MCBF 2016: Exciting Tales in the Storytelling Tent

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By Frazer Macdonald

At this year’s Manchester Children’s Book Festival Family Fun Day, various entertainers took to storytelling tent once again to provide quality entertainment for its guests.

The first group of people to make an appearance were the Antarctic Heritage Trust, who brought along a bag full of authentic arctic gear to teach us all about the dangers (and wonders!) of travelling in the arctic.

DSC_0193[1]Next, a representative from Manchester’s very own People’s History Museum told an enchanting story of action and adventure. The storyteller used dolls and stuffed animals to add to the excitement and to the delight of the audience, welcomed lots of audience interaction.

Next up, Eastern Roots, Western Branches was shared, a children’s story about the experience of being a Muslim in the  UK and the nuances of Muslim life. The story was illustrated and offered the reader a chance to go in detail about things like Ramadan and Eid, and made the story tent a much more diverse and inclusive experience.

Lei, aged four, said, “It was really interesting and I enjoyed it.”

As the Family Fun Day continued to bustle with activity, more and more families settled down for storytelling sessions. Noel Fagan, shared a story titled A Not So Stupid Sheep, about a sheep who finds his self worth. This story was a big hit with parents commenting, “Noel is fantastic, the kids loved him!”

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Later, two students from the Manchester School of Art took to the tent to perform a poetry reading. The poem titled ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Moth,’ was about respecting all animals, no matter how they look. It reflected the inclusive nature of the festival, and was a good addition to the program.

Animals were the theme of the afternoon. A group of three actors came from the Royal Exchange Theatre to act out a story about a giraffe who feels different from other animals – like owls, cows and mice – because he can’t make any noise. At the end, the giraffe realised he should embrace his individuality instead of being sad about it.

The most popular of the entertainers was George Kirk, who turned up dressed in pirate-themed fancy dress. Throughout her performance, she played pirate-themed songs on a ukulele and told a swashbuckling tale about a young pirate who just wants to be treated like the adults, and eventually ends up getting his way. Leo, aged six, said, “It was really really good.”

George’s performance was a great closing act for a day, which saw a lot of fun and exciting performances.

What’s even better is there’s plenty more to come over the next week!

The Manchester Children’s Book Festival runs from 24th June – 3rd July. Download the 2016 brochure for information on upcoming events.

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