Light the Blue festival to return in June

Aberdeen Performing Arts have announced the return of its youth arts festival, Light the Blue. The events take place between 10 and 18…

Light the Blue festival to return in June

Aberdeen Performing Arts have announced the return of its youth arts festival, Light the Blue. The events take place between 10 and 18 June, with almost 30 events planned across six venues over eight days. The festival boasts its biggest-ever lineup and most ambitious programme yet.

Light the Blue caters to a wide range of ages, from 5 up to 25, with events suitable for everyone. It’s a celebration of the performing arts, incorporating music, film, dance, workshops, and drama. International and world-class performers will share the stage with the best and brightest young creatives from the region.

What is Light the Blue?

Light the Blue 2023 will showcase performances and collaborations with organisations from Scotland and beyond. This includes the Traverse Theatre, Citymoves Dance Agency, Mahogany Opera, North East Scotland College, Orchard Brae School, Scottish Youth Theatre, Eden Court Youth Theatre, and many more.

The festival aims to be accessible, offering many free and pay-what-you-can events. Moreover, the festival paves the way for future youth arts projects by asking audiences to donate.

The highlights

The festival will kick off on Saturday, June 10, with events and performances aimed at young families. The highlight of the day will be the Pop-Up event. This takes over the Bon Accord Centre’s Roof Terrace for an afternoon of free pop-up activities for young people and their families. It includes and interactive outdoor show Unicorn Dance Party, The Dab Hands. There will also be performances from Citymoves Dance Agency and Academy of Expressive Arts.

Light the Blue 2023 will culminate with two spectacular performances. First is The Magical Music of Harry Potter on Sunday 18 June. A spectacular performance by Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Music Hall . Secondly, the festival will host a performance from the Madison Youth Choir from the USA and ACE Voices Intergenerational Choir at Queen’s Cross Church.

Light the Blue promises to be an exceptional event. It provides a platform for young creatives to showcase their talents, participate in workshops and collaborate with world-class performers. It’s also an opportunity for the community to come together, support the arts. It celevrates the creativity of young people in the region.

What else to expect

One of the highlights is the flagship education project by Traverse Theatre called Class Act, which challenges secondary-aged pupils to become artists and writers, creating brand-new creative work. Throughout the project, pupils from five local schools will develop scripts that will be performed on stage by an ensemble of professional theatre-makers. This is an excellent opportunity for young people to express themselves creatively and showcase their talents.

Another event to look forward to is The World Through My Eyes, a specially commissioned installation piece in collaboration with Orchard Brae School. The exhibition invites audiences to view the world through the eyes of a young person with complex needs. The project is a collaboration between visual artist Jenny Hood and drama artist Saffron Gillies. It aims to explore how we navigate the world from different perspectives.

Produced by young performers

The Fuse performances are another exciting aspect of the festival, featuring four separate events showcasing participants from across Scotland, including Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Youth Theatres. The series features new and devised work produced and presented by young performers, some created with support from leading Scottish theatre company Visible Fictions. This is an excellent opportunity for young people to showcase their creativity and talent in the performing arts.

The festival also features the Snappy Operas Showcase, which is the culmination of a school engagement project. Pupils from Hanover Street, Gilcomstoun, Riverbank, and Westpark Schools will showcase performances from their ten-minute pieces. The Snappy Operas project is a school programme by Mahogany Opera that introduces primary-aged children to the essential elements of opera — singing, acting, and making — in a fun and colourful way.

An exciting insight

A Step into the Music Industry is another exciting event at the festival, which provides secondary school students with an insight into the music industry. The event will begin with an interactive look at the different creative areas and subjects taught at NESCOL, providing a unique opportunity to discover and explore various aspects of the music industry. The festival culminates in a live set and Q&A from North East singer/songwriter Rhona Macfarlane.

The festival will end with a multi-artform takeover of the Music Hall, featuring pop-up performances, film screenings, dance, and music. The evening will finish with The Big Gig, featuring an evening of music and gigs from various youth groups, including Big Noise Torry, Aberdeen Jazz Youth, Scottish Tradition and Culture Youth, Aberdeen City Council Music Service, and Orchard Brae’s Makaton Choir.