The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011 is this year host to numerous theatre productions showcased at Kingston’s International Youth Arts Festival 2011. Shows such as Street Dreams by The Little Cauliflower Theatre Company, ROAR by Dumbshow, One Fine Day by South Hill Park, A Hero of our Time by Kudas and Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Pants On Fire have been receiving four and five stars reviews across the board from a variety of critics and reviewers, having developed their productions at the International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF), organised by Creative Youth.
Many involved were keen to praise the role of IYAF in enabling them to test and hone their acts. David Hooper, Producer of One Fine Day, with a ‘Must See’ Award from The Stage, said: “The festival was a vital part of our rehearsal process. It allowed us to test the performance in a safe environment, and the feedback we received from audiences helped us identify how we might refine the show. This ensured it was of the highest quality before going onto Edinburgh.”
Little Cauliflower’s Street Dreams, which ran for two nights at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, has proven a major hit, receiving five star reviews from Broadway Baby, The Daily Dust and The New Current, and four stars from The Scotsman, What’s On Stage, Fringe Review and Edinburgh Spotlight. David Pollock of The Scotsman described it as ‘one of the most inventive and endearing shows on the Fringe’, and Broadway Baby said it was “a touching, funny and thoroughly slick production.” Little Cauliflower highlighted the value of performing at IYAF first. “We had a fantastic weekend performing at the Rose Theatre,” said William Aubrey-Jones of Little Cauliflower. “We sold out both dates, had a great time and found the staff of IYAF really supportive, even following the festival and look forward to working with everyone in the future. The feedback we received really helped us to develop the production.”
Roar, produced by Dumbshow, is part of Creative Youth’s “Creative Talent Programme”, which rovides strategic mentoring and support to selected groups. It has also received rave reviews, such as from Nick Awde of The Stage Edinburgh, who wrote: “Dumbshow exhibits an impressive pool of talent here and, given that development, I’d pay good money to see this at the National.” Michael Bryher, Artistic Director described IYAF’s help as a ‘godsend.’ “We couldn’t have achieved what we have done without them,” he said. “To put trust in a young company to develop their work is so, so important. IYAF took a leap of faith in us, for which we are extremely grateful. Previewing our work before Edinburgh was massively beneficial, and has resulted in a much stronger piece, which we will continue to develop.”
Aniela Zaba, Artistic Director for Creative Youth, was not only delighted to see IYAF performers succeed at the Fringe, but is also happy for the Festival to develop a reputation among artists as a ‘testing ground’ for those heading north of the border. “Obviously it is very pleasing to see these amazing young talents get the recognition they deserve,” she said. “But what is equally pleasing is that the International Youth Arts Festival was able to play an important role in helping them to achieve this success. IYAF gives young people the space and support to play, experiment and take chances in a creative environment surrounded by those willing to give feedback. This vindicates our approach which is to nurture and inspire young people to challenge themselves to produce the very best work they are capable of.”