University of Worcester Students Create New Arts Festival

Speak Volumes! festival organising committee 1
Speak Volumes! festival organising committee at The Arches

The three-day Speak Volumes! event runs from March 21-23 and is organised by mostly members of the University of Worcester Poetry Society. It will provide opportunities for emerging writers, performers and visual artists to showcase their talents.

The free event will take place at The Arches 27 and 28 (the renovated railway arches in the City centre, near The Hive) and is open to all. If successful, organisers hope the festival could become an annual occasion in the Worcester cultural calendar.

Third year Film Production & Screenwriting student Freddie Barker, one of the four students and a graduate on the festival organising committee and a Poetry Society member, says the aim is to boost creativity among the younger generations.

“Though we're not exclusive, we want to boost creativity from students, graduates and adults aged 18 to 30,” she said.

There will be an opening ceremony at The Arches at 3pm on March 21 and the event will run until 10pm and then run 10am-10pm on the following two days.

The festival took inspiration from a similar one evening-only event in March last year to coincide with World Poetry Day, which was organised by some of the same students. “The students and local community pulled together to create a hugely successful debut,” added Freddie. “We're thrilled to bring the event back in 2024 as a result of popular demand, spreading workshops and exhibitions over three festival days.”

Speak Volumes! festival organising committee 3

Features of the Festival include live performances, including original theatre, performance poetry and stand-up comedy. An Art Gallery will include community art exhibitions and provide a chance for all students and local creatives to get involved. The Gallery will also host an indie marketplace, a treasure trove of goods from local artists, businesses and craftspeople, with everything from gifts and jewellery to one-off vintage finds. There will also be a poetry bookshop.

Zine culture is a significant feature of the festival, with zines on display and for sale. A zine is a DIY booklet, pamphlet or mini magazine for the purposes of self-expression, but is also a hands-on method of self-publication.

There’s also a range of hands-on creative workshops, from screenwriting basics to zine-making techniques and an origami masterclass. Finally, artists can challenge themselves with competitions including in photography and a poetry slam.

Freddie said: “We hope the festival will bring more variety, diversity, excitement and culture to weave into the tapestry of our ever-growing city. It's free, unique, and diverse enough to provide something for everyone. Supporting this event means supporting local artists, small businesses, and directly feeding into Worcester's vibrant arts scene.”

For more information visit the Speak Volumes! event website.