27 February 2014 at 12.36pm | Comment on this article
The Pop Up Festival, an event designed to inspire the next generation of story-makers, will take place in Thurrock on Saturday 3 May. From monster puppets to medieval games shows, the event will bring books to life in extraordinary ways, transforming the High House Production Park into an interactive playground of stories.
The festival, which is free to attend and open to all, is programmed by children’s writers, illustrators, poets and storytellers. Festival-goers can expect to see fantasy author Sarwat Chadda’s interpretations of classic myths (which are inspired by Marvel Comics) told through roaming performances and monster puppets; novelist Julia Golding’s Arthurian Pavilion, featuring medieval game shows, knights, minstrels and the legendary Round Table; and illustrator Jane Ray’s giant toy theatre constructions that tell tales of mermaids, firebirds and flying horses.
In preparation for the festival, Pop Up has been holding weekly workshops with members of the Thurrock community and the Royal Opera House Learning and Participation and Bridge teams. Attendees have been lending their painting, sewing, dying and making skills to help make imaginative worlds a reality and create immersive story experiences.
‘I love the fact that there are many different activities going on and you can dabble in as many or as few as you like. I have learnt many different new skills, especially relating to needlework,’ says workshop participant Jane Hainsborough. ‘Volunteers are encouraged to try their hand at new experiences being reassured that nothing will be wrong - creativity in its truest form! It's also great to see children and adults of all ages working together and enjoying the experience.’
Other highlights of the festival include a 1950s jazz joint that features cabaret, whacky cocktails and dressing-up; a pop-up art gallery where giant art-works by classic artists – co-created with children and parents – come to life; and an enormous mobile installation of an enchanted city, created on the day with hundreds of young people and families who attend the festival.