Thursday, October 28, 2010

Children's Theatre at Christmas in London

At artsdepot…Catching Father Christmas3 December – 2 JanuaryAmy is staying up late to catch Father Christmas. What she doesn't realise is that on Christmas Eve, there are plenty of others in her house with the same idea. Can our young heroine save Christmas and get back to bed in time? Venue: artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley, N12 OGATickets: £10/£8 conc / £32 family ticketBox Office: 020 8369 5454 /
At Half Moon Young People’s Theatre…The Sleeping PrincessSat 18 DecemberOnce upon a time, in a fairytale world, meet a Princess who fell into an enchanted sleep... This Christmas at Half Moon, a fast-moving retelling of the classic fairytale featuring beautiful puppets and integrated British Sign Language. For ages 3-7. Tickets: £6Box Office: 020 7709 8900 /
At Little Angel Theatre…Alice in Wonderland20 November – 30 JanuaryOn a lazy summer’s afternoon Alice whiles away her time. Little does she know that a great adventure is about to begin… Join her as she encounters the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts, in this puppetry adventure. For age 5+.And for younger children…Hold on Mr Rabbit! is especially for 2-5 year olds. Tickets: £5 - £13, previews £8, family £42Box Office: 020 7226 1787 /
At the Lyric Hammersmith…Snow Play2 December – 2 JanuaryLyngo, makers of Egg & Spoon and What a Wonderful World, return to the Lyric with a delightful interactive new show all about playing in the snow. This magical wonderland will even give you the chance to get crafty and make your own festive treat. Ages 2 – 7. A Lyngo and Lyric Hammersmith Production.Tickets: £8 adults, £6 children, family £25Box Office: 0871 22 117 29 /
At the New Diorama Theatre…Granny’s Christmas Journey30 November – 23 DecemberIt is that time for family getting together but for Granny Onie this is not so simple. A silly argument, all that time ago with her daughter, threatens to put a dampener on what should be a happy occasion. Determined to put things right, Granny Onie sets out on a journey to make things better. For children 3 to 5 years old and grown ups.Tickets: £6Box Office: 0844 2090 344 /
At Polka Theatre…The Snow Queen19 November – 5 FebruaryMike Kenny’s new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved fairy tale will take you on a journey through icy landscapes this Christmas as you enter the magical world of The Snow Queen. For ages 7 – 11. And for younger audiences…Lost and Found is for age 0-5Tickets: £8 - £16Box Office: 020 8543 4888 /
At Stratford Circus…The Night Before Christmas 7 - 11 DecemberA magical tale about a young girl waiting excitedly for Christmas morning, and a little mouse on a quest to ask Santa Claus why only humans get presents. A wonderful festive treat for families and school groups. For ages 3 +Tickets: £6Box Office: 0844 357 2625 /
At Unicorn…Beauty and the Beast4 December – 23 JanuaryBelle Brizzlewink has a fierce temper, but is pretty handy with a trowel. When her father meets the terrifying Beast, he is forced to trade his daughter for his life. Will she and the savage Beast be able to tame one another? For ages 7+Tickets: £19 / £13 conc, previews £9, family £54Box Office: 020 7645 0560 /
Arts Depot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley N12 0GA
Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, 43 White Horse Road E1 OND
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage N1 2DN
Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, London, W6 0QL
New Diorama, 15 - 16 Triton Street, Regents Place, London, NW1 3BF
Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB
Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, Stratford, London E15 1BX
Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, SE1 2HZ

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eva Ibbotson

You can read a further obituary of Eva Ibbotson in the Scotsman written by one of Carousel's editors, Valerie Bierman

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eva Ibbotson obituary

The children's author Eva Ibbotson died on Wednesday at the age of 85 at her home in Newcastle, it has been confirmed. She was best known for the Amazon adventure tale Journey to the River Sea, winner of the Nestlé children's gold award and shortlisted for the Carnegie medal, and for her funny, magical stories for younger children, including The Secret of Platform 13 and The Great Ghost Rescue.
Ibbotson was nearly 50 when The Great Ghost Rescue was published – a degree in physiology at Cambridge having been swiftly followed by marriage and a primary focus on creating a stable home life for her four children – but she soon secured a fanbase of young and old for her tales of eccentric witches and friendly ghosts.
She was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal for Which Witch? the story of a wizard looking for a wife, while Dial-a-Ghost describes how Fulton Snodde-Brittle comes unstuck when he tries to hire some "frightful and dangerous ghosts" to scare his young nephew to death. The Secret of Platform 13 features a mysterious platform at King's Cross station that leads to another, magical world. Published in 1994, three years before JK Rowling's Harry Potter set off for Hogwart's from King's Cross's platform 9¾, the book's possible influence on Rowling has occasionally been raised, though never by Ibbotson herself.
A self-confessed "happy endings freak", she expressed some bemusement at trends for darker children's fiction and her books always reassured young readers that good would be rewarded and that spoilt brats and greedy grown-ups would get their comeuppance.
The historical novel Journey To the River Sea marked a new direction for Ibbotson. Featuring a fearless but sensitive orphan girl in a vividly described Amazon setting, it was written after the death of Ibbotson's husband of 49 years when the author felt too sad to write another funny story. It enjoyed both critical and commercial success and set Ibbotson down a path of alternating what she called her "rompy books" with longer, well-researched historical novels for a slightly older age group. The Star of Kazan was set in Vienna, the city where Ibbotson lived until the age of seven, while The Dragonfly Pool paid homage to the progressive boarding school, Dartington, to which she was sent after a period being shuttled between her separated parents.
Ibbotson described this period of her childhood as "cosmopolitan but unhappy" and she attributed to it her desire for happy endings in which her characters always find a home. She explained in a recent interview, "my mother wrote film scripts and worked in Berlin and my father was a scientist and worked in Edinburgh and my grandparents lived in Vienna and I was always on some large train going about and wishing I had a home. So when I came to write, consciously or unconsciously I always had to make things right for the hero or the heroine".
Ibbotson's third strand of writing was light historical romances for adults, including The Secret Countess and Magic Flutes. These sold better in America than in the UK but in the last few years were repackaged for teen readers, to Ibbotson's surprise.
Although she had battled poor health in recent years and was suffering from the auto-immune disorder lupus, Ibbotson continued to write. The most recent of her "romps", The Ogre of Oglefort, was published just a few months ago and was shortlisted for the Guardian children's fiction prize and the Roald Dahl funny prize. "The thing you have to do is keep writing, the habit is too ingrained, you can't stop," she said at the time.
• Eva Ibbotson, children's author. Born 21 January 1925, Vienna Austria. Died 20 October 2010, Newcastle England.

with thanks to The Guardian website 22.10.10

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Public Libraries: Joint Statement

The Value, Impact and Potential of public library services
Libraries matter to people! Even those who don’t use them regularly care about what happens to them because they recognise what they stand for; that they exist to ensure that everyone has access to the knowledge, scholarship, books and information they need to help them enjoy and make a success of their lives.
This joint statement about the value placed on library services by the public, is supported by a wide range of bodies and organisations including The Society of Authors, the Royal Society of Literature, the Campaign for the Book, Public Lending Right, the Booksellers Association, Voices for the Library, The Chartered institute of Library and Information Professionals, The Society of Chief Librarians, The Publishers Association, The Reading Agency, Unison and The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
If you would like your to add your organisation’s weight to this message, to help ensure it is heard by decision-makers at such a critical and challenging time, please email

Proposed Library Cuts

Nottinghamshire County Council said last week that it planned to cut its books budget by 75%, reduce opening hours, and reduce the frequency of mobile library visits. Councillor Cottee, who is responsible for Nottinghamshire's 61 libraries, told the BBC, that there was little choice but to reduce staff and opening hours because of the deficit crisis.

Friday, October 15, 2010

SLAMbassadors UK Championship

SLAMbassadors UK championship extends its deadline due to popular demand Launched in June this year, SLAMbassadors UK has been on the look out for some of the most exciting new performance poets aged 12-18 years old. It’s easy to enter and young people are being encouraged to simply write a poem or rap around the theme of Identity, film it and send to the Poetry Society. To make sure that as many young people take part in the championship as possible, the Poetry Society has been running workshops with leading performance poets in schools in London, Buckinghamshire, North Somerset, Liverpool, Shropshire and Manchester. With more schools than ever before signing up and poems flooding in, the Poetry Society has extended the deadline to Friday 10 December 2010 at 5pm. Remember any young person can enter – they do not need to belong to a school or to have taken part in one of the free workshops and there is now a bit longer to get your entries in! Street,London,WC2H 9BX
The deadline for receiving videos is December 10 2010. A panel of judges will select six winners from the online archives who will go on to attend a master class weekend led by SLAMbassadors Artistic Director Joelle Taylor and Adisa the Verbaliser. Here they will sharpen up their acts in readiness for a gala showcase event in London. You can see the videos that have already been entered at We are scouting out all 12 -18 year olds who have something to say, spit, rap or beat box on the theme of “Identity”. This is an amazing opportunity for young people to have their say in their way. SLAMbassadors UK is the only online slam competition. visit the website for details of how to enter. We want to make sure as many young people as possible from all around the UK take part in the championship and have the chance to appear on stage in a showcase event in London with leading performance poets.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indian Storytelling & Tribal Art Workshop 16 Oct

Indian Storytelling and Tribal Art Workshop
as part of the DSC South Asian Literature Festival
Date: Saturday 16 October 2010
Time: 11am – 12.30pm
Venue: Rich Mix, 35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
Price: £2 per child
Age Group: For children aged 6-8
To book tickets call the Box Office on: 020 7613 7498
Discover the art and folktales of the ‘Warli’tribal community of western India in this fun family storytelling and folk art workshop. Author and storyteller Gita Wolf will take children and parents on a colourful journey while reading from her book ‘Do!’ which is illustrated by Warli artists. The simple yet incredibly dynamic figures of Warli paintings tell stories of village life, myth and legend. They are like fluid pictograms, rendered in a way that children can relate to immediately. This workshop engages children actively with Warli art and will encourage them to create.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2010

Michelle Paver has won the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize with GHOST HUNTER, the final book in the best-selling CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS.

Announced this evening at a ceremony at the Guardian, Michelle collects the £1,500 prize for the only children's award in which authors are judged by their peers.

Julia Eccleshare chair of the judges said, “Whatever the individual judges thought about fantasy before they began Ghost Hunter – and some admitted to hating it! – they were immediately captivated by Michelle’s brilliantly created world, her wonderfully dramatic story and her powerful story telling. They loved the way she described the world she has been fashioning throughout the series saying, “The language is inventive and rich. Sharp and poetic but also child friendly”. They also adored her characters describing Wolf as “endearing” and the people as “real”. Finally, one summed Ghost Hunter up in terms of awe: “The construct of the world is amazing. I am jealous and impressed!”

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Big Draw

The Big Draw1st – 31st October
The Big Draw launched last Friday and runs right through October. It’s a chance for everyone to get drawing, from those who love to draw and those who think they can’t. There are over 1,500 events worldwide.
Join the House of Illustration for our first ever Big Draw event with the Hunterian Museum, or have a look at some of the other events across the country that have caught our eye…
The Big Draw: Illustrating the body (inside and out!)Saturday 9 October, 12noon–4pmHouse of Illustration is teaming up with the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons and the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain to put on its first ever Big Draw event.Specialist medical illustrators will demonstrate their expertise and be on hand to give tips and advice, while illustrator-led workshops will inspire visitors to try out their skills, inspired by the wondrous specimens in the museum’s collections.Free, drop-in event. All materials provided. Suitable for all!35-43 Lincoln’s Inn FieldsLondon WC2A

Not in London? Have a look at some of these events happening across the country and have a look at to find out what’s happening near you.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Half Term at the National Theatre, London

What’s on this half term
Prince of Denmark 14 – 26 October Set a decade before the action in Hamlet, this is a terrific first introduction to Shakespeare’s anti-hero. Actors from the National Youth Theatre and technicians from local FE colleges have been paired with NT practitioners to produce this specially-commissioned new play. Workshops are also available for families before the performance. Tickets £5 (£7.50 with workshop).
Theatre Skills for Families 27 – 29 October Practical half-term workshops for the whole family, led by the NT's team of experts. Includes Stage Combat, Making Monsters (to accompany Beauty and the Beast) and Make Your Own War Horse Puppet. Tickets £7/£10. Age 8 – 12. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults must be accompanied by a child.