A group of smiling young people

Before Christmas, The Priory and Youth Takeover groups met for the first time at South Holland Centre, and teamed up to create a makeshift sensory world using a plethora of materials, sounds and textures for the senses. There were sparkles and shimmers for the forest floor, flickers of colour, floating, fluffy clouds and hanging stars.

Accompanying this was the scintillating soundscape of a smorgasbord of instruments as performed live by some of the young people.

The energy in the room was dynamic and exciting; this was a wonderful first collaboration between the two groups. Though shy at first, we saw quite a few come out of their shells by the end of the session and of course time / logistics permitting, it would be great to get both groups together more regularly. Followed by the Acoustic Cafe led by the young people at the South Holland Centre, the Priory students enjoyed the show as a veritably vocal audience.

This session paved the way for A Midsummer Night’s Dream forest sensory zone which will be displayed in Ayscoughfee Hall & Gardens at the festival!

After getting to know the young people at the South Holland Centre, we recognised and spoke about their talents, beginning work on material for the Emerge Sharing. This took the form of a cheeky trio named Mus, Bot and Tit who created updated scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedic rap from MC Macbeth, a serenader dressed as an orange hippy-monk-fairy-lord and a catwalk to the sounds of RuPaul’s iconic track ‘put that bass in your walk”.

We stepped into 2018 with a fantastic dance masterclass in February, with magical Guest Artist: Danni Spooner – sassy styles, mischievous moves and Fairy versus Puck-like poses filled the space, with such positive and creative input from the young people. We observed a natural symbiosis between Danni and the students during choreography and performance. We are all looking forward to this as a performance for the festival as part of the “Battle of the Forest” in the Market Place, accompanied by sprinkles and slumbering sounds from Mythm.

The week of  21 February we were so excited to welcome Guest Artist, Mark, to the South Holland Centre to deliver a Drag masterclass who taught us the wonderful ways of Drag Queens: their strut, expressions, alter ego and hair/makeup styling. Visiting the beautiful location of Ayscoughfee Hall and Gardens followed up by a glorious meeting with Julia has bolstered our confidence and flooded us with excitement for the festival.

It has been truly rewarding to see the clear progression in confidence and expression in the young people. There are students from both locations who have shown more freedom in thinking and sharing, who have shown more faith in their own ideas and who have felt more empowered to speak / perform in front of others.

Jenny Hibberd, Spoken Word Poet, Musician and Crafty Designer 

Emerge Spalding will take place on Saturday 21 April from 12-9pm at 12:00pm Market Place, Spalding; 1pm Ayscoughfee Hall & Gardens and from 6.30pm at the South Holland Centre. Details can be found here.   Emerge Festivals are FREE. 



Emerge is a regional programme of one-day festivals led by young people in the heart of local communities. The festivals are directed by a commissioned young artist, in partnership with schools and community organisations. Over the past two years Emerge has delivered 24 children and young people-led arts festivals in 12 Midlands locations. These festivals celebrate the life and work of William Shakespeare, with an emphasis on language and storytelling using a range of different disciplines from performance to visual art.

The Emerge festivals happen simultaneously across the midlands over one day. The festivals are planned, programmed and promoted by young people, led by artists selected through an open call. The festivals will take place in these geographic areas:

East Midlands – Horncastle, Spalding, Boston, Corby, Mansfield and Ashfield

West Midlands – Cannock Chase, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Tamworth and Wolverhampton