Growing creatively

Wiltshire Creative offers a number of different Youth Arts activities available to join all year round, even during school holidays.

Are you a parent hoping to encourage your child to find a creative outlet? Wiltshire Creative, the county’s leading arts and performance organisation, provides a broad programme of activities designed to help local young people of all ages explore their creative side.

The earliest activities start with its free Under 5’s workshops. Supported by Kindred Nurseries, the weekly sessions explore drama, music, dance and crafts, which parents and children can enjoy together. Getting involved in the arts this early helps the children express themselves creatively while offering everyone involved the opportunity to make new friends.

For an older age group, the Children and Youths’ Pottery classes aimed at 7+ run frequently, exploring an entirely different art form. These often run across half term to keep kids creative during the holiday period.

Other workshops include Online Play Reading which provides a great chance to meet new people, build confidence and learn more about a range of different plays. Wiltshire Creative also runs Youth Music Events and larger social events at which young musicians have the chance to perform, for example at the SHIFT Socials, whose next event takes place at Salisbury Arts Centre on 26 February.

such as the SHIFT Socials. Both Online Play Reading and the Youth Music Events are aimed at slightly older age groups, with the former ideal for those aged 14+.

One of Wiltshire Creative’s most prominent offerings for young people is Stage 65, which encourages creativity, inclusivity and imagination. Although it’s focussed on the theatre, no experience is required to join the group and members old and new say Stage 65 is a welcoming community which has enabled them to meet people, build confidence and make plenty of new friends. They say it’s a great place to learn more about theatre through working with professionals in renowned venues. Recently, for example, the group worked with a professional fight choreographer for an adaptation of ‘Hamlet’ at Salisbury Playhouse.

While it’s a great place to develop acting skills and learn more about a possible theatre career, many members say Stage 65 is an opportunity to learn more about real life experience. Whether in adapting old Shakespeare or looking at contemporary pieces, Stage 65 teaches young people about the world around them through new characters, genres and performances. It's also a great chance to develop confidence, especially in meeting new people, not just at the performances but through its variety of drama exercises and games.

Run in 10 week terms, Stage 65 is organised in a series of age groups, starting at ages 8 to 10 (Years 4 & 5) and ending at ages 16 to 21. More information about other age groups and pricing can be found under the Take Part, Youth Arts section of Wiltshire Creative’s website.

One of Wiltshire Creative’s activities for teenagers is the Young Ambassador programme, aimed at ages 14 to 19. The organisation works closely with a group of young people to interact with other teenagers and young adults. Across all age groups, the Young Ambassadors are crucial to guiding how Wiltshire Creative makes decisions in operating youth arts work and events. Though many of the ambassadors are involved in Stage 65 or other Wiltshire Creative projects, the group is always recruiting for future Young Ambassadors to help it remain inclusive and in touch with how local young people feel about arts provision in Salisbury. This programme gives young people more of a voice, while again meeting new people and making friends.

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