For Youth Beatz 2019, The Toon is set for a big return in the festival’s 11th year.
The Toon is an issue based drama production taking a look into some of the real life issues faced by today’s young people. Delivered by a partnership led by the Youth Enquiry Service on Buccleuch Street Dumfries.
The Toon is a hard hitting and shocking way of providing information to young people, aged 14 to 25, on current issues that may be affecting them or affect them in the future.
The young performers and the stage crew, who can be seen throughout the weekend at YOUTH BEATZ 2019, completed a 2 week Performance and Production Course named Toon Camp that ran during the school Easter holidays.
Young people were involved in planning the immersive experience and developing the new show and props so new and relevant issues can be explored at this year’s event. The 8 day camp saw young people taking part in various workshops in order to improve their knowledge and understanding about the complex issues that can affect young people, including: sexual health, drugs and alcohol, knife crime and mental health.
The intensive course was also packed full of performance training, script writing, vocal coaching, costume and set production, as well as vital learning around the issues that the experience will look to explore with those who venture inside on the day. The group also began working on scenes and set designs for a dedicated makers group to turn their vision into their reality.
Young people who took part in Toon Camp also successfully completed their Bronze Youth Achievement Award. This is an award that credits the volunteers for the hard work that they have put into The Toon, and is rated Level 4 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
The Toon will run as tours at Youth Beatz, giving young people the chance to look around the fictional setting and meet different characters in different situations. Young people will then go into a workshop with dedicated youth workers where they will have the chance to further explore some of the issues faced in The Toon.
The Toon is an integral part of YOUTH BEATZ 2019, taking place on 22 and 23 of June, at Park Farm, Dumfries.
The interactive youth information zone has run for a number of years and has been a central hub for getting young people involved in what has been described as “a brilliant way of educating and making you think!”
Young People’s Champion, Councillor Adam Wilson, said: “It’s incredibly important to Dumfries and Galloway Council to recognise and address the issues that our young people are facing on a daily basis. The Toon is a fantastic and innovative way of upskilling young people on a true peer to peer basis. The issues covered through the production are hard hitting, but the experience and messages taken away are thought provoking and hopeful.”
With the aim of meaningfully raising awareness of a range of issues affecting the lives of young people, The Toon is a fresh take on addressing these issues.
To make it available to as many young people as possible in Dumfries and Galloway, the Toon will also run tours through the week leading up to the Youth Beatz weekend both as preview tours and also as dedicated tours for school groups to experience. S3 and S4 pupils from a number of the region’s secondary schools will attend The Toon.
Adopting this innovative peer-education approach makes it relatable to the young people attending. Groups of pupils will be taken through the drama tour and then take part in an interactive workshop at the end.
The workshops are designed to make sure young people have understood the messages from within The Toon but also allow them the opportunity to de-brief if they have been affected by the experience.
The Toon is delivered by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service, working in partnership with Sexual Health D&G, Domestic Abuse Partnership, LGBT Youth, Rape Crisis, and Police Scotland.
Funding has this year been secured through the Council’s Nithsdale Area Committee, Choices for Life, Cashback for Communities, and YoungStart to ensure the experience can be available to more 12 to 25 year olds on the day.