Wakefield LitFest 2023 – A Festival of New Plays

First, we hear from a SPARK Youth Arts Ambassador who also directed one of the plays:

Welcome one and all to the one and only blog written by the one and only me, Jacob Dore. Today I will be talking about the wonderful ‘Festival of Plays’ which was part of the Wakefield LitFest and will be using my position as a SPARK Youth Ambassador to talk about this event as a youth-run and led event.

I have written many blogs in my time and yet I always find myself with one struggle, how to start the thing. So, I will take the easy road out and follow Lewis Carroll’s wisdom and begin at the beginning (of the event that is). Even before the start of the event it’s clear this is an event that considers youth at every step of the way with even the box office manned by two members of the LitFest team who are both, of course, youths. (I should also make mention by this point that by youths, I mean people aged from 16-25, I wasn’t given my tickets by a toddler). With the start of the event came the one and only appearance of a non-youth, Sarah Osborne. However, as was explained, this was because the person who was supposed to be running the introduction to the event was unfortunately unable to make it. This is also beside the point, the introduction lasted less than a minute and quite surely Sarah could pass for no older than twenty-five so all is well and no attention was lost on the focus of the event, the incredible talents of the youths of Wakefield and the genuinely cracking performances they can create in just three short months.

And so, we finally arrive at the meat of the matter, the event itself. I won’t beat around the bush and I’ll mince no words, what an incredible success it was and every person who participated in it should have their head held high (and I don’t just say this because I just so happened to have directed a play for the festival of plays). The event was created to showcase new writing and it certainly succeeded in doing so, I have seen professional performances that didn’t move an audience to tears and laughter as well as these shows did and it’s down to the fantastic work from the writers, directors and actors who were all, you guessed it, young artists. The events focus on these artists was not lost on me either. With each director introducing their play it allowed even more attention to be given to the artists as with each one the writers were also named and thanked along with their inspiration behind the play being laid bare.  Quite honestly, there’s not much more for me to say about the event. The young artists were constantly in the spotlight and were always made to be the most important part of the event. In conclusion, this event was a huge step in the right direction for pushing youth involvement in arts in Wakefield while providing a lovely time for all.


Now we hear from Sam Kirk – Who as well as being a Youth Arts Ambassador for SPARK is also a member of Wakefield LitFest Program Board and stage managed the festival of plays.

On Saturday I was able to attend Wakefield Litfest 2023, and watch the amazing work written by a selection of young people in Wakefield. 

Each writer was given a series of different prompts that were used as inspiration for the scripts they inevitably created. The young imagination and insight that each individual had, is sure to be different from what adults would create. 

It was wonderful to see the talent that young people have, from writing to directing to acting. There were so many relatable moments and the research that must have been done shows their dedication and hard work. Without releasing it, I’ve even learned a few things. 

It was nice to have believable young characters being portrayed. From my experiences with the older generation writing younger characters, the personalities and relationships can seem stiff or unrealistic. It was refreshing to see young people write about their own personal problems and challenges, or of those of people around them. This gave each character an identity the was easy to watch and be empathetic towards. From covering ideas of loss and grief to own identity these short performances gave an insight into these young people’s thoughts and feelings in a unique way. 

Having young people directing and acting in these performances allowed the scripts written to maintain the vision that was originally presented by the writer whilst also adding new ideas to the performances. For some of the more information based performances that looked into history the talented directors kept the audience engaged with their creative staging. As well the actors maintained intricate emotions that were perceived by the audience members. 

In the end, I had a wonderful afternoon, listening to what young people had to say, thoroughly enjoying each performance and looking forward to see what is created next.

Wakefield LitFest 2023