DURING the summer The Globe held its first family literary festival Telling Tales. Its aim was to bring people together of all ages to explore storytelling in all its forms.
Such was its success that the Bankside theatre has decided to revisit the festival this week with its October half-term event, Tales for Winter.
Director of Globe Education, Patrick Spottiswoode tells me it’s based on the same principles as the summer festival with authors and illustrators leading a programme of talks, workshops, immersive storytelling and even a winter circus.
“We saw a stunning response from our pilot event, Shakespeare Telling Tales Festival which was wonderful,” he says.
“We had a fantastic group of authors last time who were very popular but audiences were also drawn to the workshops which was very heartening. It was lovely to see the reactions of those who came along.
“So I was thrilled and its success prompted us to revisit it for this half term.
“And indeed as the nights begin to draw in, there’s no better time to continue to celebrate our best told stories so once again, we’ll be introducing children to Shakespeare’s stories and to living storytellers who, will hopefully inspire them with the various ways in which to tell and listen to a story.”
Among the highlights of the festival which starts today (Tuesday) and runs until Saturday, are illustrator Sav Akyuz who will discuss the mischievous rapping bear at the heart of his book I Am Bear before teaching audience members to draw Bear themselves, and Matt Forbes, associate director in puppetry and movement for the National Theatre’s smash hit War Horse who will show families how to bring inanimate objects to life in his introduction to puppetry inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Elsewhere Tamara Macfarlane, owner of award-winning children’s bookshop Tales on Moon Lane, in Herne Hill will pull characters out of suitcases as she helps those taking part draw a winter circus setting from their wildest imaginations and Alex Bellos, author of much loved Alex’s Adventures in Numberland and Alex Through the Looking Glass will explore everything from Shakespeare and history to biology and maths through the prism of football.
Marcia Williams, author of bestsellers Mr William Shakespeare’s Plays and Bravo, Mr William Shakespeare! returns to the Globe to retell Shakespeare’s tales which have inspired us for four centuries and as well as Macbeth, there will also be retellings of Henry V and A Winter’s Tale.
“We have a lovely mix of events from family workshops to author talks and question and answer sessions so I hope there is something for everyone,” says Patrick.
“I love the fact that children who come can be inspired by the various ways to tell a story - whether it is through listening to someone read, or seeing a puppet show or even drawing something from their imaginations.
“Everyone loves a story and we hope that not only will it introduce Shakespeare and his plays to younger members of the family but it might also inspire their parents too, or get people to see them in a different way.
“But we must remember that Shakespeare was just one of many storytellers of his day. He wasn’t the only one but his plays have inspired so many since which is why it’s important for us to celebrate contemporary storytellers who will share their ways of telling stories. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”
Tales for Winter is on at The Globe, Bankside from Tuesday, October 21 until Saturday, October 29. Tickets are priced individually for each event, with a discount for multiple bookings. Visit www.shakespearesglobe.com/education/events/family-events/tales-for-winter or call the Globe box office on 020 7401 9919 for full listings.