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What’s the 2021 South Side Youth Festival about? 

In every wave of transformation in American history the young have led the way, with their innovative ideas and resounding voices raised to question inequitable systems. Nothing could be more quintessentially American or more urgently needed at this moment in time. With this in mind in the years ahead, the South Side Youth Fest will become a gathering space and platform for what our future has to say about the present–celebrating the radical imagination required to build the world they want.

South Side teens are invited to submit original content that they create in the following digital mediums:

  • Original Digital Short: video / 30 seconds minimum to 3 minutes maximum in length.
  • Original Storytelling, Poetry or Prose: audio OR video / 30 seconds minimum to 3 minutes maximum in length.

South Side teens are strongly encouraged to submit their original content using the following themes:

  • Radical Futures: The future needs you to imagine it before it can happen. We want you to tell us what you think the world of tomorrow should look like. Tell us about your vision for our collective future. 
  • Take Action: Is there a social issue you care a lot about? We want you to tell us more about it, why it concerns you and what others should be doing to affect positive change. 
  • Self Portrait: Just express yourself, tell us more about what makes you…you, we want to know what South Side teens are all about. 
  • For the Culture: We want you to set the record straight and educate us on what your culture is really all about. There’s a lot we miss out on when a culture is underrepresented or misrepresented. Bring those receipts! 

When and how can I participate?

Content submissions open on February 18, 2021 via Google Form.

Submissions should be uploaded to the site using the following files/formats; .mp4/.mov for video submissions or .mp3/.wav for audio submissions. Files should not exceed 100mb.

Community Voting kicks off on April 23 – May 10, 2021
Go to CourtTheatre.org/SSYFVote where YOU will be able to share your work with the public AND to get out the vote for your favorite stories until May 10, 2021. The festival submissions with the most votes across each category will be announced during a live festival viewing party on the evening of May 26, 2021, for bragging rights and the chance to win technology prizes that will take our winners’ digital learning experience to the next level. 

Please note: We will accept up to 100 submissions for the festival and the portal for submissions will close on April 22, 2021 OR when we’ve reached the maximum number of submissions.

Who can participate in the festival?

Any South Side teen ages 13-19 who currently lives on Chicago’s South Side AND/OR any teen who is currently enrolled in any Chicago Public School or Charter School on Chicago’s South Side–within any of the following community areas: 

Bronzeville, Douglas, Englewood, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park, and Woodlawn. With priority being provided to the zip codes in the above community areas. 

Still have questions? Email us.


Court’s South Side Youth Fest is supported by

Allstate Chicago's Own Good Hands