The 'Traveling Tree House' hits Philly streets with free children's books

HAY Festival has revealed its free programme for schools for this spring’s edition, bringing writers and young people together online for a series of inspiring interactive activities and workshops.

The schools programme runs from May 24-28, ahead of the main programme running from May 26 to June 6.

Parents, teachers and young people can register for the free sessions now at hayfestival.org/schools.

Five sessions will be broadcast daily for pupils across KS1-4 with each event accompanied by free teaching materials and active learning activities, available to view live or on replay throughout, along with the festival’s full programme for schools archive, part-funded by Hay Festival Foundation.

All events will be captioned in Welsh and English and compered by either Welsh poet Anni Llyn or writer and presenter Radzi Chinyanganya.

KS1 pupils can enjoy performance poetry from Joseph Coelho, outdoor adventures with Michael Holland, timely tips on ‘How to Change the World’ with Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Simon Mole and fun with Maria Vegara.

KS2 pupils will be invited to get creative in events with Matt Lucas and his Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly Book of Pranks, go on location with Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Abi Elphinstone, join Robert Winston as he explores the world of science, explore the Earth’s Incredible Oceans with Jess French, and to take part in conversations with Patience Agbabi, Zanib Mian, Alex Wharton, Adam Kay, David Baddiel and Konnie Huq.

And KS3&4 pupils will find inspiration in dynamic events led by authors, poets, illustrators and performers exploring important issues for young people to consider today, from the environment and sustainability to inclusivity, wellbeing, and the importance of reading for pleasure. Guests include Benjamin Dean, Robert Muchamore, Liz Kessler, Phil Earle, Liz Hyder, Manjeet Maan, Jeffrey Boakye, Lisa Williamson and Patrick Ness on screenwriting.

The festival has also released two digital Beacons Project workshops aimed at emerging writers aged 16-18 at hayfestival.org/beacons-project, featuring a pair of acclaimed creatives: Bafta, Olivier and Tony award-winning screenwriter and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne discusses the adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, produced by Bad Wolf and Screen Alliance Wales, while acclaimed Welsh poet, author and playwright Owen Sheers leads students through a creative writing workshop inspired by and filmed in the landscape of Wales.

Aine Venables, Hay Festival education manager, said: “In a year of enormous challenges for young people and schools all around the UK, we’re pleased that our new digital formats enable us to bring writers and young people together in sessions that can inspire and entertain.

“Our free programme for schools and Beacons Project workshops aim to meet that need with vibrancy and joy. Everyone is welcome. Join us.”

While the main Festival programme will not be announced until the end of April, plans include an inspiring array of conversations, debates, workshops and performances online, kicking off with the inaugural Hay Festival opening night gala on Wednesday, May 26. Over the 11 days that follow, more than 200 acclaimed writers, global policy makers, historians, poets, pioneers and innovators will take part, launching the best new fiction and non-fiction and interrogating some of the biggest issues of today.

Hay Festival is supported by the lead sponsors Visit Wales and Baillie Gifford. While events are free to attend, donations to Hay Festival Foundation will be welcomed throughout at hayfestival.org/donate to secure the Festival for generations to come.

For more information visit hayfestival.org/wales.