Storystock is novel way for families to spend half-term

It’s developing into a children’s literary festival to rival the book bonanzas enjoyed by older readers.

Storystock returns to the Bush Theatre at half-term, with a host of book-based activities across three days which are guaranteed to appeal to even the youngest page-turners.

A travelling circus of stories will entertain primary school-age visitors to the H&F Council-supported theatre at 7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush, from February 17-19, with live readings, a series of creative interactive workshops and theatre performances based on favourite books and characters.

“We want to make books and the theatre as accessible as possible to local families,” said Storystock co-founder Nathalie Bristow, who also works as the events manager for the Bush Theatre.

“Something was missing from other literary festivals in London. I’ve got four kids so I know! So we needed a local one, which became Storystock in 2012. It’s had a strong following since.”

Each day the programme features a musical storytelling show, the Myth Marathon, a puppet version of a Shakespearean classic and A Pocketful of Grimms, all introduced by the storymaster.

There will be pop-up author signings and competitions, and in spare moments youngsters will also be able to enjoy a doodling cafe of delights and the Mad Hatter's tea party.

At 9.30am each day there’s a creative writing workshop for an hour and a half up in the attic, to hone youngsters’ skills, explain the wonders of similes and adjectives, and eventually produce a performance.

At 11am, younger children can enjoy a Gruffalo tale, and celebrate other Julia Donaldson favourite characters.

Then at 2pm there’s a chance to join Caractacus Pott’s science workshop up in the theatre attic, and dabble in some hands-on experimenting, including seeing what happens when a magician pulls a tablecloth off a fully laden table.

The Secret Garden musical storytelling show in the theatre’s auditorium is a new show by Music House for Children inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale about a girl who discovers the key to a magical walled garden.

Tempest in a Tea Cup is a puppet version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest for younger audiences, and follows on from a puppet-making class led by the cast.

Aimed at children from two to 11 and their families, Storystock’s individual event prices start at £4. The event is sponsored by Angels & Urchins magazine.

Storystock launched at the Bush in 2013, and has been steadily building an enthusiastic audience ever since.

Tickets are on sale at the Bush Theatre box office, 7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush, or from the box office on 020 8743 5050.

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