Musical Family Fun Day at the RNCM & Exclusive interview with Nick Sharratt

Nick Sharratt signing books at RNCM

On the first Sunday of MCBF 2015, the Royal Northern College of Music played host to a Musical Family Fun Day as part of this year’s fesivities. The day was jam packed with lots of crafts and musical workshops. Many came to the event in fancy dress, including staff and volunteers who dressed up as their favourite children’s books characters including Little Red Riding Hood and Dennis the Menace.

The main attraction of the day was The Big Draw, featuring children’s book illustrator Nick Sharratt, who has worked on over 50 of Jacqueline Wilson’s books including The Cat MummyLola Rose and his most famous, The Story of Tracy Beaker. He showcased his more recent works with author Julia Donaldson. Nick’s masterclass saw children and grown ups learning how to draw many animals such as foxes, hippos and koala bears. This was followed by a musical sing-a-long of the book Animal Music, which saw students from the RNCM play, while everyone sang along and danced.
Children on stage with Nick Sharratt

Next up was the magical performance of Charles Perrault children’s classic, Little Red Riding Hood. The traditional story was brought to life with a live band, whose music added a whole new dynamic and left the audience in awe.

Another performance, Mimika Theatre, told the tale of a fox cub with a cliff-hanger ending! The whole of the theatre was handcrafted, including a scene made entirely of matchsticks depicting all of the characters within the tale.
Throughout the day there was a wide selection of workshops, each incorporating music and crafts. Children and adults had the opportunity to make book themed hats, which had mini books and quotes stuck to them.
Children had their faces painted which left the Family Fun Day with lots of different animals running wild. Singing and percussion workshops were also scattered throughout, bringing music and literature together.
Altogether, we were spoilt for choice at the Musical Family Fun Day which was another MCBF 2015 hit! One young Nick Sharrat fan, Isobel, aged 4, told us,

“My favourite book is The Gruffalo, but I like so many books I can’t decide. I enjoyed going to watch the book theatre and drawing!”

Check out our exclusive interview with Nick Sharrat below.


* * *
MCBF: What was your favourite Jacqueline Wilson Book to illustrate?

Nick Sharrat: “My Favourite Jacqueline Wilson book? Well, I have a very soft spot for The Story of Tracy Beaker which was the one that began it all. There’s lots of variety, sometimes Jackie writes historical books and sometimes she writes a funny book that need lots of pictures, some dark books where I don’t have to do so many, so I concentrate on the covers. I think that my second favourite might be The Butterfly Club, which is packed full of illustrations. I change my mind a lot of the time but at the moment it’s The Butterfly Club.”

MCBF: Sometimes it’s hard to get children interested in reading, What do you think of festivals like this that get children into literature?

NS: “They are just fantastic! They celebrate the pleasure and enjoyment that reading gives, which is an incredibly important part of it. If you turn children on to reading early, you set them up for life, give them so many advantages. They’re brilliant. Anything that encourages sharing the books and getting children to be familiar and comfortable with books is good news. Today, there’s been so much stuff going on here it’s incredible! The children seem to be getting so much out of it.”

“I’ve had the most crazy session here, but it was all highly spontaneous. I wanted to involve some students in my session. We put the whole thing together in about an hour, but they were terrific, they really got into it and I’ve had a great time. The audience made it too! I love coming to Manchester as I grew up here so it’s always nice to come back.”

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