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Hull’s Big Malarkey Festival Set to Return this Year

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Preparations are underway for the return of Hull’s much-loved family festival, The Big Malarkey.

The Big Malarkey Festival, from Hull Libraries, will bring together well-known authors and illustrators alongside local artists, creators and makers in a careful, considered and socially distanced way to showcase the wonderful world the city’s libraries offer.

Hello World is the theme for this year’s festival, which will once again take place in East Park, with the return of the Big Top and Little Larkeys tents alongside new tents including Beautiful Planet, a place to reflect on nature and the environment.

Sessions inside the different tents will be complemented by the usual host of outdoor and pop up activities, with families reunited with new and familiar faces, including storyteller Ian Douglas, and Grimm & Co, Apothecary to the Magical World.

Wheels are in Motion for The Big Malarkey Festival 2021. Photo credit: Jerome Whittingham, Photomoments.

The full line-up will be announced after the Easter break and will include children’s illustrators Chris Wormell (Philip Pullman’s Book of Dust series) and Maisie Paradise Shearring, and author Dan Freedman, creator of the popular Jamie Johnson books.

Established during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017, this year’s festival will open on Monday 21 June with an action-packed virtual school programme, which will this year take place over five days, followed by an imagination-inspiring public programme of live events for families to enjoy on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June.

Ellen Bianchini, festival director, said: “We’re all so excited to be reunited in person with families this summer and we’ve been working hard to find a safe way of delivering the festival. It might feel a bit different from previous years, but we’re confident that we can offer the same quality experience that families have enjoyed in the past.

“After the hardships of this last year, we all need a bit more fun in our lives so the programme we’re creating is, more than ever, centered around playfulness, discovery and simple joys like listening to live music.”

Available exclusively to Hull Libraries Schools Library Service Schools, more than 2,500 students will take part in workshops with award-winning authors and illustrators including Winnie the Witch illustrator Korky Paul, who will run a drawing workshop for KS2.

In-person sessions at schools will be led by a range of local and national artists including Hull Truck Theatre, James Nicol, Middle Child Theatre, Makerspace team, puppet artist Liz Dorton, paper engineer Alex Bennett, Early Years theatre makers Mud Pie Arts and clown-actor Andy Ross.
The school’s programme will also include the KS2 and KS3 James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “The Big Malarkey is about books and stories, yes, but it’s also a festival of ideas and imagination with performances, creative workshops, and storytelling.

“The festival seeks to encourage creativity, confidence and the joy of discovery through offering opportunities to meet and work with authors, illustrators, artists, thinkers and scientists. We’re very excited for its return this year, it’s the tonic we all need.”

Since The Big Malarkey Festival began in 2017 it has attracted nearly 20,000 people to enter Malarkey Park.

Further information on tickets and guidance for audiences will be published over the coming months.

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