The festival is unique in the fact that it is inclusive to all young people. It is an amazing opportunity for young people to mix with other schools and youth groups while sharing creative ideas. The festival is held at the Epstein theatre, which is a traditional old theatre situated in the centre of Liverpool. The young people get the opportunity to work with professional technicians, perform on a rake stage with full lighting and sound support, experience a festival environment and perform to a full auditorium. Over the process, we have seen young people flourish and grow in confidence as a people and performers. The pieces that are produced are high quality and well supported by the NOW festival team. By the end of the festival, the young people’s ability to be able to articulate about mental health and the NOW issue through the performing arts is incredibly powerful. The festival is an amazing experience for everyone involved both educationally and personally.


The NOW festival process and performance is tailored to fit the GCSE and A LEVEL drama exam specification. As the festival is about devising a performing arts piece, it fits into the devising module on all GCSE exam boards and some A Level exam boards depending on board’s stimulus requirements. We are aware that for the examination, the pieces have to be 5 minutes per person and the festival guidelines are that the piece has to be 15 minutes. In this case, we have often encouraged bigger groups to create their devised examination pieces but we will assist in helping create a festival version. Even performing a shortened version of their show can be a great rehearsal for the student’s exam and can give the group more drive in creating a high quality piece of work.


Members of the NOW festival team are trained in Discover, Explore and Bronze Arts award and we offer it as part of the process. The arts award is a qualification that supports anyone up to the age of 25 to grow as artists and artist leader. To achieve their Arts Award, young people take on challenges in an art form, participate in arts activities, experience arts events, get inspired by artists and share their arts skills with others. Young people create a portfolio to keep a record of their creative journey, which would be supported and assessed by the NOW festival team. The NOW festival fits the requirements for the Bronze award perfectly so we would be happy to assist any group or participant who wished to gain an extra qualification.

Bronze award is available to young people aged 11 to 25. Young people take part in an arts activity they enjoy, go to an arts event, research their arts inspiration and share their skills with others. As part of the assessment, the participant will need to plan their work with an adviser, and keep a record by creating their own Arts Award portfolio. Their portfolio might be a folder, sketchbook, video diary or a website – it is up to them. The Bronze award is equivalent to a D-G grade at GCSE.