Helen Emery on Young Critics 2018
Having joined the board of the Lichfield Festival to use my experience and expertise in education and literature, being invited to run the Young Critics scheme 2018 seemed an ideal opportunity for me to contribute practically.
The Young Critics scheme gives young people under the age of 18 the chance to work alongside the Festival team, meet with artists and develop their writing skills. For every show that a Young Critic attends they write a short review, which is posted onto the Festival blog.
Marketing the scheme using my contacts in local schools, uptake this year was good – with 10 Young People ranging from Year 7 to 6th form attending and reviewing events.
We held a workshop in advance of the festival run by Amy Stutz – as an award winning theatre reviewer she was able to advice our critics on best practice and they could discuss how to make their reviews the best they can be.
The excitement and anticipation of the Young People when I met them before each event was contagious – for many of them attending such an event was a completely new experience. For me, it was the making of my festival experience.
And the results? Some of the most original, heart felt written responses to our events I have ever read. Check them out on our website and judge for yourself.
When asked for feedback on the scheme, all the young critics gave the events 4 out of 5 stars.
Every single one of them wants to be involved again next year – with one stating quite simply “A great experience”.
I for one cannot wait!