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New films explore youth democracy as 16 and 17-year-olds across Wales vote for the first time

06 May 2021 3 minute read
Lauren Connelly, Cameraperson and Liana Stewart. Photo Zaid Djerdi.

Members of National Youth Theatre of Wales (NYTW) will help launch a series of short films about youth democracy, as 16- and 17-year-olds across Wales vote for the first time in the Senedd  elections.

In #Maniffest1617, National Youth Theatre of Wales has commissioned new monologues from prominent Welsh writers, which have been filmed on location in each member’s own community.

The creative process was a collaboration between the young members and a team of writers, directors, and filmmakers. Some of the pieces are fictional characters and some are spoken in the first person, but all the finished pieces reflect their thoughts and feelings about youth representation and how their voices are heard.

The first four films in the series will premiere on the AM platform this evening at 7pm, and will be available to watch online afterwards here.

As well as producing the new commissions, National Youth Arts Wales has been a key partner in the Electoral Reform Society’s Election Engagement Working Group, helping to encourage young people to register to vote ahead of the April deadline.

NYAW has also worked with the Urdd and Senedd Cymru to help raise awareness amongst all NYAW ensemble members, including taking part in mock elections and writing their own manifesto. This work is supported by the UK Democracy Fund, a Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust initiative.


Gillian Mitchell, Chief Executive of National Youth Arts Wales, said: “Despite the challenges of working during the Covid pandemic, we think it’s extremely important that the voices of young people are heard during this election.

“This exciting project, with brand new commissions in English and Welsh, is just part of our extensive work to help talented young performers across Wales to develop their own voice, and to continue their artistic training despite ongoing disruption.”

The films being premiered tonight are:

Mari Izzard’s Siân of Arc, written for Lauren, a NYTW member from Cardiff (performed in English and Welsh), where Lauren plays the part of an 18-year-old launching her political campaign for First Minister.

Catherine Dyson’s Manifest for Megan, written for Megan, a NYTW member from Treorchy (performed in English), a lyrical response to Megan’s relationship with her local community and environment.

Matthew Bulgo’s The Future, written for Sam, a NYTW member from Neath (performed in English), an endearing performance tracing his political awakening.

Manon Steffan Ros’s Fama, written for Dyddgu from Bethesda (performed in Welsh), a funny, moving reflection on the power of community.

For more information about NYTW’s Maniffest season, visit here.

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