Recipe for a Heyday – with founding Director Mema Edwards
“A life without beauty and expression is no life I will lead.”
Quotes like this are why Mema Edwards felt she needed to leave Cairns, her beloved hometown. Looking at the arts sector in Cairns, Mema saw a segregated and unfruitful environment for developing and nurturing young creatives; so instead of taking her dreams of being an artistic director elsewhere, she stayed and founded Heyday Festival.
Heyday Festival is more than just one-day in October for Mema. She sees Heyday as a creative core, a platform for artists – dabbling, emerging, in the closet. Heyday, with its year-round activities, is for those who have always wanted to…for those who have to…for those who feel the status quo simply won’t do.
Long before she decided to become an artistic director, Mema always knew she wanted to do something creative. As a seventeen-year-old, she independently sought experience, working and volunteering across the various streams of Cairns’ arts and cultural sector. Having scratched and clawed her way, she doesn’t want today’s young people to endure such unnecessary effort to access the limited meaningful opportunities available.
“I don’t want to sound pretentious and say that Heyday is the answer, but my team and I are content with Heyday being a little step in the right direction. It’s about sustainable professional development in Cairns; and that will flourish if the community embraces grassroots initiatives like ours. Moreover, I want the community to own Heyday.”
Heyday has a collaborative ethos and invites new win-win partnerships. Mema expressed her appreciation for the support already received from the Cairns region.
People who visit or relocate to Cairns are finding Heyday, an open collective of like-minded souls. Mema explains: “Fifteen talented young professionals run Heyday with me; we invest our time and passion to develop our youth arts sector, community, and creative careers.”
Heyday supports outreach programs from state and national bodies to access Cairns’ youth. Heyday currently works with Youth Arts Queensland (YAQ), Youth Music Industries (YMI), and Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC).
“It is always heart-warming to be encouraged by industry professionals, local and far away, who instantly recognise the worth of Heyday Festival and wish to collaborate.”
Mema dreams of seeing art embedded in everyday life. She hopes Heyday urges everyone to come and discover something magical, that will Stir the Core.
These are the ingredients for Mema’s Heyday. Now she wants to know: what’re yours?