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NOW Festival 2019
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February 4th-8th 2019

Doors 5:30pm – Start 6:30pm

Epstein Theatre
85 Hanover St, Liverpool L1 3DZ

February 12th 2019

Doors 5:30pm – Start 6:30pm

The Atkinson
Lord St, Southport PR8 1DB

This years theme is:

RISE UP

Adverse Childhood Experience and Resilience

There is growing evidence through research that the hardships and adversity that people face in childhood are the largest contributing factor to poor health both physical and mental, as well as other social problems. 

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that affect children while growing up, such as suffering from child maltreatment or living in a household affected by domestic violence, substance misuse or mental illness. Statistically young people with 4 or more ACES are 2 times more likely to drink and have a poor diet, 4 times more likely to suffer poor mental health, 6 times more likely to have unplanned teenage pregnancy, 7 times more likely to be involved in violence and 11 times more likely to end up in prison or use illegal drugs. It is estimated that almost 10% of adults have had 4 or more ACE’s, so that’s one in 10 of us.

For NOW Festival 2019, we want to think about the life-long effects of childhood. How does it affect our health, our mental health? Is there any truth to the saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’? What enables some people to be resilient and rise up against all the odds? We want to hear your stories, the challenges you’ve faced and the battles you’ve won. It’s time to have your voice heard. It’s time to RISE UP.

What people are saying

“The whole experience was inspirational from start to finish. The workshops gave the students new skills and a fresh perspective on their ideas. The MYA staff were central in guiding them to address the rights of the child and to see how important each one was. It was a real privilege to be a part of the fantastic final showcasing of each performance.”

Kate Forrest, West Derby Comprehensive

“I think the festival is a great idea, as it encourages an empathetic response to mental health issues, and allows the students to explore their own ideas about what it is to have good mental health.

To top it off, the opportunity to work with writers, film-makers, choreographers, as well as perform in a ‘real live’ theatre is fantastic, and Kath, Tony, Leigh, Annie and all the MYA crew are a pleasure to work with – always supportive and understanding.”

Nicola Ousey, St Francis of Assisi

“This has been one of the best experiences I have ever had in my whole life”

Young Person

“The entire night was full of laughter, crying and applause. Emotions were certainly on a high but to be performing along-side amazing actors from all over Liverpool was certainly a privilege. The Now Festival crew team treated us like professional actors and certainly allowed us to improve our theatrical skills. I enjoyed every moment I was there!”

Young Person

“The Festival is so unique and I felt very emotional watching so many of the pieces.”

Katie O’Callaghan, Healthline

“The Now Festival was an absolute amazing experience. It made me think about the different issues theatre is able to tackle and what an influence a piece of theatre has on an audience member. I love performing and being on stage but it was a great feeling to know that I may have changed a person’s life and made them view society differently when leaving the theatre.”

Young Person, West Derby School

“I really enjoyed the whole ‘Now’ festival experience all the way through as it helped grow my own understanding of mental health and in my own experience with my own piece I grew a greater understanding of the mental health of perpetrators and the survivors of their abuse.”

Young Person, West Derby School

“Now Festival was a very exhilarating experience. It was a really good way of educating Liverpool’s young people about mental health and letting them know it really is everyone’s business.”

Young Person, St Julies

“Now Festival made me grow as a performer. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to perform in a professional theatre. I enjoyed spending time and working with other school and getting to see their mental health messages”

Young Person, St Julies

“The Festival was fun to take part in because it was with people who I love and can count on”

Young Person, Barnardo's

“Being part of the choir was a great experience. I loved the challenge and all the laughs that happened along the way”

Young Person, Barnardo's

“It gave me an opportunity that I wouldn’t usually get. Being part of a small choir was an amazing experience and as a singer I was able to build and refine my own skills.”

Young Person, Barnardo's

“Being part of a choir and getting on a stage was stepping out of my comfort zone well and truly. But I have loved every minute of it, it was a challenge at first but we all overcame it by supporting each other and having a good laugh. We have made memories that we won’t forget, NOW festival being one of them”

Young Person, Barnardo's

“Being given the opportunity to perform at such a good event was incredible & to do it with friends was even better”

Young Person, Barnardo's

“Thanks to everyone involved – such brilliant festival – that evoked some many emotions through the rich diversity of performances.”

Sarah Spoor, Teacher

“Now festival was a wonderful experience that taught me about mental health how different people deal with situations. It taught me how everyone is different”

Young Person, St Julies

“Young people blew us away with their singing, dancing, acting and directing talents, not to mention set and costume design, film making and the bravery and emotional intelligence they displayed in tackling very difficult and sensitive themes. The NOW Festival curators, and the teachers who help children and young people get involved, are true cultural education champions. Their time and energy gives pupils access to a very exciting arts and creative learning experience.”

Alice Demba, Teacher

“It was wonderful to see the level of creativity in the performances. The children and young people provided such a diverse interpretation of mental health which really did make it everyone’s business. No two performances were the same even when a similar theme had been chosen. The plays, dances, music and film clips were entertaining and educational at the same time. True entertainment!

MYA should be rightly proud of bringing all of the organisations together.”

Paul Lees, Edge Hill University

“The performances used a range of methods to promote such messages including drama, music, song, poetry, film and digital technology.  Some performances made us really think, some made us cry and some made us laugh.”

Lisa Nolan, Liverpool CCG

“The NOW festival combined the creative imagination, meaningful reflection and clear talent of all the children and young people participating to produce thought-provoking insights into mental health as everyone’s business through their excellent performances.”

Anita Hobson, Edge Hill University

“The NOW Festival 2017 was a thought provoking, emotional rollercoaster of amazing talent and gifted story-telling.  The schools all brought high quality performances on video and on stage and through words, dance and music. Thank you and well done to everyone involved including the schools, pupils, teachers, organisations, organisers and the many volunteers.”

Gary Millar, Assistant Mayor of Liverpool / Councillor

“The audience was offered a deep and powerful exploration of many child rights issues and how these impact upon mental health. The creativity of the children and young people brought  complex issues to life and helped people see that the full realisation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child would radically enhance the mental health of individuals and communities both locally and globally. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Martin Russell, Unicef UK Rights Respecting Schools Award

“I thought the show was fantastic with many outstanding performances which demonstrated a lot of hard work and commitment from the young people.

The topics covered were a great match to lots of the different areas that ‘The Children’s Society’ work in. Mental health issues and young peoples rights(especially 16-17 age group) being just two examples. This made the evening  extra special for me.”

David Bishop, The Children's Society

“It was encouraging to watch the young performers give creative expression to mental health concerns and the range of challenges they face. The NOW Festival theme on ‘The Rights of the Child’ showed the courage and talent of Merseyside’s young people.”

Pat Nicholls, Wirral Council