Henley Festival Rise Up in Support of New Talent

The Henley Festival hosted an evening reception at the Leander Club, last Thursday (3 November), to celebrate and promote their RISE initiative and showcase some of the individuals who benefited in 2022. The event was attended by sponsors and supporters of the Henley Festival who were entertained by Henjilaa, having been introduced by the BBC.

The RISE programme set up by Henley Festival in 2022, was launched to inspire and support the next generation of talented performers and technicians hoping to work in the creative arts industry. RISE provides paid opportunities for emerging talent including musicians, comedians and visual artists as well as seeking to support the young backstage staff of the future by offering paid work experience with leading lighting and sound companies, and in marketing and PR.

Jo Bausor, the CEO of Henley Festival, spoke passionately about the importance of providing young up-and-coming individuals with opportunities in an industry that is notoriously difficult to get into and how Henley Festival can provide a platform to help launch the careers of future artists and technicians.

Emma Ellis, Manager of the RISE programme, spoke of how the programme commenced in 2022 on a small scale and their future plans to expand and develop the number of placements in 2023.  Henley Festival is working closely with numerous colleges and academies, including the Liverpool Institute of Supporting Arts, the Backstage Academy in Yorkshire and Reading University,  whilst looking to link with many more to open up opportunities for those wishing to gain experience in the entertainment business.

Lizzie Wheeler, the RISE visual artist 2022, spoke of how the programme gave her the opportunity to showcase and talk about her work and has been contacted by a gallery as a direct result of RISE. As Lizzie said it is ”Good to know the ripples go beyond the event itself.” The RISE sound and light engineer 2022, Sheridan Burns, added “I’ve gained valuable experience and have now secured a role when I finish my studies.”

Jo Bausor spoke of her aspiration to develop “creative springs opening up of new talent across all areas of work in the Festival.”

In 2023, Henley Festival is planning to have a bespoke RISE stage to promote the charity, the RISE performing artists and production teams and to work with RISE artists to develop the programme in the future.