Youth Takeover! A guest post from our Youth program Manager, Ariel Martz-Oberlander, about IGNITE! Youth Driven Arts Festival!
Every year, for one week in May, The Cultch is taken over and transformed by young people for the IGNITE! Youth-Driven Arts Festival, run by our Youth Program. Hundreds of young people are involved in what has grown to be Western Canada’s largest youth-driven arts festival. The festival includes showcases in music, dance, and spoken word, the world premiere of 4 one-act plays, a visual arts exhibit, variety shows featuring music, circus arts, and much more. All of this is created by local artists between the ages of 13-26.
As the Youth Program Manager, it has been my great pleasure to support this festival as a learning opportunity and as the main project of our program. Putting on a festival of this size, with nine nights of programming, is no small task! It is such a joy to work with young people dedicated to learning the skills necessary for a life-long pursuit of the arts in a variety of fields.
This year, I am thrilled to be bringing in a touring show for the first time as part of the festival. The Chemical Valley Project was created by youth-run Toronto theatre company, Broadleaf Theatre, through conversations with activists from Aamjiwnaang, near Sarnia, Ontario. Through a unique blend of documentary-theatre, projections design, object puppetry, and solo-performance, the show sparks conversations on Canadian environmental policy, treaty rights and Indigenous relations, as well as the current nature of Canadian identity and values. I am excited for these cross-country conversations, and about connecting youth based on important topics about the country they will inherit.
Literally every aspect of the IGNITE!Festival is produced by the youth. From media relations and promotion, to stage managing and running the lighting and sound boards, to curating and hanging the gallery show, there are countless ways to become involved, whether on stage or behind the scenes, and it’s not too late for this year! If there is a young person in your life who wants to lend a hand with this eclectic and ambitious festival, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IGNITE! Gallery Opening: May 2nd, 6 pm
Special Presentation of The Chemical Valley Project in the Vancity Culture Lab: May 8, 7:30 pm
IGNITE! Mainstage Week at the Historic Theatre: May 15-19, 7:30 pm
One Act Plays at the Vancity Culture Lab: May 11-12, 7:30 pm
Visual Arts Gallery Exhibit: May 2-19, Opening night May 2, 6-8 pm – FREE!
The Chemical Valley Project ticket pricing:
Youth (26 and Under) / Senior (65+): $15.00
IGNITE! One Act Plays, and Mainstage week ticket pricing:
Youth (26 and Under) / Senior (65+): $2 (in advance); $4(at the door)
Adult: $10 (in advance); $12 (at the door)
Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363