The Young Writers City at Excelsior students
A stunning catalogue of artistic work by the Young Writers City at Excelsior project was brought together and played out to a packed house last night in a fabulous show at Sage Gateshead.
Singing, acting, rapping, poetry and videos capturing many months of work with the New Writing North team showcased the artistic flair of dozens of Excelsior Academy pupils.
Scores of parents, friends and teachers packed the Sage Gateshead venue to watch the youngsters deliver powerful testimonies of what it is like to be a young person growing up in Newcastle.
Their hour-long performance was hailed by seasoned observers as standing comparison with the very best of the illustrious list of big names who have played the iconic venue.
The celebration of the Young Writers City project continues Excelsior’s proud tradition of placing the performing arts at the centre of school life.
Excelsior Academy Executive Principal Craig Taylor said: “It was a great privilege for me to witness the absolutely stunning show at Sage Gateshead last night.
“Without exception, the emotive power, commitment and talent displayed by our young people really was something to behold, and made me feel extremely proud to be part of this wonderful academy.
“A very different show from our ‘Les Miserables’ spectacular, this was raw, stripped back and reliant totally on the power of the words and the outstanding performances of the students.
“The show was the celebration of this year’s work with New Writing North/Young Writers City – which has created an amazing amount of quality work and which has helped unleash and develop some real talent.
“I have been inundated with messages of congratulations and praise from parents, Laidlaw Schools Trust, other school headteachers, arts organisations and councillors.”
Emily Wiseman, Young Writers City project co-ordinator at Excelsior, told the audience: “These students have made this look easy. They have tackled each stage of the project with professionalism and a fire in their bellies that has enabled us to push out the creative boundaries.
“We’ve been embedded into the academy for two years which has allowed us to form harmonious relationships with the staff and students and that’s enabled us to infinitely increase the capacity of the project.
“It is a really remarkable story of participatory arts in the creative and education sector. Its success is the sum of every single person who has contributed to it.
“One of the things that has enabled us to do this is the diversity of the student demographic.
“The background of the students means that we can really add some punch into our writing. This diversity is like Excelsior’s creative superpower – the students are able to bring their unique qualities and perspectives on the world to enrich the bold and beautiful writing that they create.”
A team of artists, musicians and writers from New Writing North work with Excelsior pupils to tap into their creativity and help them express it through different media.
Craig paid tribute at the celebration to the Excelsior team whose hard work has made the project such a success – Holly Knox, Natalie Bryce, Michael Davison, Michelle Tufnell, Fiona Duncan, Jasmin Jobe, Dermot Mullin, Faith Patterson, Szilvia Winn, Paula Richardson, Debbie Ritzema, Ali Kain, Laura Jackson, Jo Fleet, Louise Old, Deon Krishnan and Rebecca Youens.