Launch of new “Falcon” creative festival for children at Holt Hall

Falcon, a new festival aimed at letting children's imaginations soar, is preparing to take wing in north Norfolk thanks to some 30 creative professionals who are giving their services for nothing.

The one-day event at Holt Hall on June 9, will see storytellers, musicians, artists, authors and scientists gather to help celebrate and stimulate the creativity of children up to high-school age.

Visitors will be able to take part in indoor and outdoor workshops as well as watch and listen to a range of performances, and the event will also feature stalls, refreshments and a den-building competition.

Although launched on a shoestring, organisers hope Falcon - which stands for Festival of Arts and Literature for Children Of Norfolk - will become an annual and growing attraction on north Norfolk's events calendar and they have already pencilled in a three-day festival next year.

They also hope Falcon artists will forge links with schools and help provide 'curriculum enrichment' throughout the year.

'There is never a good time to start such a venture and we went into this in innocence and ignorance,' said Falcon chairman, poet, creative writer and former teacher Phil Barrett, from Holt.

'Yet it seems not only worthwhile but enormously important, in this current climate with its emphasis on targets, testing, and assessable criteria, to be getting off the ground a venture which recognises the need of more, not less, opportunities for children to discover the importance of creativity and the ability of their imagination and hands.'

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Mr Barrett, 59, said he had left teaching after 27 years because he became tired of the restriction on creativity and focus on marking and assessment.

'They have their place - but children only remembered the grade you gave them and not how exciting the work was,' he said.

Other creative people taking part include Suzanne Arnold, a performer with people and puppets, writer and animator Hedley Griffin, body and face painter Catriona Finlayson, musician Jonathan Lambert, authors David Bedford and David Mason, and artist Mike Bignold who is a bird of prey specialist and will be helping children to draw from a live model, lent by the Seal and Bird Rescue Trust, based in Ridlington, near North Walsham.

Adults, who must accompany children, will be entitled to free entry with children's tickets costing �5 in advance, from Holt Tourist Information Centre, or �10 on the day. Activities will take place from 10am-8pm.

Falcon's patron is the acclaimed children's writer, poet and translator, Kevin Crossley-Holland.

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