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Inaugural Surrey and Hampshire Taiko Youth Festival

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

The Aldridge Theatre at Frensham Heights came alive on Wednesday 9th March to the energetic beat of Taiko drumming.

On 9th March, we were so excited to open the Aldridge Theatre doors to the wider Farnham community for the first time since COVID hit. It was to a full audience that Taiko Meantime kicked off the first Surrey and Hampshire Taiko Youth Festival.

The performance was partly a culmination of workshops hosted by our Outreach and Enrichment Programme for students and staff from Frensham Heights and Bordon Junior School. We were joined by Taiko Meantime groups from Potter’s Gate and Weydon schools.

The workshops began as a way for Frensham to reach out into the community to share the school’s love of performing arts. Lynn Goodburne who heads this outreach project, said “We are very passionate about getting our students involved with the communities around us and sharing our amazing facilities. We feel this is a wonderful way to bring youngsters together, promoting learning across different platforms and most importantly having a lot of fun!”

The workshops themselves were run by Mark Alcock from Taiko Meantime who first learned Taiko drumming when living in the Wakayama prefecture in Southern Japan. Taiko is a traditional form of Japanese drumming which comes from the temples and shrines and is performed in theatres and religious festivals.

Taiko is an dynamic mix of music, martial arts, performance and drama. This comes through in the energetic workshops and the obvious discipline of the established Potter’s Gate and Weydon groups. After just two hour sessions, the Frensham Heights and Bordon Junior schools were confident and able to perform on the Aldridge stage.

“I am really happy to bring the power, discipline, joy and fun of Taiko drumming to schools outside of the immediate Farnham area and to be back at Frensham Heights who have always been hugely supportive.” said Mark.

For both, this isn’t just a one-off event, Lynn and Mark see this as just the beginning of an adventure, seeing Farnham grow as a hub for Taiko drumming bringing together schools from Surrey and Hampshire counties to master and celebrate this form of percussion.

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