University of Worcester Hosts its Largest Storytelling Festival Yet

Peter Chand

The event, now in its 13th year, continues to grow year on year with around 5,000 youngsters from 55 schools around Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, the West Midlands and mid-Wales set to attend.

They will be entertained by a wide variety of renowned storytellers, authors, illustrators, puppeteers and theatre acts, designed to inspire a love of stories, literature and learning. The Festival also includes a family day on Saturday, October 19 with a host of guests, including author Sophie Dahl and Beano illustrator, Nigel Auchterlounie.

Festival Manager, Steve Boffy, said: “This Festival has continued to grow and its popularity I think demonstrates how much our young visitors enjoy the experience, but also how much they benefit from it.  The University of Worcester wants to inspire people with a love of learning and this Festival helps instill that enthusiasm into the children participating from an early age.” 

Throughout the two weeks, from Monday, October 14, to October 25, a host of different performers will entertain the children, including renowned storytellers like Peter Chand, Ben Haggarty, Amy Douglas, Daniel Morden, Sally Tonge and Cat Weatherill.  Authors Abi Elphinstone, Caroline Lawrence and Kristina Stephenson, and the poet Atinuke will also attend, while a number of theatre companies are putting on shows.

Workshops will combine the talents of performers, artists and writers alongside the expertise of the University’s academics and students.  Illustration academics will hold an arts session on migration, in which pupils will make bird masks.  Artists and designers from the University of Worcester will work with children to create story maps - a visual image of a story.  Some children will get to work with professional artists to make ceramics while others will create artwork using the traditional art of Indonesian Batik.

The Family Day on Saturday, October 19, has a host of events at The Hive and in the Festival tents on the University’s City Campus, off Castle Street.  Highlights include Beano author, writer and illustrator Nigel Auchterlounie, author Sophie Dahl, the premiere of a new adaptation of HG Wells’ The Time Machine, and an interactive storytelling and illustrative session with Lydia Monks, the illustrator behind Julia Donaldson’s What the Ladybird Heard books.

Mr Boffy added: “This year there is truly something to suit every taste, from magical stories to workshops, delivered by a whole host of talented performers working alongside University academics.  In addition, we hope people will take up the opportunity to get involved in the day of events open to the public.”

For more details on the Family Day or to book tickets, log on to www.worcester.ac.uk/beeline