In this era of extreme cutbacks, arts organisations are operating on meagre budgets and scarce resources. This makes life difficult for young people’s theatre or dance companies to continue their invaluable work. As a consequence, events such as the Haringey Youth Arts Festival are more important than ever.
The fourth Haringey Youth Arts Festival at Northumberland Park School, Tottenham, went off with a bang. Highgate Youth Theatre performed an ingenious short play with a twist. A narrative which seemed to be about a Bugsy Malone style crime racket, ended up being about kids going trick or treating.
Jacksons Lane presented some younger children showcasing their acrobatic and circus skills. This was heartwarming, as opposed to massively impressive. ZIVA Youth Dance brought something different to the proceedings, in the form of African choreography.
Haringey Shed had been busy workshopping music throughout the ages. Their final piece went on a journey through jazz in the 1950s to present day pop. Singer-songwriters Eve Owen and Ezira Rolfe gave solo performances. Their music was sophisticated and spellbinding. They each brought the audience into their world, quietly grabbing their attention in a subtle, non-abrasive way.
Project 7 Dance moved to the beat of a different drum. Their contemporary moves involved climbing over each other in slow motion. It was like a game of Twister as played by mimes. Streetz Ahead, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and New London Performing Arts Centre all made spectacular contributions.
David Lammy spoke as local MP and patron for Haringey Shed. He praised the work of the young people and those behind the scenes. For the finale, all of the young people took to the stage and performed a dance routine. This part was on the scale of a Chicken Shed Christmas show. The festival knocked the audience for six, and proved that the performing arts are alive and well in Haringey, whatever the political climate.