A voice for young people in Haringey
Collage Voices offers young people in Haringey the opportunity to participate in weekly performing and media arts programme where they create work based on ideas and concerns that interest them. It is open to everyone, age 8-18, regardless of previous experience. From September 2019 weekly sessions will cost just £2 a week.
Artistic Director, Steve Medlin says: “Over the past year we have worked with young people and supported them to create songs, poetry and theatre about issues they care about through their different individual perspectives. Initially we charged £10 a week and trialled an approach of offering reduced priced to people who needed it. However, we have now decided to remove one of the main barriers to participation by considerably reducing the price. We will now be charging £2 a week for a 90 minute session.”
Collage Voices consulted widely to understand the barriers facing young people. The bulk of young people attending Collage Voices’ are from Haringey. This covers affluent areas such as Crouch End and Muswell Hill, but also Wood Green and Tottenham, where many families are on tighter budgets. Steve continues. “one of the most exciting things about our pilot is that around 50 young people come to us regularly from across the borough. Some are serious about a future in the arts, whilst others want a creative outlet or the opportunity to increase their confidence. We are seeing friendship develop between young people who would never have met without the Collage Voices programme”.
Whilst acknowledging the complex difficulties many face, Collage Arts are seeking to address the constant barrage of negative youth stereotyping in the media by getting children and teenagers involved in changing the story that others have built for them. Earlier this year they staged an event, ‘Beating the Bounds’, which reimagined Wood Green through the eyes of young people. The show moved around Wood Green celebrating what was important to the participants, whilst highlighting some of the challenges they face day today. This was achieved through original songs and raps, dance, film and drama. The young people even made the set and props in a half-term workshop.
Collage Arts has access to professional facilities including a drama studio, recording studios and state of the art media production computers and software. The session leaders are all drawn from the creative industries, which is one of the largest sources of employment in the borough. For young people who want to move into jobs in the arts and media sector, Collage Arts offers a series of accredited training programmes with an unparalleled record of getting young people jobs in the industry.
The Voices programme includes performing arts, multi-media, singing/song-writing and creative writing and runs over the academic year with some courses in the holidays. For more information contact [email protected].