Harrogate International Festivals has launched a ground-breaking initiative in 2017 to give young people free of charge opportunities to experience and participate in live arts performances.

‘Library of Live’ is a pilot programme that will run throughout the year and offer children and young people new opportunities to engage in its live arts delivery.

Supported by Arts Council England, the Festivals will offer a ‘library’ of free performances, open rehearsals, free books and digital downloads to young people in the Harrogate District.

Those aged eight to 18 will have the opportunity to attend high quality national and international artist performances for free, and 18-35 year-olds will receive bespoke ticket offers and digital engagement.

Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We believe Library of Live can radically change the way young people engage with our arts programmes. It’s something we feel passionately about after our 50th anniversary year to take steps to develop future audiences for the next 50 years. Library of Live will offer arts experiences specifically marketed and developed for children and young people, as well as removing barriers to accessing ticketed performances.”

Throughout the year, Library of Live will offer ‘Kids for a Quid’ ticket offers, and £5 ticket offers for the Under 35s for its classical and chamber music events.

It will also engage younger audiences in its literary events and develop partnerships with schools in the region to attend performances at reduced costs. The Festival will work with arts and educational organisations in addition to working with schools, youth and community groups to help young people access great arts experiences.

It will also work with long-standing partners, Pobble, a global initiative that works with primary school teachers to inspire creative writing, hosting educational, outreach events.

Its music delivery will be supported by NYMAZ – a youth music development charity that operates across North Yorkshire, and a key strategic partner in the North Yorkshire Music Hub.

Digitally, it will offer live conversations offering audiences the chance to meet artists and authors online, with free downloads, clips and interviews.

Free tickets, subject to availability, are now available for eight to 18 year olds, for the forthcoming Sunday Series – classical and chamber music performances at the Old Swan Hotel.

Sharon said: “There’s nothing quite as inspiring as a live performance, and classical music delves into all the big questions around art and life and creativity. We want young people to believe that access to the arts and live musical experiences are open to everyone, regardless of background. In the same way you can walk into a gallery or museum for free, we want the same opportunity to be available with music, allowing young people the opportunity to try out a live classical performance for themselves. We hope that attending one of our Spring Series chamber concerts might be the first step on the journey to attending lots of free events throughout the Festival year.”

Further events and initiatives will be announced throughout the year. If the pilot year is a success, it will develop into a three-year project.

For more information please visit our website http://www.harrogateinternationalfestivals.com or call 01423 562 303.