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Almost 3000 children and young people across Alton and surrounding villages will take part in free creative workshops this summer thanks to Alton Arts Festival and our generous supporters!

Our ambitious and inclusive Schools’ Programme will reach a total of 16 schools, including 13 primary schools, two secondary schools, and Treloar’s, a special school and college for disabled children and young people.

The programme covers music, theatre, poetry and spoken word, art, photography, silversmithing and gardening, and has an emphasis on wellbeing and mental health. With funding from local sponsors and East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) Councillor Grants, the whole programme will be delivered at no cost to schools or pupils.

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A core tenet of the Alton Arts Festival is that everyone deserves access to the arts, and this is especially true for children. The arts are fundamental to expanding children’s experiences, building empathy and confidence, and increasing wellbeing. We wanted to make sure that no child misses out on what the Alton Arts Festival has to offer, and we’re so thrilled to be able to offer such a comprehensive programme, thanks to the support of our sponsors.”

Sara Wood, Schools' Programme Lead, Alton Arts Festival

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3000 children

experiencing the arts

Alton Arts Festival is a very special community event. It is a celebration of everything creative and all that is wonderful about being human on this great earth. It is even more special for schools, as we highly value the arts and our environmental stewardship. The budget crisis in schools means that when amazing people get together and put on amazing events like this, giving our children a truly creative curriculum, we are enormously grateful.”

Jo Eyres, Head of St Mary’s Bentworth CE School and head of the Alton Heads cluster

The schools' programme includes


Creative writing






13 primary schools and Treloar’s will enjoy workshops with local companies Yo-Chi and Flip Theatre focused on developing emotional resilience and wellbeing using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), role playing games, yoga and mindfulness techniques.

Year 5 students at five schools will work with ArtfulScribe to first write a poem on the theme of ‘hope’ and then perform that poem in a poetry showcase at Holybourne Theatre on 5th July, the opening day of the Festival.

Nine primary schools and Treloar’s will get the thrilling experience of an all-school African Drumming workshop. These lively (and loud!) sessions will help children understand the use of drumming, develop their skills of rhythm, mimicking and concentration, and introduce children to the excitement of being a part of group music-making.

12 primary schools and Treloar’s will work with local artists and art teachers on hands-on workshops exploring the joy and confidence that can be found through the act of creating something visual.

80 students from Amery Hill and Eggars Secondary Schools will experience an introduction to silversmithing with Local jeweller Olivia Brown in her workshop in West Meon. This is fully funded by a grant from The Goldsmiths’ Centre.

16 schools will create 1x1 metre wildlife-friendly mini gardens which will be displayed in a beautiful creative garden trail across the Festival footprint from Holybourne to Chawton during the ten days. A map of the garden locations will be available.

Students from Eggars and Alton College will submit photographs to an exhibition on the theme ‘perspective’. The chosen entries will be displayed in and around Alton, Chawton and Holybourne for the duration of the Festival.

Thank you to all our sponsors

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The Alton Arts Festival Schools’ Programme has been made possible thanks to generous East Hampshire District Councillor Grants from Councillors Emily Young, Suzie Burns, Warren Moore, Barbara Tansey, Ginny Boxall and Joanna Nelson, with match-funding provided by AAF fundraising activities, grant funding from The Goldsmiths’ Centre, sponsorship from CALA Homes, Aspray, Frensham Heights, the Alton Society, Atkins and Resurrection Furniture, and workshop materials donated by Alternative Packaging Ltd.

The Goldsmiths’ Centre is delighted to be supporting silversmithing workshops as part of Alton Arts Festival. The Centre supports opportunities for young people to experience jewellery and silversmithing as well as providing full time training through a Foundation and Apprenticeship programme. To find out more about our work and careers in the industry, visit our website

Julia Skilton, Grants & Engagement Manager, The Goldsmiths’ Centre

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