Dance, music, poetry and animation – the young people of Yorkshire take centre stage!

It’s just gone 10 o’clock on a Tuesday morning and the stalls and circle at York’s 250 year old Theatre Royal are packed with children, young people, teachers and employees of arts and youth organisations dancing and singing their hearts out.  ‘Right foot stamp, left foot stamp, click fingers, shout woo, click and repeat,’ comes the shout from the stage.  On this cold January morning, Cathy Roberts, musician and Education Development Adviser for the Creative and Performing Arts in Yorkshire, is leading the audience in a musical warm-up

Just before 10am, the audience had been welcomed into the auditorium by the Garforth Jazz Rock Band.  The day began – and ended – with these children and young people of all ages from north Leeds showing a public audience their creativity and dedication through the big, glorious sound of harmonious brass, strings and percussion.


'The Garforth Jazz Rock Band may have done lots of exciting performances over the years but each year the membership changes and for some of the young people on stage, it was the first time they had ever done anything as big and prestigious. The students loved it!'

Dave Evans – Band Leader and Director of Arts SPTA (Schools Partnership Trust Academies)


Children and young people in Yorkshire are playing a starring role building the creative industries for the next generation, as the region’s young dancers, musicians, poets and animators showed when they took to the stage at CapeUK’s ARTSlive! celebration last week.  In a morning of inspirational, energising entertainment, they performed for a live audience and showcased their talents to a wider audience through Pilot-Theatre TV.

'There was a really great atmosphere and it was really good to hear and see different stories and hear different performances.'

Cathy Roberts, Education Development Adviser: Creative and Performing Arts, North Yorkshire


Cluny McPherson, Regional Director of the Arts Council in Yorkshire, welcoming people to the theatre, traced his love of music back to the free recorder lessons he had had at school. ‘The arts are vital in schools because we don’t have lessons in, for instance – love or sadness or joy,’ he said.


@Curious_tweeter – CapeUK Artsmark celebration event, being live streamed at, makes exciting, inspiring viewing #ARTSliveYorks

@lucymayhind – @G18Dance really enjoyed the performance today via live stream. A beautiful piece of work.
@G18Dance – @lucymayhind wonderful experience. Thank you.                      twitter-bird-small


'Well done on behalf of Trinity College London for putting on a great event.  There was a very positive vibe in the audience and it was a great way of celebrating the achievements of the schools and settings achieving Artsmark within the region!'

Katy Vine, UK Regional Manager (Arts Award and Artsmark) Trinity College London


Every performer who took part attends a school, college or youth justice setting which has been awarded the prestigious Artsmark. Artsmark is Arts Council England’s flagship programme to enable schools and other organisations to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their arts and cultural provision. It is delivered by Trinity College London and 10 regional Bridge organisations drive participation. CapeUK, one of the 10 regional bridge organisations, hosted the York event. 


'What we have seen live on stage this morning shows that young people in our region alone have creative talent and skills in abundance.' 

Pat Cochrane, CapeUK CEO


About Artsmark

 • Nationally recognised as demonstrating excellence in arts and cultural provision

 • 3,200+ schools and other education settings in England currently hold Artsmark status

 • 7,500+ schools and other education settings in England have been awarded Artsmark or Artsmark Gold since 2000

 • For 2012/13 academic year, the fee to join the Artsmark network is £30 and the Artsmark application fee is £50


About Arts Award

 • Arts Award is a national accredited qualification which supports young people aged 7-25 to enjoy the arts, take part in arts activities and develop creative and leadership skills


Both programmes are delivered managed by leading international examinations board Trinity College London, which offers qualifications across a range of disciplines in the creative and performing arts


Actor and poet set the tone

Between the acts, teachers, artists and young people spoke passionately about the positive impact arts and culture have on young lives.  21-year old actor Jack McMullen, who played bad boy Finn Sharkey in the hit BBC school drama show Waterloo Road,  talked about how the opportunities he had had through school and arts organisations had led him to acting, starting with the role of the Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist when he was just five years old.



Highlights from the line-up

(Click the links below for more information and/or footage from the ARTSlive! event)

 •  Garforth Academy Leeds Jazz Rock Band 

 •  Rotherham Schools Shakespeare Festival Film: Open Minds Theatre – 1500 children from five schools in performance

 •  Behind the Scenes of Artsmark film

 •  Hyrstmount Habitats – winner of the BFI’s Grand Prize for outstanding film (6-12 years) at Kids for Kids UK film Festival – created by Hyrstmount Junior School with artist Fabric Lenny

 •  Miro, a Torch and the Big Sing – twenty schools in North Yorkshire collaborate to create sculptures inspired by Miro and to mark the passing of the Olympic Torch in full voice. See the full presentation here

 •  Dance United

 •  St Peter’s Church of England Primary SchoolSt  John Fisher’s Catholic High School and St Aidan’s Church of England High School associated sixth form dance group streaming in from Harrogate with dance with Taiko drumming and dance performance about young peoples' experience of social media


Taking the role of compère were Barnsley native and poet Andrew McMillan and movement director / choreographer Lucy Hind.  Andrew’s poem about giving, striving, living and learning went straight to the heart of the value of arts education.

'Believe in what you’re doing, and shout loud about it!'

Cath Lennon, Headteacher of Brigshaw High School and Language College, Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire


Educational value is economic value

The creative industries are well worth celebrating as businesses and politicians combine forces to kick-start the economy. The UK has the largest creative sector in Europe, employing over two million people and contributing six per cent of the country’s GDP. Read more here.

Speaking at the event, CapeUK CEO Pat Cochrane said: ‘It’s a privilege to be able to celebrate the achievements of all the young people with us today at the Theatre Royal.  The performances we have seen this morning bring to life in the most vivid way possible the value of Arts Council England’s goal of every child and young person having the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts.’

'…a much needed event in these rather austere and depressing times. I hope that everyone there of all ages went away feeling that the Arts are alive and kicking despite the climate.’

Tim Brooks, Arts Education Manager, City of York Council

Pat continued:  ‘Against a backdrop of cuts for arts organisations,  fewer teacher training places for arts subjects and continuing uncertainty about the status of the arts in schools, it’s easy to lose sight of the huge economic contribution made by the arts.’

The children and young people who brought York’s Theatre Royal to life last week in celebration of Artsmark got the message across loud and clear: nurturing the creative talents of the next generation profoundly and positively affects the richness of our communities, our culture and our economy, both here in Yorkshire and Humber and across the UK.

Photographs taken by Lizzie Coombes on behalf of CapeUK.