International Youth Arts Festival – Back With A Bang!

Adam Wollerton

On Tuesday 28th May, The Rose Theatre in Kingston exploded into life with the International Youth Arts Festival Launch Party. The party celebrated the achievements that the festival has accomplished Over the past few years of its existence with performances from many Creative Youth Talent Companies, including a debut performance from The Daily Fail: The Musical! from The Untold Theatre Company by writer Fiona O’Malley.

The International Youth Arts Festival grows every year. Having looked at the programme, also launched as part of the party on the 28th, it is clear that this year is set to be the biggest yet. There will be three weeks of theatre workshops, puppetry, new writing, re-imaginings of classics, an original musical, live music, circus acts, parades, poetry, singing, DJ-ing, and much, much more. If you’re around Kingston Upon Thames this summer, this is one festival you should not miss.

Aniela Zaba, former Festival Director, kicked off the night in her usual lively fashion by introducing our compere for the evening, the newly appointed Festival Director Jeremy Sachs. He did a sterling job in keeping the evening flowing as we were introduced to a whole plethora of acts, from a young circus group by the name of Circus Suburbia, to a poet with a difference, in the form of Dee El Da Lyrical.  We were even treated to a sneak preview from ByMoonlight’s currently touring The Pardoner’s Tale, all of which will take to the stage between 6th – 28th July.

Circus Suburbia followed the introductions with a riveting performance from two young gents who took to the stage to juggle, ride a unicycle and even perform with knives (don’t try this at home kids)! It was great and just showed how much artistic potential lies in the youth of Kingston.

Next to the stage was ByMoonlight with their latest reimagining, The Pardoner’s Tale. The performance was formed of a string of comical songs presented to the audience by three rather beautiful looking ladies. For those who were there on the night, you may recognise these ‘lovely ladies’ as the men of ByMoonlight! The songs were great and had the audience laughing instantly. Hints at the usual physical theatre influences also flashed onto the stage throughout and I’m sure that, come July, this will not be one to be missed.
It was then that The Untold Theatre Company were asked to perform their set for the night – four completely original songs from the new Leveson inspired production, The Daily Fail: The Musical!

After being introduced as what is likely to be ‘The highlight of IYAF…’ by Jeremy Sachs, the pressure definitely mounted on the cast. Now, given that it is my production, it would be easy to say that this was amazing, but after hearing the response from the audience and the compliments given to our cast throughout the evening, it has to be said that we hope to live up to the title that Mr Sachs has pre-empted for the production. Songs such as ‘Extra, Extra!’, the recently revealed ‘We Could Be Famous’ (viewable at, ‘The Seven Deadly Press Sins’ and ‘A Photo Says A Thousand Words’, made an appearance on the night to much applause. The Untold Theatre Company are very much looking forward to debuting the performance as part of IYAF 2013.

Another act I must highlight for the evening is the poet Dee El Da Lyrical. Now, at previous open mic nights I have criticised poets for their lack of performative skill and their general slowing down of a celebratory evening of music, theatre and art. However, although I was sceptical at first, Dee El Da Lyrical has to be noted as the missing link between poetry and performance. He delivered his humour’s ‘family friendly’ poems with perfect timing and rhythm and I cannot wait to get a glimpse at his more adult stuff, presuming he guarantees himself a slot at IYAF 2013. Watch this space.

All tickets are now on sale for the events at IYAF, including the completely original and satirical new musical The Daily Fail: The Musical! inspired by the Leveson Inquiry. You can grab yourself a Festival Pass and see everything for one set price. Bargain! IYAF is back. (@UntoldTheatre) (@IYAF /@Creative_Youth)

About Adam Wollerton

Adam is a Writer and Director of Off-West End and West End Theatre Productions. He is also the Co-Founder of Curious Tales Theatre Company and is the author of LoveStuck: A New Musical.