Cultural exchanges like the Rencontre allow young people to be completely immersed in more than just one culture. That’s the unique thing about this festival, we’re not only embracing other cultures but experiencing being a part of them. This experience shows us so beautifully why unity among everyone of all different faiths, cultures and backgrounds is the key for the peaceful and progressive world we all want to live in. With Brexit not so far away and Donald Trump’s antics, this really gives us hope in a world which is lacking some right now.
I have made such extraordinary friends from places I’ve never visited before and the friends that you make during this festival prove to be extremely special because of the fact that you created something amazing together. The Rencontré has opened my eyes to how much more we can be doing here; We should challenge the current drama scene in England and dare to take more risks. Why shouldn’t we be putting on plays which include a range of different languages? Why do we feel the need to comprehend a play through the language alone to understand it? Let’s show people what they’re missing out on.
The importance of cultural exchanges like this is to have the chance to meet so many other young people from different backgrounds allowing us to make our own minds up and form opinions ourselves. This is more important than ever due to how the media can manipulate how we form opinions on so many things, including culture. Performing arts, in my eyes, is such an underrated platform for inspiring change. A play with a message can reach so many people in one sitting – even if the message only really reaches one member of the audience, the fact is we have made someone think. Young people + a fundamental common interest, able to reach and impact so many people = a recipe for success.
The performing arts is an ever-growing community but maybe, sometimes, we put limits on things that don’t need them. This festival sparks creativity and innovation to not just stop here and to remember the lessons learnt from this amazing experience in our everyday lives – to always push our creations to their full capabilities, to share our creations with more than just the local audience and to keep creating together.