Tang Hall Family Festival

There was lots – and I mean lots – going on at the Tang Hall Family Festival in York yesterday. It was spread over three sites – Tang Hall Community Centre, St Nicks and Hull Road Park. And it was all free.

I got to two of the three sites. Here are some snaps to give you a flavour of what was going on at the Tang Hall Community Centre site, where I was leading story-telling sessions.

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What did I get up to there? Well, I led a story-telling/poetry quest, in which Prince Dennis of Tanghallia explored his kingdom and successfully fulfilled his mission, thus becoming King Dennis of Tanghallia.

And then I welcomed princesses into the golden palace of Tanghallia, where they rode on unicorns and sang songs in praise of Tanghallia. (It may have looked to you as if we were in a yellow gazebo standing on beanbag cubes, but that just shows how little imagination you have!) (By the way, you may remember those beanbag cubes from my visit to Tang Hall Community Centre last December, during which they became sledges and snowballs and pyramids.)

And then those same princesses shed their royal connections and created a story in which we all flew (using our magic powers, natch) to Africa, where we went on an adventure to catch a venomous snake.

I learned last time I was at Tang Hall that the children have amazing amounts of imagination and creative energy, and it was a great pleasure to encourage them to put these into action again on this occasion.

Then, just as I was leaving the site to go home, two children came up to me and asked me to perform some poems for them. How could I refuse? To start with they each chose one of my Buzzing! photos, and I performed the poem that went with each one. But have I mentioned how creative the children round these parts are? When they chose their third photo (a caterpillar), I was about to start performing my caterpillar poem, when they decided – quite rightly – that they could do just as good a job themselves. So there and then, they wrote – and then performed – a caterpillar poem of their own. Which went like this:

My spikes are so hairy
They’re big and they’re scary
And people are frightened of me
I change my ways
And how I behave
And crawl from tree to tree.

By Maisie and Nathan, both aged 10

Owzat?!

Thank you to Tang Hall Big Local for inviting me to be part of this Family Festival, and to Tang Hall Community Centre Manager Stephen Collins for letting me use his wonderful beanbag cubes again.

A big thank you, too, to all the fabulously enthusiastic festival-goers who welcomed me back to Tang Hall Community Centre so warmly, and who joined in my events yesterday.

The icing on the cake for me was that I discovered that up on the wall in the Community Centre lounge are two beautifully framed photos taken during my December story-telling workshops. I was absolutely thrilled to see them there.

A participant in my December 2016 Tang Hall story-telling workshops.

One of the photos from my December 2016 Tang Hall story-telling workshops that’s now gracing the walls of the Community Centre.

So, that’s a brief run-down of the Tang Hall Community Centre part of this 3-venue festival. (Though I forgot to mention the belly dancers, the bouncy castle, the ukelele players, the face painter, the pizza making, the ice lollies, the virtual reality headset, and … and … and!) I also looked in at the St Nicks part of the festival yesterday too. But I’ll tell you about that another time.

Meanwhile, if you live down Tang Hall way, do keep tabs on all the great activities that Tang Hall Big Local puts on.

STOP PRESS: And for a video of the Family Festival events, see

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

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Ryedale Book Festival at Scampston Hall

Just a quick heads up about the fabulous event on *tomorrow* (Sunday 25 June) in Scampston Hall’s beautiful Walled Garden, near Malton. ‘A day of nature-themed literary activities for all the family’. I look forward to seeing you there! Find out more here.

Article from the Ryedale Gazette & Herald

Article from the Ryedale Gazette & Herald

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High! launch event

In case you were unfortunate enough Image result for emoji wink to miss the York Festival of Ideas launch of my new book Flying High! last Saturday, here’s a little snippet from my show. I’ll tell you a bit more about the whole event below.

The launch event took place on the new Heslington East campus of the University of York as part of the …

The event was a ‘triple bill’ consisting of:

  • A guided bird walk led by RSPB Vice-President Prof. Sir John Lawton, who wrote the Foreword to the book. (To be strictly accurate, John Lawton led *two* guided bird walks, as the first one filled up.) (The second one did too!)

Matt, taking full advantage of the bird walk photo opportunities. (Photo: Ann Taylor)

  • Flying High! show from me in which, as you’ve seen in the video above, I performed a selection of the poems in the book.

Performing my Flying High! show (Photo: Vikki Pendry)

  • And then a Flying High! book signing.

Signing copies of Flying High! (Photo: Vikki Pendry)

It gave me great pleasure to look out over the audience and see ages ranging from under 10 to over 80, smiling and joining in.

And it was particularly pleasing to meet three of the photographers whose sensational photos appear in the book, and who had come along specially for the launch event. Here I am (rather windswept!) with two of them, Mandy West and Roy Lowry (along with  RSPB V-P Prof. Sir John Lawton).

Photographer Mandy West,  RSPB V-P Prof. Sir John Lawton, me, photographer Roy Lowry

I was thrilled that photographers Mandy, Roy – and Lindsey Bowes – were able to attend the launch, and so pleased that the audience applauded their fabulous photos.

With Mandy West, one of the Flying High! photographers

What did the audience think of the event? Well, take a read:

‘Wonderful. So much fun.’ Ruth T

‘Lovely morning at University of York. Fantastic presentation, we loved it.’ Ann T

‘The show was so fascinating and your performance was absolutely brilliant. I was totally inspired: on my walk home I was looking out and listening out to see if I could identify any birds.’ Rowan J

‘A delightful performance and book launch.’ Margaret K

‘A lovely morning of poetry reminding us of the brilliance of birds and creative writing.’ Vikki P

So, that’s Flying High! launched – in York at least! If you fancy a Flying High! show where you are, just get in touch.

A very big Thank You to Prof. Sir John Lawton, for all his Flying High! support and his invaluable contributions to the launch event. Thanks, too, to all the York Festival of Ideas team for including our event in this year’s festival.

Meanwhile, I’ve another Flying High! ‘show + bird walk + book signing’ combo on 28 July at St Nicks in York. See my What’s On page for more details of this and other events – including the fabulous Scampston Hall/Ryedale Book Festival event I’ll be at next Sunday (and where Flying High! will be on sale).

You can find out more about my Flying High! book here, read the first press review here, and order your copy below.


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Much magic at Much Marcle

What an inspired idea! Bring children from different primary schools together at a gorgeous venue, set in fabulous grounds, for a day-long poetry festival in the company of three very different poets.

The idea was Chloe Garner’s. She’s the Director of the – very wonderful – Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Chloe Garner - Director of the Ledbury Poetry Festival

Chloe Garner – Director of the Ledbury Poetry Festival

The gorgeous venue was Hellens Manor, in Much Marcle, Herefordshire, not a million miles down the road from Ledbury:

Hellens Manor

Hellens Manor, Herefordshire

The grounds are gorgeous, both formal:

The grounds of Hellens Manor

The grounds of Hellens Manor

And more wild:

The grounds at Hellens Manor

The grounds at Hellens Manor. (The elephant is a sculpture, in case you were wondering!)

And the poets were me:

Anneliese Emmans Dean at Hellens Manor

Me!

Sara Hirsch:

Sara Hirsch, preparing her next workshop!

Sara Hirsch, preparing her next workshop …

and Rob Gee (who I kept meaning to take a snap of, but didn’t get around to!)

We three poets performed for the children and with the children, we put on poetry writing and performance workshops, and we all came together at the end of the day to listen to the children performing their new work.

Then we did something very similar the next day (with different children).

And the children? What did they make of it all?

Children in our Poetry Festival lunch break

Children in our Poetry Festival lunch break

Well, here’s the – completely unsolicited – letter one of the children gave me:

A letter from one of the participants in the 'Poetry Festival in a Day' I took part in

A letter from one of the participants in the ‘Poetry Festival in a Day’

Can’t ask for much more than that!

And the grown-ups? What did they think? Here’s some feedback from one of the accompanying mums:

‘What a joy it was to join my son’s primary school and 2 other schools for a
Festival of poetry at Hellens Manor.
A trip out of school to such a beautiful yet friendly location was a great
start to engaging the children but then a day of hard listening, thinking
and writing really got them buzzing and creating. The three so different but
excellent poets performed wonderfully right from the start as the children
asked questions; then listened to the funny, serious, challenging and even
slightly naughty material; then enjoyed three absorbing workshops and
finally performed their own work to their friends and new friends, using a
mic.
Conversations and laughing about the poetry continued in the car and I
believe was taken up next day in lesson plan changes by their teachers.
If days like these don’t get children realising that writing and poetry can
be so rewarding, fun and exciting, I don’t know what will.’

As for me … I found it a very enriching and inspiring experience, in a location so beautiful that I could quite happily have stayed there for ever and ever and ever …!

Fortunately, Chloe is hoping to put on a similar events in the future. Next time she invites me, I may just have to refuse to leave the premises at the end of it all …

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

 

 

 

 

Job Satisfaction

I’m just back from Herefordshire, where I’ve been putting on poetry performances and workshops with primary-school children for the Ledbury Poetry Festival. I’ll tell you more about it later. For now, I’d just like to share this fabulous – completely unsolicited – letter that one of the children came up to me and gave me. I was completely bowled over. Job satisfaction doesn’t get much better than this!

A letter from one of the participants in the 'Poetry Festival in a Day' I took part in

A letter from one of the participants in the ‘Poetry Festival in a Day’ I took part in

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Performing at Le Moulin Rouge

Well, I never thought when I started up theBigBuzz back in 2007 that I would end up performing at Le Moulin Rouge in the company of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec. But that’s exactly what happened this Yorkshire Day (= 1st August, for the uninitiated!)

Perhaps I need to unpack that a little. Le Moulin Rouge in question was a fantastic Spiegeltent temporarily erected in the centre of my home town York, as part of The Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival.

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

Le Moulin Rouge (The York spiegeltent version!)

And Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Ant and Dec were in fact present in the guise of face masks only, aka local volunteers judging the Yorkshire’s Got Talent portion of the day’s events. (And boy, has Yorkshire ever got talent! The contestants all sang amazingly!)

Simon Cowell (almost)

Simon Cowell (almost)

What was the day? Well, it was the family part of the Yorkshire Day Festival, a whole day and night’s worth of acts performing to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s charities, one of which is St Nicks (of which I am a Patron).

It was fabulous to watch so many other talented acts over the course of the day – and in such an amazing performance space.

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

Ukelele Sunshine Revival performing in Le Moulin Rouge

My contribution to the day was an edu-taining ‘Birds and the Bees’ poetry show. I’m pleased to say the feedback was great – including this on the day:

‘The Birds and The Bees act was very good. My granddaughter loved it and was up on stage holding up drawings. Very good day indeed.’

and this from @FamiliesYork on Twitter:

‘Loved it. Anneliese was amazing of on

Can’t ask for more than that!

I hope that much money was raised for the Lord Mayor’s charities. And that the families who came along were inspired by my portion of the day to do plenty of minibeast hunting and birding over the summer holidays.

Thank you to the friendly and professional crew at the venue who were a great help to us all. And to Emma Courtney of The Social Octopus and Kellie Taylor for organising the event.

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

The Moulin Rouge crew in action

If you’d like some ‘amazing’ eco-edutainment at your event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Happy World Poetry Day 2016!

For great cartoons of all the poets who performed at this York Literature Festival poetry feast, go to Sam Zuppardi’s blog: https://brushingup.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/york-literature-festival-programme-launch/ (Scroll right down to the bottom for his cartoon of me performing this very poem!)

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life