School children in Henley and the surrounding villages were treated to an amazing and diverse range of workshops and shows last week as part of the Henley Youth Festival, many with a green, eco theme.
The Zoo That Comes to You show from Scarlet Oak Theatre toured schools which told the story of two wildlife enthusiasts who provide respite, care or a temporary home to those in need, particularly endangered animals. They have a sanctuary full of animals, however, no-one has come to visit their zoo. So they decide it is time to get out, see the world, and bring the zoo, to you!
Art workshops led by Emily Cooling and Michaela Clarke from Create ‘n Make were back this year with a green theme. Michaela made owls from old CDs or DVDs and birds from plastic water, juice or soda bottles. Kathryn Fell photography returned with self portrait photo workshops for Years 5 and 6.
The Young Shakespeare returned for this year with the production of Hamlet. The Rude Science Show at the Kenton Theatre saw BBC Gastronaut Stefan Gates take you on a funny, cheeky, thoroughly disgusting but utterly scientific multimedia journey through the human body from head to bottom, with lots of spectacular science stunts and audience interaction.
New for this year was Flamenco dancing workshops led by Danielle Yglesia and AFC Henley football workshops. The children watched a flamenco performance, before learning about how flamenco developed and how a flamenco group is formed and finally trying out some flamenco footwork and movements. Danielle said, “I’m really proud to be part of such an amazing project, working in partnership with the Henley Youth Festival. Across the eight primary schools that I’ve worked with in my flamenco workshops, the children have been fantastic in how engaged, confident and creative they’ve been!”
The workshops were sponsored by Invesco, Thamesfield Youth Association, the Shanly Foundation, Henley Municipal Charities and Henley Educational Trust.
Greener Henley helped with the running of the Festival too this year and the HYF will be returning the favour at Great Big Green Week in June with the artwork from the Art Competition on display.
Chair of Henley Youth Festival, Laura Matthews said, “This year we were so delighted to welcome back our providers from previous years who we love to collaborate with including Red Van Man (who is rescheduled for a few weeks time) and also to welcome some new events, including Flamenco dancing, AFC Henley, and the wonderful Scarlet Oak Zoo that comes to you and Rude Science with Stefan Gates.
“We chose these new exciting performances from Scarlet Oak and Rude Science to offer different age groups the chance to see live performances (Reception – year 3 for Scarlet Oak and years 4 and 9 for Rude Science) along with Young Shakespeare who returned for years 5/6. We also were excited to expand our workshops to include physical events such as the flamenco dance and football and hope to do more next year – which is our 30th Anniversary! As always we couldn’t run these without our wonderful volunteers and sponsors and providers.”