Something a little different today – getting our culture fix with Petra Jane Tauscher, Director of the International Youth Arts Festival, Kingston. The Festival is organised by Creative Youth Charity and aims to support young people’s potential through the arts. It also brings ten days of great theatre, music, comedy, dance and children’s shows. IYAF 2019 runs from 5 – 14 July. Tickets are available from Rose Theatre Box Office.

Petra Jane Tauscher, Director of the International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF)

Petra Jane Tauscher, Director of the International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF)

1) Tell me about the International Youth Arts Festival – how did you get involved?

The International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF) celebrates work for and by young people. We have an eclectic programme which covers children’s shows, theatre, dance, music and comedy. It’s a brilliant showcase for emerging talent and brings a real buzz to Kingston.

This will be IYAF’s 11th year – but it’s my first as Festival Director. I joined IYAF earlier this year after working at HOME – cultural arts centre – in Manchester.

2) What do you love about running IYAF?

It’s a joy to bring together such a varied programme – we have theatre, comedy and kids shows fresh from Brighton Fringe, and work from established companies like the renowned Young Vic and children’s theatre company #Lyngotheatre. Our Opening and Gala Nights will bring the talents of Ballet Boyz Young Company, Rambert Dance and the Royal Academy of Music to the Rose Theatre. There will be a live music stage for everyone to enjoy in Kingston Marketplace on 6 & 7 July, and fantastic art exhibition curated by @8496 collective. We’re also running two days of free career events for young people wanting to work in the arts, a theatre writing workshop, and a fashion show created from paper courtesy of @sketchbetter

So, it’s a pretty amazing mix! And there’s a lot to think about from practical, operational stuff to the creative side of programming and marketing. It can be a challenge to keep on top of it all but I work with a lovely team who help keep IYAF on track!

3) What are your top picks for IYAF?

All of it! If I had to choose… There are some great shows for children and families in the line-up. Turtles Don’t Like Plastic is coming fresh from a sell-out run at Brighton Fringe. Local hip hop dance group Vital Signz Dance have created a wizard-inspired dance show which is great fun. Lyngo Theatre, who are a fantastic children’s theatre company headline our Curiosity Week – a week of fun shows and workshops for the Under 5s.

And we round everything off with The Creative Curiosity Trail – a free arts adventure around Kingston for children of all ages and their families. Starting at the Insect Circus Museum the trail will wind around town with lots of fun free arts activities for kids to try out along the way.

4) Let’s spread the arty love – where else should we go for our cultural fix?

Locally, @rosetheatrekingston is a must and @ram_jam_records hosts great comedy, open mic and theatre nights. The @stanleypickergallery for groundbreaking visual arts. Instagram is great for keeping up with culture and there’s a growing community of IGers who cover the arts. I recently discovered @letsplaylondon – a relatively new account but a fantastic place to find recommendations for children’s theatre. Finally, The Barbican Centre for its programme of international work.

5) Which is your favourite social media platform and why?

Instagram. We have a lot of visual content – trailer videos, rehearsal shots etc – courtesy of all the companies taking part in IYAF. Instagram Highlights is useful for breaking down our programme into theme – which makes it a great way to check out the Festival line-up.

Twitter is also really useful for connecting with others in creative industries.

A big thank you to Petra from IYAF for taking part in my slightly different #incredibleindependents interview, I truly believe that supporting the work for and by young people is incredibly important. What will you be going to see? It looks like a fantastic line up!

You can find out more about IYAF and see the full line-up at : http://iyafestival.org.uk/whats-on-2019/ Tickets for all shows are available from Rose Theatre Box Office: https://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/whats-on/international-youth-arts-festival-2019