28th May, 2020

Six Coventry schools join 2020 Holocaust Memorial youth festival

Editorial Correspondent 13th Jan, 2020 Updated: 13th Jan, 2020

MORE than 5,000 Coventry and Birmingham children will be taking part in a 2020 youth arts festival, sharing their responses to stories from 112 UK Holocaust survivors.

The 2020 Echo Eternal Youth Festival will take place over three weeks in January and February 2020 to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Six Coventry schools – Parkgate, Riverbank, Finham Park School, President Kennedy, Stoke Park and Barr’s Hill – will take part in a live performance consisting of newly commissioned music, dance and spoken word tributes at Birmingham’s Town Hall on Tuesday January 28. It has been devised by Coventry’s Highly Sprung Performance Company and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

The children will be sharing their commemorative responses to the testimonies of Holocaust survivors.

Exhibitions will also take place at Coventry Cathedral and in the St Paul’s Church Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, from 20 January to 10 February 2020, with local pupils invigilating and on hand to speak to visitors. They will display 19 films, raw extracts from survivor testimony films and artwork by the students.

The project, organised by commemorative arts project Echo Eternal, is inspired by 112 British Holocaust survivors’ testimonies recorded with broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky. Around 450 students from Coventry and Birmingham schools worked with artists to create their response to these powerful testimonies: eternal echoes.

The 2020 festival will see the culmination of all their hard work, with the wider community, local dignitaries, government officials and Holocaust survivors invited to attend.

This time last year the creator of the project Adrian Packer CBE, CEO of CORE Education Trust, received the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award for his work on Holocaust Education in a surprise presentation from Natasha Kaplinsky.

He said: “Through Echo Eternal we have engaged some of the most marginalised young people in Birmingham and Coventry and created the right environment for intelligent and sophisticated conversations between generations that get at the heart of hate and intolerance – and all this made possible because of the arts.

“Echo Eternal has taught us how to best use the arts as a way to explore and share the powerful testimonies from the Holocaust, but this annual youth festival is not only in commemoration, it gives young people and artists a chance to develop artistic skills and it gives the wider community a chance to be engaged and challenged on diverse and important issues facing them in today’s society.”

Participating schools have also created a timetable of events and activities taking place throughout January for their local communities to take part in, connecting with UK Holocaust Memorial Day activities on the theme of Standing Together.

This includes a series of film showings and book readings to parents and the wider community, book readings, and in-house activities, such as assemblies revisiting their creative responses to the testimony.

It is the second year running, Birmingham’s CORE Education Trust has been successful in securing a National Lottery Project Grant from the Arts Council.

The live performances at Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday January 28 will take place at 1.30pm and 7pm. Tickets are £6 and can be purchased at the venue, thsh, or families of participating schools can also contact their schools direct.

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