Perth Festival of the Arts 2019 programme is working hard to encourage community participation and recognition of children and young people in the Arts and is set to work with over 600 young people during the 10-day Festival from 16-25th May.

The Culture and Connection report published earlier this year by the National Youth Arts Advisory Group, highlighted these two areas as key recommendations when considering how young people across Scotland might shape their creative futures.

A spokesman from Education and Children’s Services at Perth and Kinross Council commented, “Ensuring the young people of Perth and Kinross have access to quality arts opportunities offers rich and stimulating learning experiences.  By engaging in these experiences, children and young people can gain a real sense of social and cultural identity. 

"Due to the support from Perth Festival of the Arts, our young people are able to participate in schools performances with English Touring Opera and Scottish Opera.  To be part of these shows with such exceptional role models is crucial, and we are very grateful for their continued support.   

Equally, having big, bold family shows such as Horrible Histories on the programme brings a real sense of fun and enjoyment to theatre."

Three new shows will all celebrate young people in the Arts, from school children, through to students and some of Scotland’s leading young musicians.

The Cross Trust Young Musicians event not only celebrates the finest in youth music today, but also allows school age children to attend for only £1. Featuring four award-winning artists including ALBA Scots Singer of the Year, Iona Fyfe, alongside Anna Michels on classical piano, Murphy Robertson on classical saxophone and Luca Manning on jazz voice, the concert will include Rachmaninov, contemporary works for Saxophone, Gershwin and traditional song from the North East of Scotland. 

The star-studded Yamaha NEO Ensemble, a group of eight internationally-endorsed brass and percussion artists led by acclaimed long-standing Yamaha cornert artist Russell Gray will perform at Perth Concert Hall. The ensemble will be joined by brass students from local schools for part of the programme. This follows two days of workshops and recitals in local schools, as part of this year's Festival's youth outreach activity.

Finally, an exclusive Festival Contemporary Music Showcase from Perth College UHI, will highlight the creative performance practice from its Perth College UHI Popular Music Department.  The BA (Hons) Popular Music Students will present songs and instrumental music which will primarily feature fresh original compositions by up and coming student songwriters with support from Perth College UHI staff. 

Helen MacKinnon, Festival Administrator commented, “Over the 48 years it has been running, Perth Festival of the Arts has taken its role in inspiring young people very seriously.  As we work towards our 50th anniversary in 2021, the Festival Committee are committed to building further on this part of our work as a charity.

She continued, “Our annual Festival Service by Perth Youth Orchestra in St John’s Kirk has always been one of the great traditions of Perth Festival of the Arts. This is an inspirational and uplifting event and brings a wonderful performance by our city's youth orchestra.”

As well as opportunities for participating, programming for the annual 10-day Festival focused on ensuring this year’s line-up included a headline production for children.  Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain will play two performances, giving the Festival their only Scottish tour date, and bringing all the thrill of a children’s West End production to Perth.

A series of free workshops (already sold out) including the Pop-Up opera Roadshow and a children’s illustration workshop with Jill Calder, the Scottish artist who created the vibrant Festival artwork, have ensured plenty of opportunity for children as young as five to get involved.

Monday 20 May 2019