Starboard Festival

StarboardSocial2Starboard Festival took place from 2nd – 17th July 2016. It was a response to the newly opened Brighton Open Air Theatre and a desire to make the BOAT part of the landscape for children and young people. It was created through the input over over 50 people who came together in the summer of 2015. You can read about how it developed here.

The Festival was a great success, with over 40 shows programmed over 2 weeks, an audience of thousands and Starboard commissions for Tamasha Theatre and Ria Parry. We programmed work made by, for and with children and young people from schools, youth theatres, drama schools and independent theatre companies. The Theatre Royal, The Dome, The Komedia, The Old Market and South East Dance all programmed professional shows for children as part of the festival.

After the dust had settled it became clear that we needed a longer lead in time to create another festival, so we decided to run it again in July 2018.

I received some much needed Research and Development money from Arts Council England to look at how we could develop Starboard in the future.

I started the R&D in the summer of 2017 and it became clear that Starboard was a response to BOAT, not to the needs and dreams of children and young people in the city. The BOAT’s programme in 2017 was full of shows for children and it didn’t feel as though a festival was really needed.

As part of the research I read lots of reports about the barriers that are stopping young people (particularly from working class communities) from making a life for themselves in theatre.

So, after lots of conversations, the R&D for Starboard has evolved into the R&D for what Brighton People’s Theatre’s offer to the city will become for children and young people. It’s likely that we’ll do something at the BOAT at some point, but we’d like the offer to be year round, so we’ll also be working in partnership with other theatres in the city too.

I am holding three meetings in partnership with Our Future City to get the input of drama teachers, youth theatre leaders, theatre-makers, other professionals working in theatre and young people over the next few weeks.

  1. We are running a workshop at Our Future City’s Joint Practice Development Day. If you are a drama teacher in the city you can sign up to attend the event and a range of other workshops here.
  2. We are running an evening meeting for drama teachers, youth theatre leaders, theatre-makers and other professionals working in theatre with an interest in children and young people’s work at the Basement on Wednesday 21st February from 6.30-8pm. You can sign up to come to that meeting here.
  3. We are running an early evening meeting for young people aged 14 and over who have an interest in any aspect of theatre making: writing, devising, performing, producing, directing, stage management, set, lighting or sound design at the Basement on Monday 26th February from 6.30-8pm. You can sign up to come to that meeting here.

Massive thanks to these fabulous people without whom Starboard Festival would never have happened. It was magic. Thank you.

Julia Box, Brighton and Hove Council Youth Service, Linda Dupret, Head Teacher St Paul’s Primary School, Claire Raftery, BOAT Trustee, Donna Close, BOAT Trustee, Debbie Fitzgerald, BHASVIC Drama Teacher, Dulani Kulasinghe, Banyan Tree Theatre, Emma Edwards, Facepack Theatre, Jackie Alexander, Theatre Royal Brighton, James Turnbull, The Old Market, Bex Fidler, Brighton Dome and Festival, Janette Eddisford, ACT, Anne-Marie Williams, BOAT Manager, Richard Freeman, Always Possible.


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