HUNDREDS of young people from across the world got a warm welcome from Oxford teenagers at the city’s third international youth arts festival.
A group from Pegasus Theatre in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, organised the 10-day Mesh 2014 festival, which began yesterday.
A team of 20 teenagers aged between 15 and 18 has been planning the event since September, and visitors have arrived from Russia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, France, Croatia and Germany.
Festival planning committee member Matilda Sloley joined this year’s committee after helping to prepare for the previous two festivals.
She said: “The last few weeks have been really exciting, seeing it all come together and conquering the challenges we have faced.
“It’s been tricky to come to every single meeting because of other commitments like school.”
The 17-year-old, who lives off Abingdon Road, is a pupil at the Cherwell School in Marston Ferry Road.
She added: “We have not raised as much money as we hoped to.
“It’s difficult because in previous years it’s been easier to get funding from the British Council (the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations) and Oxfordshire County Council, but I guess in these times it’s harder to get the money.”
The committee needed to raise £61,000 to feed, accommodate and provide travel passes for the international visitors. But despite fundraising efforts, the team is still short of about £7,000.
Festival director Yasmin Sidhwa said: “The lack of funding is having a massive effect on Pegasus and what Pegasus is able to do.
“We are not getting downhear-ted, we are just firefighting because we are determined to make this a brilliant success – but it’s making things 20 times harder.”
While more time was volunteered to the project, the committee’s administration budget was cut due to lack of funds.
Committee members also had to adapt original plans and request more sponsorship from businesses.
Teenagers have been working on publicity, organising workshops and debates, and inviting companies to the festival.
The arts celebration will include performances staged by international visitors at Pegasus Theatre and at the North Wall Arts Centre off Banbury Road.
The festival will finish with a street parade and grand finale at Oxford Town Hall on Friday, August 1, with young people joining to perform a modern adaptation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf.
Ms Sidhwa said: “It’s about these young people having a voice, showing other countries what they can do and bringing other young people to us.”
Blackbird Leys committee member Jordan Richardson, 15, a pupil at the Oxford Academy, said: “Mesh opens your mind to new ideas and new things – it’s a big cultural exchange.”
For more information visit pegasustheatre.org.uk/mesh
- Our top stories:
5:18pm Friday 27th March 2015
THE family of missing Oxford woman Emily Stiff have been told about the discovery of a woman's body in the Thames this afternoon.
2:44pm Friday 27th March 2015
A FORMER headteacher due to be sentenced for molesting young boys was the man found dead in the Thames on Tuesday, it has emerged today.
8:59am Friday 27th March 2015
POLICE feared there could be more victims after 10 people were last night in custody after a series of anti-slavery raids.
5:42pm Friday 27th March 2015
A man accused of burning down council offices in South Oxfordshire has been deemed fit enough to enter pleas.
Two lanes closed southbound on M40 between Thame and Watlington junctions after car hits central reservation
5:05pm Friday 27th March 2015
ONE person was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital this afternoon after a crash on the M40 closed two lanes of traffic.
4:00pm Friday 27th March 2015
TWO men accused of conspiracy to steal from a city centre jewellers have appeared in Oxford Magistrates' Court.