The takeover youth arts festival at the customs house

Written by on 8th June 2018

Thousands of young people created a huge buzz around The Customs House after taking over the venue for a week of arts activities.

This year’s Takeover Festival has been hailed “the biggest and best yet” thanks to the support of funders, notably Scottish Power Foundation, and a dedicated team of young people in charge of programming events.

They attracted international-acclaimed artists to take part in a range of workshops, including a drag make-up masterclass with Cheddar Gorgeous, graffiti art with Mark Shields, breakdancing with Just Jam International and Bad Taste Cru and hip-hip with Kay Greyson and Max Gavins.

The festival also included The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize, The North East Young Film Makers Awards, the premiere of Wormtown, written by The Takeover Festival’s first writer-in-residence, Reece Connolly, and the first Takeover Open Exhibition.

Youngsters attending Mini Maker and Mega Maker sessions were given the chance to achieve a Discover Arts Award for the first time during these sessions, in which they explored science and art.

Further Mini Maker sessions, for under-11s and their grown-ups, will be held during the summer holidays.

Artwork submitted for the Takeover Open Exhibition will remain on show in the Port of Tyne Gallery at The Customs House until August 31.

Jessica Donnelly, who won the 19 to 25 age category, will receive some mentoring before having a solo exhibition at The Customs House later this year.

Matt Antoniak, one of the founders of artist-led gallery space Slugtown in Newcastle, led the judging panel, which also selected Anna Johnson and James Barker as the winners of the 10 to 14 and 15 to 18 age categories respectively.

Alistair Robinson and Tom Kelly returned to judge The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize 2018, which went to Finn Edmonds for Why? in the under-11s category, Bo Buglass for This Too Will Pass in the 11 to 16 age group and Lauren Aspery for My First Pair on the 16 to 25 age group.

Lauren said: “It was an absolute honour to be involved and share the stage with such wonderful poets. It has also been a big eye opener for me in terms of knowing my writing can go somewhere and does something for other people.”

The winners have recorded their poems at The CustomSpace in South Shields and all entries were included in an anthology, published online and in a book, available from The Customs House and The Word in South Shields.

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