Today's election represents a landmark moment for many teenagers in Wales who will be participating in the democratic process for the first time.

People aged 16 and 17 are able to vote in a Senedd election for the first time, and to celebrate the fact, the National Youth Theatre of Wales (NYTW) will tonight premiere four short films on youth democracy.

The #Maniffest1617 event, beginning at 7pm today, will feature four monologues from prominent Welsh writers, reflecting their thoughts and feelings about youth representation and how their voices are heard.

“Despite the challenges of working during the Covid pandemic, we think it’s extremely important that the voices of young people are heard during this election," said Gillian Mitchell, the chief executive of National Youth Arts Wales.

“This exciting project, with brand new commissions in English and Welsh, is just part of our extensive work to help talented young performers across Wales to develop their own voice, and to continue their artistic training despite ongoing disruption.”

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The project is a collaboration between the young members and a team of writers, directors, and filmmakers, with some of the pieces featuring fictional characters and others spoken in the first person.

The first four films in the series will premiere on the AM platform (Twitter: @ambobdim) tonight at 7pm, and will be available to watch online afterwards at www.amam.cymru 

The new commissions and performers involved are:

Mari Izzard’s Siân of Arc, written for Lauren, a NYTW member from Cardiff (performed in English and Welsh), where Lauren plays the part of an 18-year-old launching her political campaign for first minister.

Catherine Dyson’s Manifest for Megan, written for Megan, a NYTW member from Treorchy (performed in English), a lyrical response to Megan’s relationship with her local community and environment.

The National Wales: A still from 'Manifest for Megan', one of the films on youth democracy being premiered by the NYTW. Picture: On Par ProductionsA still from 'Manifest for Megan', one of the films on youth democracy being premiered by the NYTW. Picture: On Par Productions

Matthew Bulgo’s The Future, written for Sam, a NYTW member from Neath (performed in English), an endearing performance tracing his political awakening.

Manon Steffan Ros’s Fama, written for Dyddgu from Bethesda (performed in Welsh), a funny, moving reflection on the power of community.

Tonight's event is the curtain-raiser for NYTW's 2021 season, titled Maniffest, which will focus on the empowerment of young people and the way they see 21st-century Wales.