At the National Festival of Youth Theatre in 2014, Daniel Purves (who volunteered at the Festival) gave a speech at a reception event. We’ve published the text from his speech below.
I’m Daniel and this year I’m attending my sixth year of NFYT.
I started at youth theatre almost 10 years ago and I believe it changed my life. I met so many people who have been such huge inspirations to me. Kinetic introduced me to new ways of thinking and questioning. I very quickly realised that the joy I received from theatre lay deeper than performing on stage and reading new texts. It lay with the socialising, discovering and in the challenges.
I learnt through theatre so much about being human and even more about the person I wanted to be.
In 2008 I attended my first NFYT with Kinetic and instantly found myself surrounded in a highly creative and inclusive environment where everything was accepted and having fun seemed to be the main priority. I left the festival desperate for more and to experience that feeling again.
As I grew older I started developing my own artistic voice and became more involved at Kinetic with the all-round creative process, and not just the performance.
I am currently studying contemporary performance practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I keep finding myself trying to re-create the environment I was immersed in in 2008.
NFYT gave me the opportunity to be inspired at every turn. Being at the festival as an Amigo and experiencing the festival in this way has definitely deepened my understanding of what it takes to create that environment. This has undoubtedly affected and shaped my ideas on the work I want to create – as an artist and the kind of facilitator I want to be.
Being an Amigo the last two years has been so much fun. I’ve felt so challenged and so extremely supported.
I can honestly say that I have never spent a weekend like NFYT at any other youth theatre festival in Britain. The festival is so exciting and inspiring. It perfectly grasps our need as humans to be surrounded by people, adventure, drama and ultimately fun.
As part of our #PlayaLeadRole Kickstarter fundraising appeal, we asked Daniel to update us on life since he gave his speech:
A lot of time has passed and a lot has changed since my years of attending NFYT. Almost three years have passed since I was given the opportunity to work with Youth Theatre Arts Scotland whilst studying at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
When I graduated from the Royal Conservatoire, just under a year ago, I was unsure of what lay next for me. I was confused by all of the opportunities on offer, and incredibly excited by the network of people I’d met and collaborated with in the past four years. I allowed myself distance from my studies, and most importantly, time. I gave myself time to decide what was next for me and where I wanted to go.
I am currently in the process of returning to college to study additional Higher qualifications so I can study a PDGE in Secondary Drama Teaching at Edinburgh University in the next few years. Five years ago, this likely wouldn’t be at all where I thought I’d be. But, if attending NFYT for six years, working with artists as talented as I have, and [my network of contacts] at the Royal Conservatoire has taught me anything, it’s that you never quite know what is around the corner. Sometimes the unexpected can be the most exciting territory to be in and ultimately the most rewarding.
You can play a lead role in transforming young lives by backing Scotland’s National Festival of Youth Theatre 2017 at www.kickstarter.com until 23 June 2017.