Centre, Divas & Dudes, Henley Educational Trust, Henley-on-Thames Town Council, Henley Royal Regatta, HOT Moves, Invesco, Össur, Physiolistic, Shanly Foundation, South Oxfordshire District Council, Thamesfield Youth Association, The Arts Society Henley and W H Ireland.

A number of local partners continue to provide their venue, people or support ensuring the festival happens in and around town: Henley Herald, Henley Rugby Club, in8 Creative Design, Kenton Theatre, River & Rowing Museum, Rupert House School, Swiss Farm, The Bell Bookshop and The Cheesy Grape.