Berwick Literary Festival Schools’ and Young People's Programme 2022
Berwick Literary Festival returned to venues in the town last October, with an extended young people’s programme of events, which took place in schools and at the Guildhall. After consulting with schools on their preferred subjects and formats, free events were planned specifically for all 17 schools in the Berwick Partnership, aimed at involving children of all ages.
Arty-Fact Theatre Company returned to the Festival, bringing their new play to Berwick. Eight First Schools brought approx 280 children to the Guildhall to watch Calamity Climate Change, a captivating, funny and eco-friendly play that included Arty-Fact’s exciting blend of drama and puppetry. The play was also performed at the Grove School in Berwick.
"Great to have the opportunity for children to experience live theatre while exploring an important issue" Scremerston First School teacher
"Our KS2 children thoroughly enjoyed the show! It was fun, relevant and thought provoking. The humour was just right - bits of 'silliness' and the message of caring for our environment was very clear" Lowick First School teacher
Middle Schools were offered an interactive workshop provided by Arty-Fact, focusing on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the KS3/KS4 curriculum. These workshops were exceptionally popular in previous years and Festival organisers were excited to be able to extend the offering to all middle schools in the Berwick Partnership this year, which meant around 250 children could be involved.
"The event was fantastic - what a way to bring Shakespeare's story to life - and in a way accessible to the children. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves" Tweedmouth Middle School teacher
"The children are studying Macbeth later in the year, so this was great introduction to the topic" Berwick Middle School teacher
Finally for High Schools, poet Dr Jo Clement spent a day at each school in the BLF-sponsored “Poet for a Day” scheme. Jo, who is also a lecturer at Northumbria University tailored the schools’ workshops to different age groups and curriculum requirements. We were delighted that 270 children could take part.
Berwick Academy teacher commented "The students really enjoyed the Poetry Workshop as it developed their ideas of oral storytelling through poetry"
Longridge Towers told us "Jo's sessions today were fantastic - our sixth form had a particularly brilliant time and we are so grateful for the opportunities provided by Berwick Literary Festival".
BLF organisers were excited to be holding free events in the Library on that Saturday too. Local artists Brita Granstroem and Jonathan Wild focused on their latest book The Fussy Flamingo; There was a Storytime in the Library session for young listeners; and to round off the day, author-illustrator Emily Haworth-Booth lead a hands-on drawing and writing workshop for teenagers who were guided through the process of making their own comics on the theme of activism and changing the world, based on her book PROTEST!.
Michael Gallico, Festival Director, said “providing schools with high-quality events that both educate and entertain has always been a key part of the Festival’s role. We have to thank our patrons and sponsors, who make it possible for us to offer this programme. About 400 children in Berwick and area watched our 2021 poetry sessions with Joseph Coelho and we’re delighted that we were able to double the number of young people involved in 2022 to 800. We are really pleased too that Joseph has been chosen as Children’s Laureate for 2022.”