Tyca festival postponed

Tyca Festival Postponed

Statement from Tony Laurance, Chair of Arts Taunton

We have made the regrettable decision to postpone the Tyca Festival.

This has been extremely difficult, and the decision was not taken lightly. We have been discussing the increasing numbers of pupils who are unable to perform due to rising Covid cases, and the schools have rightly made the decision to give pupils a 10-day break during half term to reduce the rising figures.

In this light we have made the very tough decision to look for new dates in the new year, so our young people do not lose the opportunity to perform and share their talents.

The two exhibitions, will carry on as planned as the work has already been completed in one case, and is forming part of the curriculum in the other.

Since making this announcement we have been sent many messages of sympathy and support for this decision and we are grateful for the sentiment and understanding.

For more details going forward, please visit our dedicated Tyca website at https://tycafestival.co.uk

Tyca Festival 2021

Tyca 2021 Festival Empowers Young People

“2020 was quite a year for the charity Arts Taunton and their TYCA (Taunton Youth Culture & Arts) festival. Thanks to the pandemic the whole festival was switched online, and whilst record numbers attended, the buzz of that live performance is hard to emulate!” said Julie O’Donnell, Trustee of Arts Taunton.

This year the festival is dipping into the experience of last year and has announced 2021’s theme as EMPOWERMENT.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we want to encourage young people to be bold, embrace life and share their stories through the arts,” said Festival Director, Deborah Baddoo.

The charity is not only asking the young performers to interpret this in their own way, but they have also fed the theme right through the festival organisation, bringing some incredible talent to the local theatre stages and venues. These talented performers include graduates who have left the area to train and returned to share their skills and experience; performers having made it nationally and internationally are now returning to mentor Taunton Deane’s young talent today.

The festival organisers will be offering a platform for a celebration of all things empowering and give our young people an important voice and avenue in which to perform.

Tickets for all performances are now on sale, and all under 18’s can attend free.

Performances encompass spoken word cabarets, a music festival, film festival, dance festival, drama festival and a fashion and art exhibition. A special family show of the Musicians of Bremen will also be performed by the Bluebird Theatre Company in their Popera House. Workshops are also available to attend on stop-frame animation and making music.

All details of how to book are available on the festival website : https://tycafestival.co.uk

Tony Laurance

A word from our new Chair

Firstly, let me say, I am not a Tauntonian!

I visited Taunton frequently about 25 years ago to meet with colleagues across the south west region. I thought, what an attractive town: not too big or too small, flowery, brilliant for access and communications, surrounded by wonderful countryside.

These memories stayed with me when my wife and I were pondering where we might retire.

We came to Taunton and are delighted that we did. But Taunton has not entirely prospered in the intervening period. Like so many towns and cities, the high streets are struggling and the centre hollowing out. Anodyne new developments have sprung up around the town. And not much is going on – no buzz in the evenings of cinema and theatre goers and people eating out. All this has been accentuated by Covid of course.

I joined Arts Taunton because I wanted to help do something about it, to bring life and community back into the town. That’s what the arts can do – draw people in and together, create a sense of place and purpose, give a town a heart. That’s what we want to do through Arts Taunton: give Taunton back its heart.

We will need all your help and support to do it…

Tony  Laurance

Appointed Chair, April 2021

Ian McNeice behind the camera being filmed for Tyca Festival

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Join us for this LIVE online event via Zoom where we’ll share important and exciting updates with you and reveal the TYCA Festival outcomes and the theme for 2021.

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Jackie Clementines and Molly Jo McAlpine

Arts Taunton pulls off virtual festival

When the country went into crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of festivals all over the UK postponed, the uncertainty too much. Not so for local charity Arts Taunton.

The charity based in Somerset had launched the TYCA  youth festival the previous year and had a five year plan, with funding to match.

“We could easily have done what others did, see an insurmountable barrier, move the money into next year and done nothing,“ said Arts Taunton spokesperson and festival director, Deborah Baddoo. “But, that was not an option for us, as shutdown became a reality we began opening the doors and inviting young people in through virtual channels.”

The charity launched a new TYCA festival website and started reaching out to their contacts around the area; other businesses that would be willing to help them make it happen. They launched competition challenges for the first four weeks, with cash prizes, to allow young people up to the age of 25 to explore their creativity and find ways to relate to their new environments. Themes included ‘living in a small space’ and ‘what does a mask mean to you?’

“It was a time to be brave. The world changed daily, and indeed continues to do so,“ said Deborah, “but now more than ever we knew the creative industries needed supporting and young people needed an outlet for all their emotions. Arts Taunton began creating a platform for the young people of Somerset to meet that need.”

In March 2020 TYCA announced two online workshops, one for visual arts delivered by Go Create and one giving young people a voice through the Spoken Word delivered by Clementines Live Arts. The latter of these attracted children from all over the world, such is the reach of social media, and one school used it to help children of key workers bond and talk about how they felt.

Dates were set in the programme with the hope of still holding a live performance in October, but it became apparent that this would simply be too risky an assumption and the decision to go fully virtual was taken late July.

At this point the charity reached out to Digital Taunton, a confederacy of companies bound by their common platforms. Avenues were explored and teased through until a solution became apparent. The charity decided to stage the whole of the festival in two days in October and to try to make it feel as close to a live festival experience as they could.

Reaching out to the various venues, Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton kindly offered their skills to host socially- distanced performances. TYCA now had lighting, sound, an auditorium and stage.

“At this point we realised that even if we couldn’t broadcast or perform live we could create the atmosphere!“

Young videographer and Digital Taunton member, Glen Wayman of Highwayman Films, himself only 24, offered his expertise and crew in making the filming happen.

Up to then, the charity still didn’t have a clear picture as to how to broadcast the festival. They needed to data capture certain information to satisfy sponsors that their faith and contributions had indeed lead to the desired outcome; that of showcasing young people’s talents during this crisis.

At this point, Ian McNiece, who had attended Taunton School as a boy, agreed to become involved. Ian, who has a string of major film and TV credits to his name and is currently appearing as Bert in the popular TV series Doc Martin, offered his services in helping to weave the performances together.

“At last we had the missing link. We could create two distinct days of entertainment, with a professional actor graciously giving his time to compere and be link man for the various performances.“

And where does it all stand today?

Glen will go to London to film Ian at his home; a great outcome for the young enthusiastic videographer.

In the meantime, BBC Radio Somerset have picked up on TYCA and the Spoken Word workshops and offered to broadcast the young people’s performances.

The show, a mixture of professionally recorded performances and home recordings will be broadcast on the 17th of September at 8 pm.

In the spirit of true inclusivity, the show will also go out via Facebook watch party and stream on the TYCA festival website simultaneously.

In just a few short weeks TYCA festival will go live, the result of many collaborations. Arts Taunton, through the festival, has given 10 performing artists and their companies work during a time when little was available, a platform for young people to learn and be creative, and demonstrated the power of collaboration.

Please do join them on the 17th of September for the Spoken Word UPwords and ONwords performance and again on October 23rd and 24th for the TYCA festival via their website: https://tycafestival.co.uk

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