A moving and thought-provoking show written and performed by North East students was a highlight of an annual festival showcasing the exciting talents of youngsters.

Growing Pains was part of the Bright Lights Festival, a week-long programme of activities and workshops for young people at Arts Centre Washington (ACW).

The show was created by performing arts students from Sunderland College and two dance students from Musical Theatre Company, based in The Fire Station, Sunderland.

Growing Pains featured stand-up comedy, dance, spoken word poetry, songs and monologues to explore the trials and tribulations experienced by teenagers coming of age.

Subjects included mental health, body image, identity and toxic relationships.

The Northern Echo: Sunderland College students who took part in the Bright Lights Festival at Arts Centre Washington

Matt Waller, project lead and lecturer at Sunderland College, said: “The brief we gave our students was to produce a four to six-minute piece based on a personal story. We were very impressed by the quality and variety of the performances which were moving and thought-provoking and we’re grateful to the team at Arts Centre Washington for hosting us.

“Performing at a professional venue is a great experience for our students and the team was very helpful and supportive.”

Matt Blyth, culture and heritage officer at ACW added: “The Bright Lights Youth Arts Festival was an amazing week with local young people taking part in a programme of free workshops, live performances and visiting our youth arts exhibition.

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"Sunderland College’s Growing Pains was very much a part of that success. We have had some brilliant feedback from the audience and we’re looking forward to working with Sunderland College in the future.”

As well as activity at ACW, a Bright Lights Fringe Festival was held at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. This included activities linked to the Wildlife Photographer Exhibition at the museum.

Bright Lights Youth Arts Festival was supported by Sunderland City Council’s Washington Area Committee as part of Sunderland Culture’s Creative You project.