'Time for Sheffield to get behind creative youth' says Heaven 17 founder

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 and the Human League speaks at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Presidents Annual Dinner.
Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 and the Human League speaks at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Presidents Annual Dinner.
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One of Sheffield's most famous musical names has called for a new community project to get more young people into the arts.

Martyn Ware, a founding member of Heaven 17 and The Human League, told an audience of city leaders that more needed to be done to encourage creativity.

Speaking at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce President’s Annual Dinner on Thursday he said he wouldn't have made it as a musician without the influence of a council-funded theatre project in his youth.

Mr Ware, 60, suggested it was now time to set up a similar project - and said he would be happy to help.

"I believe there is more creativity than ever," he said. "If we encourage it and we can support it in Sheffield in particular, we will definitely reap the rewards, both in terms of quality of life and economically."

Mr Ware, responsible for such hits as 'Temptation' and 'Being Boiled', recalled his time growing up in Walkley, when the booming of Sheffield's forges was 'like a heartbeat that sent you to sleep'.

The Human League at Derwent Dam.

The Human League at Derwent Dam.

He talked about Meat Whistle, a council-funded theatre project based in Holly Street in the city centre, which brought creative young people together.

"These were amazing times," he said. "We used to write music for fun and for art, and we spent years doing things for artistic reasons before we ever thought that we could be in a band.

"I think we have lost a lot of that now. Teenagers have a very, very tough time. I've got two teenage children and I feel sorry for them. Where do they go to do these kind of creative things? Where do they meet new people who want to do creative things?

"It's very isolated - people looking at their own laptops and putting things out on the internet and hoping people will like it."

Mr Ware said forming a new arts-based youth club would be 'a fantastic thing for Sheffield' and make the most of the creativity that exists.

"Maybe it's time for Meat Whistle mark two," he added. "I'd happily help out and I know there are a lot of Sheffield musicians who would do exactly the same.

"We would do it as a community project. It's not just about earning money in the first instance. Young people need confidence to make the most of their talent."

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