This year’s Spark festival was bigger than ever before, spanning a full weekend in mid-March. The festival saw over 300 young people from across Farnham and wider Waverley engage in a range of arts and creative activities. The festival ran over three days and included a visual art exhibition, free creative arts workshops, and a performing arts platform event. We worked with young people from a number of social support groups plus extracurricular activities and schools. Participants this year included: Hale Sure Start Centre’s Young Parents group, Surrey Young Carers, Farnham Scouts and students from Farnham Heath End school.

One particular group was made up of clients from Step by Step, a local homeless support charity working in Farnham and Aldershot. Six young people spent the day with Farnham based artist, Marios Pantelli. The group learnt drawing, calligraphy and graffiti skills to create three large murals that will sit in the communal lounge area of their residential suite.

Emma Joyce, Training Coordinator at Step by Step said:

‘The young people at Step by Step had wanted to update the art work in the communal lounge area for some time and the Spark Festival was an amazing opportunity for them to work with a talented artist to produce something fresh and inspiring. It was a great project that built their teamwork skills and their hard work paid off in the form of some great artwork! One young person that participated loves the arts and has not had much opportunity to get involved in something so creative before. They were dedicated to see the project through from start to finish and were further inspired to implement a new design on their guitar.’

Treloar College

Treloar College is a specialist college for young people, aged 16 or over, with physical disabilities. On 28 April, 7 students from Treloar College came to visit the Maltings for an ‘arts experience day’. The students spent the morning with local craft artist, Judith Needham, learning how to weave willow and craft small baskets. In the afternoon they learnt a number of dance routines, and had a question and answer session with members of staff from resident artists, Stopgap Dance Co.

Careers Visits

The arts industry is made up of a variety of careers that many are not aware of. To broaden the horizons of budding artists and practitioners, we regularly invite young people to come to the Maltings for a careers visit. The visitors take a tour of all of facilities and meet 6-7 members of staff from across the organisation including associate artists, duty officers, box office staff, technicians and project coordinators. Previous visitors have come from Step by Step, the National Citizenship Challenge and Farnham Heath End School.

Schools projects with Farnham Museum

We have recently teamed up with the Education Officers at Farnham Museum to offer a new range of living history workshops for local schools and youth groups. Students from St Peters were the first to experience this new project with an investigation into the English Civil War. 62 students from Year 4 (8 &9 years old) spent the morning with Farnham Museum handling artefacts and historical items before coming to the Maltings for a drama workshop, where they recreated the key characters from the war and re-enacted battle scenes! It was great fun, if a little noisy!

The Young Company: NT Connections

The Maltings eldest youth theatre group, The Young Company, have taken part in NT Connections for a second time this year. The company is made up of sixteen 15 – 22 year olds. Working with professional theatre practitioner, Rebecca Lewis, they staged and performed Gargantua by award winning writer, Carl Grose. As part of the Connections project the company were lucky enough to transfer their show to the Lyric Hammersmith in early May. This was a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved, performing in a large London venue that specialises in supporting work made by and for young people! The company performed brilliantly, and did the Maltings proud.

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