The Youth Arts Centre (YAC) celebrated its 5th anniversary this Sunday by opening its doors to the public, hosting tours, and offering the community a chance to take a look at what makes the centre such an integral part of the artistic development for children on the Island. The open day last year attracted over 200 visitors, with this year’s event surpassing that.

The YAC first opened its doors in 2010 with the simple aim of supporting the personal development of young people on Isle of Man through arts and culture. The centre is a registered charity that provides quality opportunities for young people to enrich their lives through participation in music, creative movement, dramatic and visual arts. The facilities on offer are of a professional standard, and include a fully equipped recording studio, sound-proofed practice rooms, as well as lighting and sound equipment for use in stage productions. To allow visitors to best utilise the facilities on offer, the centre provides access to a range of instruments, costumes, and scripts all included in the £2 session fee.

The Centre has been run by Fiona Helleur since its creation, who spoke passionately about YAC’s past and future: “I still can’t believe we’ve been open for 5 years! The Youth Arts Centre is much more than a youth theatre. It mirrors all aspects of our work, embodies our ethos, and puts young people at the heart of everything we do. Since it was formed in 2010, the YAC has established itself as one of the leading youth arts programmes on the Island, and has created opportunities for young people who otherwise wouldn’t have had access to facilities of this standard, whose talents lay undiscovered, and who were struggling to find a sense of direction. Our members are applying to drama schools, bidding for funding for their own projects, pressing for work experience among our team, and joining with other groups both locally and nationally to expand their creative horizons. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved here over the last 5 years, and I hope that in future we will be able to expand our offerings and see more people benefit from what we do. We have also been able to appoint our first Arts Apprentice this year and are happy to welcome gap year student Quentin Lucas to the staff. He will be following a course in Arts Centre Management which should help him with his future career.”

With over 35 sessions on offer, and 18 trained staff on hand to support and encourage the centres 300 members, the YAC is always open to new members looking to develop their creative talents and meet new people. The Centre can be found on Kensington Road, Douglas, and is open 6 days a week, Monday – Saturday with more information and a session timetable available on their website: www.youth-arts.im.