Manoka Mbolokele: Bronze and Gold Arts Award

Manoka talks us through his Arts Award with 20 Stories High and Liverpool Learning Partnership. 

The art forms that I chose to learn and use during my Arts Award are theatre, physical theatre, play writing and song writing.


For my Bronze Arts Award I chose to go see Broke N Beat Collective in the Unity theatre in Liverpool. For my Gold Arts award I chose to go see the Marked in Media city in Manchester.

Here are some reviews for Broke N Beat Collective, for you to get an idea of the arts events I went to: 

- Liverpool Echo:   

- The Guardian:

Online reviews for the Marked: 

- Theatre Temoin:

- Fringe Review:

What were your highlights of your Arts Award?

I would say the interview with Bradley Thompson really meant a lot because of the similarities between us in regard to the upbringing, educations and mentorship within the arts sector. For example, me and Bradley both entered 20 Stories High youth theatre at a young age plus studied in the same secondary school which was the academy of St Francis of Assisi. This is where we was both thought drama at a GCSE/BETC level by the lovely Miss Ousey. 

Also During my time at Tmesis theatre and Off the Ground I felt like a proper performer due to the environment that the team created during the rehearsals, they always pushed to my limit and believed that I could always get the job done no matter if it was physical theatre or Shakespeare and for that I will entirely be grateful.  

How did you share your arts skills or lead your own projects?

For my Golds Arts Award I chose to share my song writing skills that I have learned through my time in the young writers course led by Keith Saha and Phillip Osment. I was given the opportunity to show this skill through the Scratch night with the first reading of my Play called Runner. In the 2017, I was able to take the lead and host on the annual winter sharing as Santa. This event takes place at the end of the calendar year to celebrate the achievements of all the young people in both the youth theatre and the Young Actors Company of 20 Stories High. The event amazing performance that incorporated singing, dancing and theatre along with a raffle. 

For my Bronze Arts Award I chose to share my song writing with skills the whole 20 Stories High team with a song writing session that resulted in the 20 Stories High song being created. 

Tell us about your portfolio

For both of my Arts Awards I have followed the same the system in regard to my portfolio which consists of my primary PowerPoint that highlights every that I have done alongside with photos and videos.  

Here is some press coverage:

What was most valuable to you personally? 

The most valuable thing to me was that I make it to the end of the finishing line and collect each Arts Award certificate before time ran out. I now have got two out of the three with one more adventure left to embark on. I’m coming for Silver!

What did you find inspiring? 

The main thing that I found inspiring was the people that I was meeting along the way. Good people that have given their live and soul to ensure the survival of the arts sector. Along with everyone in it. 

What was challenging? 

For me, the most challenging thing was the level of time that have to be given up complete it. I found it quite difficult balancing finding the time to complete these projects alongside my studies. For example, I completed my Gold Arts Award in my second year of university and my Bronze Arts Award in year 12.  

What are you going to do next and has Arts Award helped you? 

The next thing for me is to complete and finishes this trilogy by completing and obtaining my Silver Arts Award before I turn 21. The Arts Award helped me obtain key leadership roles within the arts sector such as becoming a board trustee and 20 Stories High.

How did you get involved with Arts Award?

I was presented with the opportunity to take part with the Arts Award during my one-week work experience at 20 Stories High in back in 2016.  

Who gave you the most help and inspiration? 

I have to be honest and say that the person who has always provided help and keeps me going in times where I want to quit is Lucy Graham.

If you have completed an Arts Award and would like to be profiled too, join our Arts Award Alumni and let us know about your experience.


Nici West

Nici West Voice Team

Nici is the an editor for Voice. She loves all things books, theatre, music, art, visiting other countries, anything creative, and sometimes attempts to make YouTube videos. Alongside Voice she writes and edits through her own pursuits.You can occasionally find her running marathons dressed as a black dog.

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