What is literature but storytelling and what is storytelling but performance? Highlights of last year’s Manchester Literature Festival prove just that. Old and new books are brought to life by their authors, actors and children – the main audience at the Family Reading Day – themselves.
From the highlights video one can see how well the festival communicates what literature is really about, how the written words create an experience that extends to the readers’ lived experiences. A good example is offered by the presentation of Tom Palmer’s books on themes of football – something that most children can enjoy through relating the story to their personal experiences of hitting the ball. The latter was recalled on the day as the kids were exclusively able to do it inside Manchester’s town hall.
Other authors read their books out, taking on the voices of characters as they have imagined them to be – the video starts with one such performance from the very entertaining Juliet Clare Bell who introduces her book The Kite Princess.
Going into full scale performances, Theatreworks Arts Lab and Oldham Theatre Workshop show literature in its most performative on stage with decorations, sycnhronized movement and… ice cream.
To sum everything up most succintly, the University of Salford students who are the authors of this fantastic video get brief comments from representatives of CBeebies who note that ‘it is so important to keep books alive, especially now when you have so many other things like computing, iPads and telly’.
I could not agree more and after watching the video below, it seems like it is possible :)
Manchester Literature Festival: Family Reading Day, 21st October 2012
text by Kati Jagel