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Why Wac Arts Matters to me an Interview with Emmanuella from Youth Voice

Wac Arts has a fantastic group of young people who work with the organisation as part of the Youth Voice group. The group work with Wac Arts on governance, ensuring young people have a voice in the decision making of the organisation and producing events and performances (as well as many other fun and exciting projects such as the WAWA Weekender festival and going to professional shows!). We caught up with members of the Youth Voice group to find out more about them and their involvement with Wac Arts.

Emmanuella is a participant of the Junior Wac Arts programme and wanted to be involved in the project to be able to express herself and have more confidence. She wants to make some changes at Wac Arts like introducing public speaking workshops and become more confident in public speaking herself.

How did you become involved with Wac Arts?

At the time, I was quite shy, but I had always loved singing and drama from when I was little. My mum heard about it from my primary school, so signed me up from there, and I thought it would have a positive impact on my confidence. I also had friends at school who were already going to Wac Arts.

What classes did you do when you first started?

I was doing singing and drama.

Please share with me a favourite story or memory from your time at Wac Arts.

In Drama about two years ago, we had a performance in which I was one of the main characters. The plot was about a greedy person who tries to kill her elder siblings, and make it look like an “accidental death” in order to claim her parents’ will and insurance money. We had been working on perfecting it for a long time, so finally showing the perfected piece to a paying audience was thrilling!

What is the most interesting heritage story you have found out about?

I recently found out that the Suffragettes and Emmeline Pankhurst held a meeting here. I thought that was really interesting because she’s incredibly inspiring and the fact she with the suffragettes fought for women’s rights to vote and more equality between the genders. That was really interesting to me.

What are you currently working on in drama at the moment?

We are working on this piece called ‘There was no air’, and it’s about an ex-soldier who has mental issues and is forcing his girlfriend to marry him or he’ll do something drastic and violent to the children. It’s a really interesting and gripping storyline, and in the play I am one of the narrators, so I’ve memorised the script. I’m really excited to perform it in front of others.

Why does Wac Arts matter to you, the young people who attend and to today’s society?

Wac Arts matters to me, the young people and our society because it develops our intellectual understanding and gives us the privilege to attend a professional centre of education at a small fraction of the price that other institutions would normally charge. It gives children and prospective or aspiring actors/actresses the opportunity to gain some key life-skills and gain more opportunities and to perfect their skills for the future. Wac Arts has given me the chance to learn theses skills and develop the mindset to be able to further my career in drama and/or singing. It’s also really good to meet new people that are like-minded, it has helped me with confidence. So many people who started their humble beginnings from Wac Arts have become successful actors/actresses and musicians like Daniel Kaluuya and Sheila Atim. It has helped to shape the futures of so many disadvantaged young people from poorer families who would have missed out completely on performing arts opportunities because of lack of funds. Wac Arts is really playing an important role in terms of encouraging and bringing out the hidden talents that could have been kept under wraps, and it indirectly keeps vulnerable youths off of the streets, giving them other new opportunities in finding careers and giving them future goals.

What is your aspiration?

My aspiration is to have a professional career in Performing Arts in the future, perhaps a writer, actress, or singing. I also aspire to give back to the community that has helped me to achieve and help other young people as well to climb the ladder of fame.

Please leave a Birthday message for Wac Arts…

Wac Arts, Happy Birthday! Thank you so much for existing, because without you I wouldn’t have found so many new opportunities and potential doors to open into the future. Thanks for bridging the gap and giving hope to all the budding and aspiring performers. I hope that everything that you’re doing continues into the future and can also benefit the next generations as much as it has benefited me and all the current attendees. Keep doing what you’re doing! I wish you more strength, more growth and more innovation skills. Wac Arts is a gift that only keeps on giving. Thanks immensely and HAPPY BIRTHDAY WAC ARTS once more!

Anything else to add…

Maybe for the Wac Art website, you could have a student column where different students have their inputs, views and suggestions, because no knowledge is lost, and highlights of the week, it would just create a closer connection between people who are looking into the website, or parents or stuff like that. So like say this performing arts place doesn’t do that but Wac Arts does, maybe I should enrol my child there because if you hear from the students, it can mean so much more than if you hear it from a teacher.