Flying High! at St Nicks

You may recall I am a Patron of St Nicks, the Centre for Nature and Green Living here in York. It was a great pleasure to put on a Flying High! show there last week, to celebrate the recent launch of my Flying High! book (and raise funds for St Nicks through book sales).

Flying High! at St Nicks

Flying High! at St Nicks. (Photo by Lewis Outing)

It was a particular pleasure as my secondary school English teacher Mrs Green was in attendance. If you check out the Acknowledgements page, you’ll see I have a word or two to say about her there! (N.B. She has been trying for some time to persuade me to call her by her first name, but after so many years of handing in homework to be marked by her, you’ll understand why I find that impossible.)

Another important person who turned up was Lewis Outing, who is one of the photographers whose bird images appear in Flying High! His upturned duck photo (on page 65 of the book) raised a laugh from the audience when it was projected onscreen as part of my show. And those ducks are, of course, St Nicks’ ducks – the photo having been taken along the beck that runs through St Nicks.

So here, for the record, am I with the aforementioned Lewis Outing and Mrs Green, and the yet-to-be-mentioned Ivana, who organised the whole event so seamlessly.

From left to right: Me, Lewis Outing, Mrs Green, Ivana from St Nicks

From left to right: Me, Lewis Outing, Mrs Green, Ivana from St Nicks

And as you’ll see, the rain actually held off long enough for all four of us to go outside and have our photo taken! Hurrah!

Ivana says she’s going to put together a little video of the event, so I’ll let you know when that’s available.

Meanwhile, thank you to all concerned with this event (especially to my parents for managing to make it there).

Happy birding, wherever you may be!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Little Feet fly high at York Theatre Royal

York Theatre Royal rang to the sounds of birdsong plus the patter of (relatively) tiny feet last Saturday. Why? Because storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I were putting on performances of our Flying High show there as part of the fourth Little Feet Festival of Children’s Theatre.

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High at York Theatre Royal

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High at York Theatre Royal (Photo: Eloise Ross)

Flying High takes you into the wonderful world of birds, through rhythm, rhyme, story and song. And – on this occasion – finger-puppets too.

Finger puppet at Flying High at York Theatre Royal

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

It was fabulous to see so many young children in the theatre, enjoying the (newly refurbished) spaces, and the shows and activities put on specially for them.

Taking part in Flying High

Taking part in Flying High (Photo: Eloise Ross)

How did our show go down?

Ursula’s mum called it ‘a wonderful show. My daughter loved it and was talking about it today when I poured her water at tea time!’

Listening to Catherine's story ...

Listening to Catherine’s story … (Photo: Eloise Ross)

And Festival co-organiser, Juliet Forster of York Theatre Royal, said she had ‘really enjoyed’ our show, and that it had been ‘a great addition to the festival’.

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

Flying High comes in lots of flavours, to suit different ages and attention spans, from tinies right through to grown-ups. Let us know if you’d like us to come fly high where you are!

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

(Photo: Eloise Ross)

Meanwhile, if you haven’t checked out the newly revamped York Theatre Royal, do. See what a £6 million redevelopment looks and feels like!

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

 

Family Fun at Ryedale Book Festival

‘Step through the magnificent gates into a magical woodland world …’ the Festival brochure said. And it wasn’t wrong.

On Sunday, children, parents, grandparents and godparents galore gathered in Malton’s ‘secret garden’, Castle Gardens, for the Ryedale Book Festival Family Fun Day themed around nature.

The day started off with artist and illustrator Matt Sewell teaching us all how to draw birds, in his Spotting and Jotting workshop:

Matt Sewell teaching us how to draw birds

Matt Sewell teaching us how to draw birds

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Then storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I took to the stage to perform our Flying High show all about birdsong – ably assisted by members of the audience, young and not-so-young alike.

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High, ably assisted by an audience member. Ryedale Book Festival, October 2015

Catherine Heinemeyer and I performing Flying High, ably assisted by an audience member. Ryedale Book Festival, October 2015

And the entertainments kept coming! I had had a word with the Mayor of Malton on the previous Friday about securing us good weather for the day, and she didn’t disappoint. It was a beautiful sun-soaked Autumn day. So we were able to enjoy and explore the outdoor space with a book-cover trail, particularly fine face-painting

Face painting by Sarah Corner

Face painting by Sarah Corner of facepaintingcorner.co.uk

… freshly baked pizzas and coffee and cakes, all accompanied by exquisitely crafted book-themed songs written and performed by the fabulous Bookshop Band.

The Bookshop Band at Ryedale Book Festival

The Bookshop Band at Ryedale Book Festival

Waterstones was on hand to sell books, with a nice big space for us authors to sign and dedicate copies for our readers.

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Signing copies of Buzzing! at the Waterstones bookstall

And whilst we were roaming the Gardens, Matt Sewell was at the boundary wall creating a wonderful bird-themed mural – a flurry of Long-tailed Tits:

Matt Sewell creating his mural at Castle Gardens, Malton

Matt Sewell creating his mural at Castle Gardens, Malton

All in all a lovely, lovely day with a huge range of inspiring activities and experiences for all ages. If you missed it this year, then do put Ryedale Book Festival in your diary for next year.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the Festival brochure:
‘The Ryedale Book Festival is an inclusive, community-led, not for profit organisation run by a team of dedicated volunteers with a passion for books. If you would like to get involved, contact the Festival team: events@ryedalebookfestival.com

And … it even has its own beer!

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Thank you to all the volunteers who put so much work into creating such a friendly and well-run Festival – especially Sarah Tyson, Audrie Woodhouse, Helen Lowdell and Pinelopi Bourke. It was a great pleasure to be part of it.

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life

Flying High again

Storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer and I had great fun last week when we performed our Flying High show all about birds to The Children’s Society PACT Project Youth Club here in York. I say we performed the show ‘to’ them. Actually ‘with’ would be a much more accurate term, as the Youth Club members joined in with great gusto. They joined in with the poems I performed and they told us all about the birds in their gardens and then at the end, we all made up a story together, about a robin.

Joining in the storytelling

Joining in the storytelling

Catherine and I were thrilled to read the feedback forms we asked our audience to fill in. All the young people and all their support workers said they’d enjoyed the show ‘a lot’, and they all said they’d learned new things about birds.

Filling in the Feedback Form!

Filling in the Feedback Form!

My feedback about the evening: it was a joy to perform for (with!) these young people, and to chat with them afterwards. Thank you for having us!

Me with Catherine Heinemeyer and one of the Youth Club memb

Me with Catherine Heinemeyer and one of the Youth Club members at the end of our show

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz – Bringing Poetry to Life

Flying High on Friday

Have you heard your first chiffchaff of this (so-called) Spring yet? A member of the audience at our ‘Flying High’ show on Friday has – in York Cemetery.

Don’t know what a chiffchaff sounds like? You obviously weren’t at our ‘Flying High’ show! I defy anyone who was there not to be able to instantaneously recognise a chiffchaff when they next hear one!

Thank you to everyone who packed Jacob’s Well on Friday and joined in our York Literature Festival ‘Flying High’ show with such gusto. And listened to Catherine Heinemeyer’s telling of the Sumerian Anzu Bird story with such attentiveness.

Particular thanks to John Illingworth, for taking these fabulous photos of the event:

Flying High with Catherine Heinemeyer at York Literature Festival. Photo by John Illingworth.

Flying High with Catherine Heinemeyer at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

How big is a herring gull's wingspan? This big! From Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

How big is a herring gull’s wingspan? This big! From Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Catherine Heinemeyer telling us the tale of the Anzu Bird, in Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Catherine Heinemeyer telling us the tale of the Anzu Bird, in Flying High at York Literature Festival 2013. Photo by John Illingworth.

Thank you too to Conor and Paddy, without whom we never would have got the venue set up in time!

And a big Thank You to Festival Director Miles Salter and his band of stalwart volunteers for putting on another fantastic York Literature Festival.

Oh, and if you’d like us to come Fly High at your school or event, just get in touch!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – www.theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing Poetry to Life