YOUNG people in the Taunton area are being encouraged to express themselves by an arts charity despite the Covid-19 crisis.

Arts Taunton is going ahead with a virtual youth festival - the annual TYCA event launched last year.

The charity linked up with Digital Taunton to take the event completely online.

Tacchi Morris Arts Centre has offered its venue for socially-distanced performances, allowing lighting, sound, an auditorium and stage.

Videographer and Digital Taunton member Glen Wayman, 24, of Highwayman Films, is giving his expertise and crew so the filming can happen.

Professional actor and former Taunton School student Ian McNiece, who plays Bert in TV's Doc Martin, will compere the event.

The show, a mixture of professionally recorded performances and home recordings, will be broadcast Radio Somerset on September 17 at 8 pm.

It will also go out via Facebook and stream on the TYCA festival website simultaneously.

TYCA festival director Deborah Baddoo said: "We could easily have done what others did, seen an insurmountable barrier, move the money into next year and done nothing.

"It was a time to be brave. The world changed daily, and indeed continues to do so.

"But now more than ever we knew the creative industries needed support and young people needed an outlet for all their emotions.

"Arts Taunton began creating a platform for the young people of Somerset to meet that need."

The TYCA festival goes live in October.

Arts Taunton, through the event, has given 10 performing artists and their companies work during a time when little was available, a platform for young people to learn and be creative and Taunton businesses have worked together to make this happen.

During lockdown, Arts Taunton launched competition challenges, with cash prizes, to allow young people up to the age of 25, to explore their creativity and find ways to relate to their new environments. Themes included ‘living in a small space’ and ‘what does a mask mean to you?’

TYCA also ran online workshops for visual arts delivered by Go Create and one giving young people a voice through the Spoken Word, delivered by Clementines Live Arts, which attracted children from all over the world.