21st November 2020 — Multi-award winning musical director Alex Lacamoire, iconic photographer Rankin and playwright James Graham are among scores of leading arts professionals taking part in KEHS's ground-breaking virtual arts school for young people. Over 70,000 children from schools across the UK have signed up for TuneUp Tuesday on 24th November designed to celebrate the arts and their positive impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The free, one-day event will feature teaching and careers advice from some of the industry’s biggest names, plus scores of streamable performances from top companies including Shakespeare’s Globe, Vamos, the Young Vic and the RSC.
The event is the brainchild of the new principal of King Edward VI High School for Girls, Edgbaston, award-winning musician Kirsty von Malaisé and the school’s Director of Drama Hannah Proops, a theatre director and former professional puppeteer. Old Edwardians Ali Natkiel and Maya Sondhi from “Line of Duty”, rising musical theatre star Georgina Castle, and celebrated music producer and singer Mr Hudson are among other big names offering their expertise.
“Children have been through so much and the arts industry has suffered considerably from lockdown” explained Mrs von Malaisé. “We wanted to do something to celebrate the tremendous healing power of the arts and uplift everyone. As soon as we started approaching arts organisations, we were bowled over by their generosity and enthusiasm to volunteer their time and resources, and realised we had a national event on our hands. With many school extra-curricular activities severely restricted in this second lockdown, we really hope the free lesson-based sessions will give schools and young people something to celebrate.”
TuneUp Tuesday will begin with an online assembly featuring musician and mental health advocate Yshani Perinpanayagam. “During these turbulent times, it is so important that everyone feels they can access music and its ability to help us express what we may have thought was inexpressible. TuneUp Tuesday is a wonderful opportunity to come together and explore so many different sides of music and what it can do.”
The event is open to children of all ages across the UK, with resources for primary and secondary schools. Activities range from colouring and puppet shows to communication workshops and explorations of set exam texts. The day is designed to inspire youngsters from all backgrounds and show that careers in the arts are worthwhile, valuable and viable.
Schools and artists can find out more and register at www.tuneup.life. You can also follow the action on Twitter @TuneUpArts
An Arts Council study – Be Creative Be Well - found that arts and culture can improve self-esteem, combat depression and increase feelings of community. Young people from low income households who take part in arts activities in school are three times more likely to get a degree.