Mandurah's famed YOH Fest to take local stage by storm | Photos

The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre is gearing up to host this year's Youth On Health Festival, better known as YOH Fest, in September.

Now one of Australia's biggest health themed youth performing and visual arts events, the Act-Belong-Commit festival rose from humble beginnings after starting in Mandurah in 1988.

YOH Fest travels to eight regions across the state giving students, including those from Peel, the opportunity to create, construct and perform their own dance sequence, drama play musical composition, short film or art piece based on a relevant youth health theme.

The heats for schools in the Peel region will be held from September 2-6 with Halls Head Primary School, Mandurah Baptist College, Halls Head College and John Tonkin College all set to take to the stage and vie for first place in six categories - drama (group), drama (solo/duo), dance, visual art, music and short film.

Act-Belong-Commit YOH Fest improves young people's standing by presenting a positive healthy image of young people within the community.

YOH Fest coordinator Karen Lyons

More than 3000 students from 80 schools around the state will share their stories through the creative form of their choice in this year's YOH Fest to the theme of Belonging.

School students will construct and perform their take on the theme in an effort to educate and empower themselves, their peers and their community to make healthier lifestyle choices.

YOH Fest coordinator Karen Lyons said the theme of Belonging was a particularly important one this year.

"The need to feel included is a fundamental part of who we are and its integral to our sense of happiness, well-being and identity," she said.

"Everyone needs to belong - to one another, to our friends and families, to our culture and country, to our world."

Organised, managed and run predominantly by young and the young at heart, the unique statewide school health promotion project also uses the arts platform to help participants gain skills, self-confidence, respect for others and an understanding of relevant youth issues.

Ms Lyons said YOH Fest gave regional students especially the opportunity to be part of an exciting new experience.

"We believe that participation in arts programs can be a key driver in development stronger, healthier communities," she said.

"Act-Belong-Commit YOH Fest improves young people's standing by presenting a positive healthy image of young people within the community.

"YOH Fest has established solid relationships with educators in the region, who use YOH Fest as a platform to engage students in health education through the arts, which raises awareness to the broader community as they share their stories in at the YOH Fest heats."

For more information, or to purchase tickets to the YOH Fest heats, visit the MPAC website.