Kingston’s International Youth Arts Festival has a new director as it prepares to return for 2016, while the charity behind it has unveiled some fresh star patrons.

Playwright Andy Currums, who wrote and starred in The People’s Champion about snooker player Alex ‘The Hurricane’ Higgins at the festival in 2013, takes over as festival director. He was first involved in IYAF – one of the largest and most diverse youth events in the world – in its first year, 2009, playing a tree at the Rose Theatre.

Andy said: “Having been involved with the festival for so long it’s great to have the chance to help develop and grow it further and help the next generation of artists find their feet.

“Being involved with creative endeavours during my formative years has, for better or worse, made me who I am today to some degree. Not everyone who experiments with music, theatre, dance and film will decide to make it their career but there is so much to learn on a personal level from taking part in such things and it’s important to me to offer this opportunity to the young people of today.”

This year, IYAF will take place at venues around town from July 8 to 17 and the deadline for entries for people wanting to take part has been extended until 5pm on Sunday (February 7).

Creative Youth, the charity which organised the festival to give a platform for young people aged five to 26, has also named a trio of new patrons.

Kingston actor Tom Holland, who is set to play Spider-Man on the big screen, joins local couple, TV presenters and friends of the paper Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood.

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Creative Youth’s existing patrons include Strictly winner Tom Chambers, Matt Lucas, Madeline Worrall, Chike Okonowo and Sheridan Smith.

For more about IYAF, go to

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