Anna Plasberg-Hill is the Drama Development Coordinator at Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA). We sat down and talked to her about APA, their new festival Light the Blue and their ambitious plans for the future.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what your role is with Aberdeen Performing Arts?
I work in the Creative Learning Team at Aberdeen Performing Arts as the Drama Development Coordinator. In this role, I have the pleasure of managing APA’s Youth Theatre, delivering a range of different participation and outreach projects, as well as contributing to the wider Creative Learning programme. Recently, my focus has been putting together the programme for Light the Blue, which has been great fun. It’s a very varied job – no week is ever the same as the next!
How did the idea for a local Youth Arts Festival emerge?
The idea behind Light the Blue is to create an opportunity to really celebrate the brilliant young people that take part in the youth theatre and youth music activity at APA, as well as inspire new young people in and around Aberdeen. Our groups have always worked towards performances and concerts in the summer term, but we really wanted to bring everyone together and create a platform for our young creatives to share work with each other and a wider audience. We’re also really keen to create opportunities for new participants engage with APA through the workshop programme and panel discussion.
What do you hope your young people will get out of the festival?
The festival is an opportunity to develop new audiences and reach local young people that may not have engaged with APA or the wider arts scene in Aberdeen. It’s also a really exciting challenge for our current participants to be part of. They have been involved from the outset of the project, and are at the heart of the festival. The festival is an opportunity for them to develop skills and knowledge which they can then carry into the future.
Have you come across any challenges whilst organising the festival?
As it’s a brand new project, I think the challenge has been to establish the festival, to discover its identity and make sure that we’re getting the tone of the festival right for our young people and our audiences. At the same time, you’re looking after all of the organisational elements too, so it’s making sure that we keep sight of the bigger picture and remember what an exciting project we’re working towards!
What are your highlights of the festival and why should people come along?
Oh, it’s tricky to say what the highlights will be – I hope the programme has something for everyone! We’re delighted to present three newly devised productions from our Youth Theatre inspired by the theme of ‘youth’, as well as an eclectic gig from our Project Band musicians which is sure to get people on the dance floor! Alongside the performances, there are also three skills workshops to take part in, and a panel discussion on the topic: Approaching a Career in the Arts that is not to be missed. This will be a great opportunity to meet industry professionals, and ask burning questions about getting started in the arts.
People should come along because it’s going to be an action-packed, inspiring week. Audiences should expect thought-provoking and entertaining performances, lively discussion and opportunities to learn something new. I’m also pleased to say that all three youth theatre productions and the panel discussion will be BSL signed.
What do you hope will happen at APA as a result of the festival?
I hope that the festival will shine a light on the creative young people we work with, and inspire new audiences to be part of the wider arts community. We plan for the festival to take place annually, so I hope the festival will grow and develop year on year and become an event that young people in Aberdeen look forward to.