Meeting of cultures at youth arts event

Back, from left, Mesh team members Mason Thomas-Downes, 15, Ryan Clune, 15, and Taair Anna Shatz, 17. Front, from left: Jordan Richardson, 16, Matilda Sloley, 17, and Yasmin Sidhwa of Pegasus

Back, from left, Mesh team members Mason Thomas-Downes, 15, Ryan Clune, 15, and Taair Anna Shatz, 17. Front, from left: Jordan Richardson, 16, Matilda Sloley, 17, and Yasmin Sidhwa of Pegasus Buy this photo

First published in News by

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:

Beds in sheds: Almost 300 illegal dwellings across Oxford

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 29th January 2015

THERE are almost 300 illegal dwellings currently across the city, with officials warning the number could rise.

UPDATE: Reports of snow in Chipping Norton and Carterton as warning issued for county

Oxford Mail: Ice warning for Sussex after more snow falls

12:06pm Thursday 29th January 2015

There have been reports of snow in Chipping Norton and Carterton as the county was issued a warning for wintry weather.

Tables: GCSE and A Level results for 2014

Oxford Mail:

12:30pm Thursday 29th January 2015

Results tables released by the Department for Education

Sheep dies after flock stray onto A40 near Wolvercote

Oxford Mail: Swampy the sheep and her lamb

9:33am Thursday 29th January 2015

A SHEEP was killed in an incident which closed the A40 near Wolvercote for almost half an hour last night.

Alfie Potter desperate to get smile back after moving from Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 29th January 2015

ALFIE Potter says he will always have great memories from his time at Oxford United.

Volunteers praised as ebola vaccine tests progress

Oxford Mail:

8:10am Thursday 29th January 2015

THE first results from the trial of an Ebola vaccine have shown it is well tolerated and provokes an immune response.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree