What’s all the Woo-Hoo about?

The Warwick Student Arts Festival is now in its seventh year but this June it’s back like you’ve never seen it before. This year’s coordinators are Ben Canning and Natasha Lewis-Smith, both third year English and Theatre Studies students. We chatted to them about catching Festival Fever.


_Tell us about your team this year._

**Ben:** We want the WSAF site to look like a mini-Festival arena and so we have a brilliant creative team working on lots of cool arty installations and decorations. We want everyone to know when WSAF has arrived on campus and give people a sense that the space has been transformed into something new and different from what they’re used to.

**Tash:** Yeah, I’d love to see the spectacle of something like Bestival or Secret Garden Party being brought to campus. Everyone on the team is really excited about making something which looks really magical and fun. We’ve also got people working on getting sponsorship to fund it all, a marketing team and amazing techhie people who know about lights, sound, stages and that sort of thing.

_Looking at the map, how exactly are you using Tocil field?_

**Ben:** Last year’s festival was really great in loads of ways and they did a fantastic job considering the limits put on them by the union rebuild, but everything was too spread out and it meant the turn-out for events wasn’t always great. The tent on the Maths Field was cool, but again, it was too big and impersonal. This year we really want to centralise the use of space and make all the venues really close together so that there’s a really vibrant, busy atmosphere where everything is really accessible and welcoming. We’re gonna have some teepees and smaller tents on Tocil field which will be cool little chill-out spots hosting stuff like acoustic music, poetry readings and art workshops.

**Tash:** If the weather is good, I hope Tocil field becomes an extension of the piazza where people can just enjoy being outdoors, listening to music with their friends. I think the tents will provide a good opportunity for non-Arts societies to get involved. Political and cultural societies holding info stands and workshops and stuff. I think that’d be great.

_We have heard about the Family Day. Can you tell us more?_

**Tash:** On the Sunday we’re gonna have a day open to the wider community with stuff specially designed for kids and their parents. They have something similar at Notting Hill carnival which always has a really happy, welcoming vibe.

**Ben:** We’re running an arts competition and planning a Battle of the Choirs event which local schools will compete in. There’ll be loads of fun stuff like face painting which students can get involved in. I like to see it as a chance for us to give back, and get to know people living close to campus.

_It all sounds really cool! How can people get involved?_

**Ben:** The possibilities are endless really. WSAF is a really good chance for societies to show off what they get up to over the year and we’re definitely encouraging them to get involved in a big way again this time and especially to collaborate with other societies for events. There have been some amazing double-acts in the past, fingers crossed there’ll be more this year. We’re also looking for individual people to get involved too in the running of the festival…

**Tash:** Yeah, we need people to help us decorate the arena, to come up with cool publicity stuff, manage the venues, run Family Day events. There’s a role to suit all personalities and levels of experience.

**Ben:** Everything really! We’d really like as many people as possible to get involved and make the Festival their own. Ultimately, WSAF should reflect the diversity of campus and have something for everyone.

**Tash:** I think Family Day will be a really cool opportunity to do something a bit new.

**Ben:** Yeah, me too.

### What students have to say

> “WSAF should be a celebration of the diversity of talents at the university and an opportunity for students to really have hands-on taster sessions of what different societies are about and have to offer. It’d be nice if it went across the board and wasn’t exclusive.” – **Carly Whitfield, Politics**

> “I want to see experimental pieces where people creatively overcome their small scale limitations to create something magnificent. I want to see performances that get my heart racing and toes tapping.” – **Tom Stickland, PPE**

> “I think it should be a carnival atmosphere where people can dance in the piazza while they eat and drink.” – **Holly Rigby, English**

> “It should be chance for everyone to explore their inner, creative, theatrical and artsy self!” – **Marie Petterson, PPE**

> “I’d like to see interactive stuff like craft stalls, henna, face painting, hair wrapping. Stuff that you can dip in and out of. You need stuff to draw people in, you can’t just expect them to show up.” – **Kharis Wong, Civil Engineering**

> “I’d like to see band nights, devised pieces, incorporation between societies and outside stuff too.” – **Katie Marsh, Theatre Studies**

> “I’d like to see more opportunities for student DJs to play in public as there is a lot of DJing talent at Warwick that goes unnoticed.” – **Rich Lewis, Economics**

> “It would be great to have an opportunity for people to display their own artwork. Normally it’s just dance and theatre and stuff on offer… I’d like to see more arts represented.” – **Freya Stannard, History of Art**

Tell the coordinators what you want out of the festival by [emailing them](mailto:coordinators@wsaf.co.uk).


The WSAF site will have a triangular structure, using the Warwick Arts Centre, the Piazza and the Students’ Union and Tocil Field as the main venues for events. The Piazza will be the central point of the Festival, with a constant hub of activity and information points.

We will be following WSAF’s progress and will let you know ways to get involved in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

The WSAF Exec is recruiting for more members now, see their [website](http://www.wsaf.co.uk).


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