South Shields festival is hailed as ‘the best yet’

The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize winners, front left to right, Lauren Aspery, Finn Edmonds and Bo Buglas, with judges Alistair Robinson, back left, and Tom Kelly, back right.
The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize winners, front left to right, Lauren Aspery, Finn Edmonds and Bo Buglas, with judges Alistair Robinson, back left, and Tom Kelly, back right.

Thousands of young people created a huge buzz around The Customs House after taking over the venue for a week of arts activities.

This year’s Takeover Festival has been hailed “the biggest and best yet” thanks to the support of funders, notably Scottish Power Foundation, and a dedicated team of young people in charge of programming events.

Connor Gribben

Connor Gribben

They attracted international-acclaimed artists to take part in a range of workshops, including a drag make-up masterclass with Cheddar Gorgeous, graffiti art with Mark Shields, breakdancing with Just Jam International and Bad Taste Cru and hip-hip with Kay Greyson and Max Gavins.

Izzy Finch, learning and participation officer at The Customs House, said: “The Takeover is our annual youth arts festival, now in its fourth year and benefits thousands of young people across the North East each year by giving them the chance to take part in arts activities picked and organised by The Takeover Team.”

Youngsters attending sessions were given the chance to achieve a Discover Arts Award for the first time after they explored science and art. Artwork submitted for the Takeover Open Exhibition will remain on show in the Port of Tyne Gallery, at The Customs House, until August 31.

Alistair Robinson and Tom Kelly returned to judge The Terry Kelly Poetry Prize 2018, which went to Finn Edmonds for Why? in the under-11s category.

The Cheddar Gorgeous make-up class

The Cheddar Gorgeous make-up class

Bo Buglass won the 11 to 16 category with This Too Will Pass and Lauren Aspery won the 16 to 25 section for her poem My First Pair.

Lauren said: “It was an absolute honour to be involved and share the stage with such wonderful poets. It has also been a big eye-opener for me in terms of knowing my writing can go somewhere and does something for other people.”

The winners have recorded their poems at The CustomSpace, in South Shields, and all entries were included in an anthology, published online and in a book, available from The Customs House and The Word in South Shields.

The Takover Festival 2018 was generously supported by Arts Council England, South Tyneside Council, Scottish Power Foundation, The Barbour Foundation, WA Handley, Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Shields Gazette, The Word and Red Squirrel Press.

The cast of Wormtown

The cast of Wormtown

l For more information about The Takeover Festival, contact Izzy Finch on (0191) 427 8193 or e-mail izzy@customshouse.co.uk.

Kay Greyson

Kay Greyson

The Cheddar Gorgeous make-up class

The Cheddar Gorgeous make-up class