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Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime in Stories
Opens Saturday 2nd July 2016
Wednesday 29th June 2016
Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime in Stories is an exclusive exhibition curated by Seven Stories, running from Saturday 2nd July 2016 – June 2017.
Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s best loved story makers and this unique exhibition showcases, for the first time, the notebooks and manuscripts that have become the classics we know today, including War Horse (1982, Egmont), Private Peaceful (2003, Harper Collins), Kensuke's Kingdom (1999, Egmont) and The Butterfly Lion (1996, Harper Collins).
Kate Edwards, Seven Stories’ Chief Executive said: “Michael is one of the most influential authors of our time who has done more than most to harness the power of storytelling to touch the hearts and minds of young readers. It’s a privilege to be custodian of his archive and we are excited to be sharing its treasures through this exhibition.”
On display in the characteristically playful Seven Stories exhibition are draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and correspondence that chronicle Michael’s creative process and writing career. A replica of Michael’s creative caravan is reconstructed, so that visitors can imagine, daydream and pen story ideas, inspired by Michael’s beloved Devon. Surreally, vast amounts of orange school notebooks reveal themselves as an important repository for Michael’s first ideas and drafts.
The exhibition includes an atmospheric soundscape to introduce the various and familiar themes in Michael’s story telling - war, the countryside and farming, the Scilly Isles and friendship. As well as manuscripts for Michael’s novels, his archive also contains material relating to adaptations, in particular War Horse, first published in 1982 by Egmont. It had its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007 and almost 10 years later it has been made into a blockbusting film by Steven Spielberg. The stage production has been enjoyed by over 6 million people worldwide.
A handwritten draft of War Horse will be on display for the first time, showing how the story evolved from first draft to publication of the book, to adaptation for the National Theatre and Steven Spielberg film scripts. Props from stage and film including a goose puppet, on loan from the National Theatre, a maquette of the Joey puppet and a World War I painting that inspired War Horse, by war artist F. W. Reed are also on show.
Michael’s writing style is inspired by fact and real events, “Before you find a voice for a story, you have to find a voice as a writer. Before you find a voice as a writer there is something even more important – you have to find something to write about.
“It’s no good trying to write about what you don’t care about. You only find out what you care about when you discover what really motivates you to write. The more time you spend in “dream time“ living in your head where the story is, imagining how the people involved would feel - then you can lose yourself utterly in the story. That’s what I try to do.”
Taking inspiration from Michael’s daydreaming, Seven Stories has developed an exclusive new ‘The Dreamer’ show, which will lay with the idea of dream and reality and will encourage young visitors to pen their own stories. The performance will take place daily during the summer holidays.
Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s greatest living authors for children. His work spans 40 years and a career that has seen the publication of over 150 books for children, traversing wide-ranging topics that explore historical events, natural history and the environment, adventure and family life.
Morpurgo is a true champion of children and young people’s culture, creativity and their right to read and enjoy stories. He was instrumental in setting up the Children’s Laureateship in 1997, and his services to children’s literature were recognised in 2006 when he was awarded an OBE. In 2015 he donated his entire archive to Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books.
“I have known Seven Stories for a number of years and admired the way that it has worked quietly and diligently to fill an obvious gap in our culture by founding a National children’s literature archive and by using it to make amazing exhibitions” says Michael Morpurgo, explaining his reason for the donation. “We have a huge admiration for what everyone has done at Seven Stories – this is significant and it matters in the world of the arts. That’s an extraordinary thing to have created. It made sense to us that it should be the home for my stuff”.
Additional exhibition highlights include:
A replica ship wrecked boat, featured in Wreck of the Zanzibar (1995, Egmont).
A multi-sensory sculpture of Billy the Kid (2002, Harper Collins).
A playful under 5 area inspired by Mudpuddle Farm Series (Harper Collins) and It’s a Dog’s Life (2004, Egmont) with dress up and props.
Artwork loaned from some of Britain’s greatest illustrators, including Sir Quentin Blake, Patrick Benson and Michael Foreman.
Original material showing handwritten drafts of Private Peaceful (2003 Harper Collins), Why the Whales Came (2011, Egmont) and Kensuke’s Kingdom (1999, Egmont).
References and CVs from Morpurgo’s time working as a teacher, plus documents from his time as an army cadet at Sandhurst.
Michael Morpurgo, A Lifetime of Stories will run at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books from Saturday 2nd July 2016 – June 2017, and will then tour Nationally. A digital exhibition will be available via www.sevenstories.org.uk from Monday 5th September 2016. Michael’s digitised archive will also be available to view via www.sevenstories.org.uk/collection from 1st July 2016.
The Savage, a new stage play for Live Theatre, Newcastle
by Carnegie Medal-winning author David Almond
Tuesday 28th June 2016
Carnegie Medal-winning author David Almond is adapting his uplifting illustrated novel The Savage for the stage, in his first full length commission for Live Theatre. The play has its World Premiere at Live Theatre, Newcastle, between Thursday 30th June to Saturday 23rd July 2016.
The Savage is a contemporary fable about creation and renewal, wildness and civilisation and the importance of creativity in making us whole. The novel is popular for reading in schools and also used discuss behaviour with young people.
David Almond, said: "It's a real thrill to be working with the great Live Theatre, to bring this story to vivid life in Newcastle, right on the banks of the river. Tyneside is my literary heartland. It's where my stories, my dreams and my language come from, and it's where the strange, scary, tender savage was born."
The Savage is a family friendly play suitable for ages 9+ with music, movement and eye-catching visuals that will appeal to young people, families and adults alike.
Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre said: "It's great to have a writer of David's quality and reputation writing for Live Theatre. I'm very much looking forward to bringing David’s play to fruition moulding his rich lyrical writing with music and beautiful settings that will appeal to a wide age range of audience.”
In the play, Blue Baker wants to write a story. After the death of his dad and to escape the unwanted attention of Hopper, the neighbourhood bully, Blue imagines a ‘truely wild’ character - full of anger, adventure and thoughts of revenge. Life is dark and complicated and so is Blue’s story. Helped by his friend Elaine, his mum and baby sister Jess, he tries to discover where life starts and the story ends.
The Savage it is an uplifting contemporary fable about creation and renewal, wildness and civilisation. It shows the importance of creativity in finding consolation, redemption and fulfilment in the world around us.
The Savage has been commissioned to coincide with the launch of Live Tales, Live Theatre’s new writing centre for children. This new strand of Live Theatre’s education programme is an extension of its successful playwriting initiatives for young people. Live Tales will offer creative story writing sessions to pupils aged 7-12 from September 2016.
Max Roberts added: “David’s enthusiasm and support for Live Theatre has been enormous. We have commissioned The Savage to mark the opening of Live Tales, our new children’s writing centre, of which David is a champion.”
A series of events accompany the play including two free talks for audiences. In Live Tales Introduction, David Almond will discuss the importance of children’s writing and creativity, with Christina Castling from Live Theatre’s Education & Participation team, and discuss the plans for children’s writing centre Live Tales, of which he is a champion, following the 2pm performance of the play on Saturday 9th July. In a Meet the Writer Event David Almond and Director Max Roberts discuss the making of the play, and transforming the story for the stage, after the 7.30pm show on Tuesday 12th July. David will also be available for book-signing after this talk. Both events are free but booking is essential. David will also lead a Wild Writing Workshop between 11.30am and 1pm on Saturday 16th April, at Live Theatre. Participants will be encouraged to lose their writing inhibitions and explore their imagination to discover their inner wild writer. The Wild Writing Workshop costs £10, £6 concs and is suitable for young people age 9+ and adults.
For school groups a free 90 minute Telling TalesWorkshop is available for groups visiting daytime performances of the Savage at 2pm on Wednesday 6th July, 10.30pm on Tuesday 12th July, 1.30pm at Tuesday 19th July (also a captioned performance) and 10.30pm on Thursday 21st July (which is also designated as a relaxed performance for young people with special educational needs). Workshops have limited places and must be booked in advance.
Tickets for The Savage cost £22-£10 full price, £16-£12 over 60s concessions and £15-£6 for other concessions. For more information or to book tickets visit www.live.org.uk or contact Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232.
CLPE has launched the Power of Pictures website, the outcome of an Arts Council funded project where ten talented picture book creators worked with primary school teachers to develop their understanding of the craft of picture book creation as a way of raising children’s achievement in literacy.
The impact of the Power of Pictures project on teachers' approach to picture books, as well as their pupils' attitudes and writing, is clear.
An independent two year evaluation of this three year project found that picture books offer powerful new learning for teachers and children. Using picture books at the heart of the literacy curriculum across the primary age range supports learning about structure in narratives, developing children’s independence and confidence as well as their understanding about the ways in which pictures and words link. (Project Evaluation by independent evaluators Dr Sue Horner and Janet White).
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “Reading and creating picture books is a complex process requiring intense reading and writing stamina. Visual literacy is not an obvious part of the National Curriculum yet it offers such rich learning in terms of extending children’s inference, deduction and knowledge of well-crafted narrative structure. The Power of Pictures gives teachers the tools to understand this process from the perspective of the professionals who create the texts.”
The project findings and website were launched at a major national conference which included a keynote presentation through drawing from Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and workshops led by award winning author/illustrators Ed Vere, Alexis Deacon, Viviane Schwarz and Benji Davies.
Author/illustrator and Power of Pictures Artistic Mentor, Ed Vere said: “This is a tremendously important project and it has been such a privilege to be involved in it. Every school in the country should hear about this because it transforms writing and attitudes to writing – for children and for picture book creators.”
Teachers can experience the Power of Pictures through the website which houses short films from illustrators including Ed Vere, Alexis Deacon, Viviane Schwarz, Benji Davies, Chris Haughton, David Lucas and Tom McLaughlin alongside a range of specially developed teaching materials and resources. It is free to use and encourages sharing of ideas, hosting visual examples of work from the Power of Pictures in real classrooms.
CLPE supports teachers to help children become fluent, capable writers who understand the power and purpose of writing. As a result of the Power of Pictures project we will ensure that schools and teachers understand that the creative process, combined with the time, space and opportunity to think and plan with words and pictures, has a tremendous impact on children’s writing outcomes.
Reader's Book Review of Little Legends Plus Fantastic Giveaway!
Tuesday 3rd May 2016
Tom Percival has been drawing since he's been able to hold a pencil, and making up stories for as long as he can remember, in fact, probably longer, especially as his memory is not what it once was! Basically, he's been making things up his whole life and he's not about to stop any time soon.
His latest book series, Little Legends, sees lots of favourite fairy tale characters embark on adventures together. Little Legends are perfect for young readers between the ages of 6-10 years old. We sent one of our reviewers, Lilly (7), the first two books in the series and here's what she thought...
The main characters in the stories are Jack, Anansi, Betsy, Red, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel. They all have been in their own fairy tales before.
Betsy is a talking chicken but she can only say, 'What!', which I think is so funny!
One day, Jack sees Anansi having a secret meeting with a troll. He thinks Anansi is a troll and has to break the troll spell. Trolls are bad. Jack finds a sea witch called Lily who can grant him wishes, but he has to steal the magic he needs to save the day.
In the next adventure, The Great Troll Rescue, Jack and his friends are captured by a wicked witch. Red has to save the day this time as there are a lot of people the wicked witch has kidnapped!
Both books are very funny, enjoyable and easy to read. I think boys and girls will like reading them. My mum and dad liked me reading the stories to them as well. I like reading Horrid Henry and Jeremy Strong books as they make me laugh, and these books made me laugh too. I've taken the books to school for Show and Tell as they are so good to read, everyone should read them. My favourite book is The Spell Thief because of the characters Jack and Betsy. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Little Legends: The Spell Thief (Book 1)
Written and Illustrated by Tom Percival
Published by Macmillan Children’s Books
Win a copy of both Little Legends: The Spell Thief and Little Legends: The Great Troll Rescue thanks to Macmillan Children's Books!
We have 3 sets of Little Legends: The Spell Thief and Little Legends: The Great Troll Rescue up for grabs. To win a set all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post and we'll pick 3 winners at random on Wednesday 11th May 2016. Good luck!
Giveaway Terms & Conditions
Only one comment per entrant
Comments must be made on this blog post between 3rd May 2016 and 10th May 2016
Delivery is for both books to one UK address only
Schools, parents and young writers are welcome to enter
3 winners will be selected at random on 11th May 2016 and announced the same day
Winners' will need to supply a UK delivery address, which will be passed to Macmillan Children's Books so their prize can be posted
The prize is 3 x sets of the first 2 books in the Little Legends series: Little Legends: The Spell Thief and Little Legends: The Great Troll Rescue. The prize is as stated. There is no cash alternative
Employees at Young Writers/Bonacia and Macmillan Children's Books/Panmacmillan are not eligible to enter. Neither are their relatives.
YoungMinds have just launched their #LifeOnTheWeb cartoon competition. The winners will receive a range of prizes from the London Graphic Centre, and their work will be published in national media and as part of YoungMinds' next youth campaign, which launches this summer.
To enter, applicants are asked to submit a cartoon, comic strip or 5-10 second animation showing their experience of coping with life online.
The cartoons – which can be funny, serious, quirky or thought-provoking – can be about social media addiction, gaming, obsession with phones, FOMO, the need to be camera-ready, cyberbullying or the difference between their artist's online and offline world. Anything, in fact, about the pressures that young people face in the online world.
The competition will be judged by the cult online artist Rubyetc, illustrator and author Mike Medaglia and a panel of YoungMinds activists. It’s open to young people up to age 25, and closes at 5pm on 26th May 2016.
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