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ARTIVISM 2021

AIYTF 

ASHTAR International Youth Theatre Festival is a unique opportunity for youth, who study theatre or just started their acting career, to come together in-person and online to learn and develop. AIYTF was established in 2012 and it happens every other year. 

 

Ramallah  & Oxford

This year AIYTF has a new development. Between April - July 2021, young people and staff from Ashtar Theatre, Ramallah and Mandala Theatre Company, Oxford worked together on digital platforms to meet, share, plan and produce 'Artivism' -  an innovative digital and live festival for young people.

Artivism 

Artivism artists are ones who use their skills in a  socio-political activism. This year's hybrid, British Council-funded festival, Artivism is taking place in Ramallah and Oxford and digitally Internationally. It is focused on the youth and their role in socio-political activism. It is interactive, informative and heartfelt.

View the Ramallah schedule and events here

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Theatre Workshops

Taking inspiration from Maya Angelou’s inspirational poem I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

The participants will be taken through a series of devising and improvisation techniques to create their own group performances. They will be developing characters and story by using techniques from Yasmin Sidhwa’s ‘Theatre of Being’ methodology, where actors are enabled to ‘become’ the characters rather than ‘acting’ them. The participants will be encouraged and enabled to bring in art forms from the other Creative workshops and use them to create their own unique performance presentations.

Yasmin Sidhwa is Artistic Director of Mandala Theatre Company. She has toured nationally and internationally with the Royal National Theatre Company, Tara Arts and Aquila Theatre Companies and worked in Repertory Theatre, Television and Radio as a professional actor and director. Yasmin has worked for many years as a workshop facilitator, theatre director, lecturer and storyteller and taken work to schools, colleges, and festivals. She directed and produced numerous theatre productions as Creative Learning Director at Pegasus Theatre, for 17 years. Yasmin was founder and director of Mesh - a bi-annual International Youth Arts Festival hosted by Pegasus working with international organisations from Europe and beyond. In 2014 she received an Oxfordshire High Sheriff’s Award for services to the Arts and young people. Yasmin is an Independent Governor at Oxford Brookes University and an Executive Board member of CREARC in Grenoble, France and an RSA Fellow.

 

Cage & Freedom

Creative Workshops - Oxford

All the workshop participants in Oxford will be working in small groups to create a piece of theatre exploring the theme of ‘Cage and Freedom’ in relation to ‘Artivism’ to present and film at the end of the festival. The pieces will be created and devised by the young people with input and support from all the Creative artists involved and guided by Artistic Director of Mandala Theatre Company, Yasmin Sidhwa.

 

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Creative Workshops

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Spoken Word Workshops

The Spoken word workshops, led by Kema Daley, will introduce the participants to creating rhythmic, rhyming verses, poetry, and creative writing, focused on the themes of what being ‘caged’ or ‘free’ means to them.

 

Interpreting the themes and expressing them through spoken word/ rap is a way of opening the participants up to telling stories in a new and vibrant way. They will be encouraged to create elements of their theatre performance through the genre of spoken word and rap.

Kema Daley is a rap and spoken word artist – Kemastry - signed to independent hip hop record label High Focus as part of CMPND (pronounced Compound), a Brighton based hybrid rap three piece, formed of members Kemastry, Wundrop & Vitamin G. Since joining the High Focus Records family in April 2019, the group have been tearing up the live circuit & churning out singles showcasing their sonic versatility – Clearly demonstrating why they are the torch bearers ushering in a whole new generation & sound into the UK Rap world.

 

The trio bring a whole new vision and aesthetic to the forefront without sounding or mimicking the current sounds emanating from America, falling into the trappings of Grime & Drill or recreating the ‘90‘s Golden Age’ Hip Hop sound – Whether it be the mind-bending production or the next level pen game, they are bringing something truly unique to the table.

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Dance Workshops

The contemporary  dance workshops, led by Marie-Louise Flexen, will enable the participants to interpret and feel into the theme in a non-verbal and physical way.

Using the 5 senses to feel into the essence of what ‘Cage’ and ‘Freedom’ mean within the body and how this can be expressed emotionally and physically. The workshops will move the participants away from the mind and head and into the heart and body. The workshops are designed to create a space for exploration, feeling and movement.

Marie-Louise is Co-Director & Producer of Last Legs Dance Theatre. She is Artistic Director of Barehoof Performance equine dance company. Marie-Louise danced for Swerve Dance Theatre. She was creative partner, choreographer & core performer with Curious Company and co-created beautifully costumed themed shows for outdoor arts & events. Her vintage song and dance duo The Mary Lou Revue is hugely popular highly engaging performance & won an Arts Council grant for Bedside Cabaret. Marie-Louise danced with Sole Rebel Tap touring across the UK for 5 years. From 1994 - 2002 she was a company dancer with internationally renowned 'Seven Sisters group' who's highly acclaimed site-specific  dance theatre productions were presented at The National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, The Royal Opera House, the V&A museum, Selfridges, St Pancreas Chambers, The Place Theatre & train stations across the UK and Europe.

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Singing Workshops

Using world music songs, the participants will be encouraged to explore their own cultural music styles and songs as well as to learn new songs.

This workshop, led by Lauren Spiceley, will encourage participants to share traditional and non-traditional songs from their cultures and communities and to choose a song that will connect all of the theatre presentations and unite them in singing as an ensemble.

Lauren Spiceley is a versatile violinist, pianist, sometime-accordionist, and singer equally happy in live and studio contexts. From a classically trained background, she specialises in folk and traditional styles, and is also comfortable in classical and jazz settings. She loves to collaborate and explore the routes and connections running through different music, and is always excited to be part of new, experimental projects.

 

She has 8 years of experience programming and producing live events and festivals. Her current and most recent work is with Oxford Contemporary Music, Tandem Festival, and Oxford City Council. Lauren runs community music and education projects including Ethno England and Song de Raiz. 

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Star Power
Role Play 

It is on the surface a simple, bargaining game in which those with the highest scores win.

 

However, its usefulness to the ‘artivist’ is as a powerful stimulus for participants to explore power, class, trade, law, and change. The Star Power Roleplay workshop will enhance the conversations from the Webinars in a creative, active, emotionally connected, and interactive way that enables participants to feel into why ‘Artivism’ is an important and necessary aim for all artists. 

Yasmin Sidhwa is Artistic Director of Mandala Theatre Company. She has toured nationally and internationally with the Royal National Theatre Company, Tara Arts and Aquila Theatre Companies and worked in Repertory Theatre, Television and Radio as a professional actor and director. Yasmin has worked for many years as a workshop facilitator, theatre director, lecturer and storyteller and taken work to schools, colleges, and festivals. She directed and produced numerous theatre productions as Creative Learning Director at Pegasus Theatre, for 17 years. Yasmin was founder and director of Mesh - a bi-annual International Youth Arts Festival hosted by Pegasus working with international organisations from Europe and beyond. In 2014 she received an Oxfordshire High Sheriff’s Award for services to the Arts and young people. Yasmin is an Independent Governor at Oxford Brookes University and an Executive Board member of CREARC in Grenoble, France and an RSA Fellow.

What's On

 
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Sponsors & Supporters

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Supporters & Partners 

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Artivism People

Artistic Director                                Yasmin Sidhwa 

Administrator & Digital                    Ryan Clune

Technical Stage Manager                Tenneale Rogers

Documentary Filmmaker                Ben Johnston

Dance Artist                                       Marie-Louise Flexen

Spoken word Artist                           Kema Daley

Singing Artist                                     Lauren Spiceley

Marketing                                           Lesley McKie

Finance                                               Euton Daley      

 

 

Oxford Festival Team

Festival Youth Team

Chris Burns, Sam Chant-Solomon, Hayden Ellingworth, Nelvin Kiratu, Amber Lewis,

Luis Ribeiro, Ralph Roque, Katie Scallon

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