Story time delight at Peterborough’s Central Park as thousands enjoy new festival

Storytelling Festival at Central Park Alfie Giddings (2) meets a giant fox EMN-171208-194757009
Storytelling Festival at Central Park Alfie Giddings (2) meets a giant fox EMN-171208-194757009
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Story time came to Central Park on Saturday with popular fairy tales and puppet shows helping to develop a love of reading among children.

The first Storytelling Festival was the final act of a 14 month Arts Council funded project to improve literacy rates in three areas of the city - the Central area, Bretton and the Ortons.

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194301009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194301009

The festival attracted approximately 3,000 people throughout the day with a whole range of different storytellers keeping the children - and adults - enthralled.

Elaine Wilkinson, reading development manager at Vivacity, which put on the event, said: “It was hugely successful. It was the first time we did this sort of family festival and we exceeded the numbers we were expecting.

“We’ve had quite a bit of feedback from the families and it was all positive. A lot of families came when it opened and stayed all day with picnics.

“They said they would like the same thing to happen next year.”

Storytelling Festival at Central Park  Princess crown makers Polly Roberts, Ben Reynolds and Page Ferrier EMN-171208-194708009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park Princess crown makers Polly Roberts, Ben Reynolds and Page Ferrier EMN-171208-194708009

Acts on the day included Teddy and Otto, a fox and otter who carried relics from fairy tales, puppet shows from Rambling On and the Theatre of Widdershins, numerous workshops and The Whale by Talking Birds, which children could walk inside and hear stories from a sailor.

Paul Jackson, Marion Leeper and Tilly the Tale Spinner were also around to delight children with their stories.

Noni Yunus, secretary for Friends of Central Park, said: “I attended the Vivacity event and it was extremely well attended with lots of children and big children (parents) enjoying the sunshine and the event.

“It was an excellent idea and very well received by all. It was colourful, musical and gay - a perfect afternoon.”

Storytelling Festival at Central Park Kat Cashman with Haydn Thongphay (6) EMN-171208-194745009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park Kat Cashman with Haydn Thongphay (6) EMN-171208-194745009

The literacy project may now have ended, but Elaine believes it has proven a success and will benefit children for years to come.

She added: “The aim behind it was to engage families and children with literacy and reading through the creative arts. We targeted three areas of deprivation and lower literacy.

“We are hoping it will make children realise how much fun reading can be and teach families what activities they can do at home to keep the culture going.

“The more they read the better they do at school and life.”

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194313009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194313009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194415009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194415009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194428009

Storytelling Festival at Central Park EMN-171208-194428009