IGNITE! Youth Driven Arts Festival: An inside look with Jeanine Longley!

Cultch Youth Panel Member Jeanine Longley

Cultch Youth Panel Member Jeanine Longley

This week, the York Theatre plays host to the IGNITE! Youth Drive Arts Festival! Led, coordinated, and organized by The Cultch’s very own Youth Panel, this event is definitely not one to miss!

But first, a little background.

The Cultch’s Youth Panel is a group of approximately 20 young people aged 13-24 from all over Vancouver with a passion for the performing arts. From Sep-May, the ambitious, curious, and fun-loving group meet once a week to plan and learn about all aspects of festival organization. Everything from technical operations to marketing and media relations. The professional festival is the culmination of nine months of passion, dedication, and hard work.

We were able to catch a moment with Jeanine Longley, a Youth Panel Member, to get an inside look at this year’s festivities.

Hi Jeanine! Could you tell us a little bit about IGNITE! and the role the youth play in creating this event?

The IGNITE! Youth Festival is multifaceted. Younger and newer members on the youth panel are learning how to put on a festival, everything from advertising to operating a sound board. We are showing the community what youth are capable of, both in featuring completely youth performers, and in having the entire festival run by youth. As a collective, we are IGNITE! and we hope to ignite, inspire, and celebrate youth creativity.

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This is the first year that the IGNITE! Youth Festival is taking place at the York Theatre, down the street from The Cultch. How did this decision take place?

The IGNITE! Youth Festival has always been at the Historic Theatre. We chose to move to the York Theatre this year to explore a beautiful new space. The York has incredible options for a festival like ours, both in decorating options (that stunning lobby!) and in the theatre itself. We are definitely excited to try out our new home.

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I understand that the youth panel also creates an IGNITE! Youth Festival Zine. Could you tell us a little about it and where patrons can get a copy?

The IGNITE! Zine will be available for purchase at the Merchandise table each night of the festival. It features art and poetry and prose submitted by youth. It is hand-made and incredibly awesome!

There are quite a diverse range of themes throughout the week, how does the youth panel decide on the programming for each night? 

This year we are featuring our favourite themes from our extensive history as a festival. We have found that our audience has a variety of interests, and as we like to feature a variety of performers, a variety of themes seems to fit the bill! As a whole, our festival really has the youth aspect to tie everything together, so although our individual nights are quite varied, we hope that our audience will be keen to try out all the different flavours available!

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What are your must-see acts in this year’s IGNITE! Youth Festival?

Oh, I can’t pick favourites! Well, maybe I can. I know the performers in the band Leave, who are performing on Saturday, and psst – a bird told you (not I!) that a fantastic MC might be mastering that flawless ceremony! (OK – it’s me!).

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If there’s ONE thing you want our readers to know about this year’s festival, what would it be?

It’s going to freaking ROCK! Each night has an enthusiastic team of youth behind it, really shining the spotlight on amazing performers and creating a super fun environment for the audience to participate in. I hope to see you there!

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The IGNITE! Youth Festival runs from May 12 – 16. The festival includes showcases in music, dance, and spoken word, the world premiere of two one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit, variety shows featuring improv, circus arts, and much more! Tickets starts at only $2 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

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