Last Sunday, Sue and I made our way to the Telling Tales Festival at The Globe, and what a wonderful event it was. Having booked tickets for a comic strip workshop with Marcia Williams, followed by a talk by Nicky Singer and Chris Riddell, we knew we were in for a real treat. However, there were quite a few unexpected surprises waiting for us too!
Our first stop was a workshop with the talented comic strip artist, Marcia Williams. The small lecture theatre had been carefully prepared with clipboards, pencils and many, many pots of crayons. Marcia began by explaining why she loves comic strips so much: ‘because there is no right way or wrong way. There is only your way.’ She then shared some insights on the importance of careful use of colour, different types of bubbles and humour when creating a comic strip. Soon , it was the children’s turn to participate. They were all given an unfinished comic strip of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to illustrate in their own style. The atmosphere was buzzing as the children – and quite a few of the parents – got cracking on their own masterpieces. Marcia gave great individualised feedback to the budding artists as they worked.
Marcia has also designed a huge comic strip for The Globe, which includes magnetic speech bubbles so that visitors can interact with the artwork.
Our first surprise was discovering that Polly Faber (author of the 'Mango and Bambang' books) was going to be reading some stories in the Story Forest – a wonderful open space in The Globe for children and families to enjoy, with numerous free sessions running throughout the day.
Now, we have been trying to attend one of Polly and Clara Vulliamy's (illustrator) events since first discovering their books, but for one reason or another, we kept missing each other. Naturally, we were delighted to be able to meet Polly before her session and have a chat about her wonderful work. I left rather smug with some Bambang stickers and the first signed copy of the paperback version of ‘Mango and Bambang, The Not-a-Pig.’ We will have to continue to track this dynamic duo until we manage to get Team JAB, Polly and Clara in the same room at the same time!
We will be reviewing the ‘Mango and Bambang’ books on the website soon.
Right in the centre of the Story Forest was a fantastic little pop-up bookshop by Tales on Moon Lane - a truly 'Brilliant Bookshop' which is a firm favourite of ours when we are London bound. We could not resist a little browse (and maybe made a purchase or four).
Our second surprise was meeting Petr Horáček. Petr had also been reading and drawing with children in the Story Forest – another of the free events for families. It was a real pleasure to meet Petr and he signed our books as well as drawing some fantastic little illustrations in them.
Our final session of the day was a talk with Nicky Singer and Chris Riddell, author and illustrator of 'Island'. 'Island' is a book we have read and discussed this year in JAB and subsequently became one of the long listed books in the ‘Moving On’ category for our 2016 award. It was incredibly interesting to hear the story behind this fantastic collaboration. Both Nicky and Chris spoke passionately about the message carried within ‘Island’. Chris called it, ‘A beautiful story that must be shared… a wonderful, lyrical story about an incredibly important issue, and a world that is true and exists.’ We couldn’t agree more. It turned out to be an incredibly emotionally charged session: Nicky spoke about the realities and truths that were the foundations of ‘Island,’ as Chris illustrated her words before our very eyes as only Chris Riddell can. Both thought-provoking and eye-opening, hearing them both speak made me fall in love with ‘Island’ all over again.
After a final wander through the Story Forest, taking in the atmosphere and all of the wonderful little displays and activities laid out for children, we made our way home.
The Telling Tales Festival at The Globe was a fantastic family-orientated day out. There was so much on offer to inspire young minds, get them interested in Shakespeare and discover the joy of story telling. The festival also gave children the opportunity to meet with some of the authors and illustrators who are creating today's wonderful variety of children's literature.
This is certainly an event we would make the journey to London for next year and would highly recommend it as a great bookish day out for the whole family.