The 2013 UCAN Perform Festival

This year’s UCAN Perform Festival was enjoyed by over 180 visually impaired children and young people and their friends and family from across Wales and the South West of England.  The festival was kindly hosted by the Wales Millennium Centre and participants traveled from as far as Anglesey and Pwllheli to attend.

UCAN Trainers were for the first time supported by our UCAN Lead graduates, who have successfully completed a year long level 1 drama workshop leader training programme.  A variety of workshops were run throughout the day, including drama and ukulele workshops, jewellery making, circus skills and the very last Radio UCAN workshop.  A tactile art workshop also accompanied a new exhibition of tactile art works and drawings created by visually impaired young people and their friends from South Wales.

At lunch time we had a very special performance from the Inner Vision Orchestra, which was organised by Lloyd Coleman; the chairman of our Young People’s Steering Committee and presented by Baluji Shrivastav.  Lloyd accompanied the orchestra playing Clarinet and together with Baluji, a special music workshop took place after the performance.

In the afternoon the Haf Morris Ukulele Orchestra took over the Wales Millennium Centre with a Ukulele Flashmob.  It was a fantastic performance and we would like to again thank the family of Haf Morris for their generous donation.  As is our custom, we finished the festival with an open mic session on the Glanfa stage, where we saw talents ranging from break dancing skills to singing and a comedy sketch.  We’ve collected together some feedback from the festival’s participants:

‘I have really enjoyed today. It was so lovely to see everyone and I am so glad I attended. Can’t wait to see you all soon. So I just want to say a huge thank you for today’ – Amy

‘Thanks everyone who was involved, for a brilliant day again this year at the festival.  Was lovely catching up with old and new friends again for not just the kids but mums and dads too.  I’m really proud too say that Haf Morris taught both me and Steve at Ysgol Sir Thomas Jones, so to have her memory live on through UCAN was kinda special, as I have some fun memories of her bless “trying too teach me” ( i must have tested her patience at times ) her desk i still see cluttered with music notes and test papers and her flask of coffee in the middle of it all. Miss Morris would have taken so much pleasure from watching the music workshops and seeing the end result’ – Beverley

‘I cannot believe that a whole week has passed since we traveled up to Cardiff to spend the day with our beautiful UCAN family. What a wonderful day we had, from the moment we arrived you went out of your way to make us feel welcome.  Quite a few times throughout the day I had to wipe away a tear, my heart bursting with pride. A treasured memory for me of the day was being able to celebrate with you the achievements of your newly qualified workshop leaders.  They are a tribute and fantastic ambassadors for UCAN. There is no doubting how proud of them you all are, but as I glanced around the sea of smiling faces that day, Bernie and Jane’s gorgeous smiles where shining the brightest of all. Lovely day, lovely memories’ – Jenny

‘Thank you to everyone for a great day yesterday, Angharad enjoyed every minute of the day and loved seeing everyone again’ – Lynda

We would like to again say a big thank you to the festival’s main funder Legal & General; Arts & Kids Cymru for funding our tactile art project ‘Tactiles’; Wales Millennium Centre for hosting the festival; and to everyone who participated, the UCAN Lead team, our trainers & all of our lovely volunteers.  All photographs taken by Heather Winstanley. Thanks Heather!