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Author David Almond joins the Juice Festival team as artistic advisor

The man behind the multi-award-winning Skellig and so many more stories besides has been helping to curate this year's children's festival

Richard Kenworthy Juice Festival Art Jam artwork by Inkie Juice
Juice Festival Art Jam artwork by Inkie Juice

Award-winning author David Almond, whose novels include Skellig, Kit’s Wilderness and The Fire-Eaters, has joined the Juice Festival as artistic advisor.

The multi-arts festival for children, young people and their families will once again take place during the October half-term (October 24 – November 2), featuring work created and performed by children and young people, as well as work by regional, national and international artists which has been created with young people in mind.

David Almond has played a key role in shaping this year’s festival, which includes a series of special events inspired by some of his most popular books.

Five Ring Circus, a regional youth circus from the North East, will be presenting their own interpretation of David’s book, The Boy who Swam with Piranhas.

Taking place at Discovery Museum, Newcastle, The Fantastic Fairground of Fishy Feats (October 29 and 30) will use the themes and characters from the story to create a brand new piece of circus theatre, which owes much of its costumes, choreography and storyline to a group of creative young people.

Meanwhile Théâtre Sans Frontières, one of the region’s leading theatre companies, will be performing a new play based on David’s popular book, Heaven Eyes on October 28 and 29.

The company have worked with him on the adaptation of the story, which tells the tale of three children who flee an orphanage, down the River Tyne, only to be rescued by a strange girl with webbed hands and feet named Heaven Eyes.

This will be the first time a stage version of this book has been performed.

Other events at Juice Festival inspired by the author, who has a cabinet of accolades to his name including the Carnegie Medal, Whitbred Children’s Book Award, the Smarties Gold Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Author Award, include The Big Juice Read at Newcastle City Library and Gateshead Central Library, on October 28 where young performers and designers will help bring to life The Boy who Swam with Piranhas in two activity filled events celebrating the book.

Another event inspired by David’s work will see a team of young writers from New Writing North premiering a poetry film based on his writing about the River Tyne.

Journeys Down the Tyne will explore the weird and wonderful themes from David’s books and what lurks deep down inside the Tyne.

And, not afraid of the Festival front line, David himself will perform readings from some of his books in a special event at St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Gateshead on October 31. The reading will also include an exclusive preview of some of his latest writing.

Carol Bell, head of culture and major events at Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and producer of Juice Festival, says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with David Almond on this year’s festival. His work has brought an invaluable creative vision to the programme and we’re delighted to be honouring it throughout the festival.”

In addition to events inspired by the festival’s new artistic advisor, Juice 2014 will also offer its expected raft of performances, workshops and events designed and delivered by children and young people.

Northern Stage’s First In 3, on October 29, will see a special evening of young people’s theatre and arts at Northern Stage, organised by a team of young curators.

The ever-popular Just Jam will return for its seventh year on November 1 and 2 as Dance City and Bad Taste Cru host another action-packed weekend of hip-hop culture and breakdance featuring some of the world’s greatest B-Boys and B-Girls.

Budding dancers can learn everything from House to Poppin’ and Lockin’ at a series of masterclasses and workshops.

But if you’d rather just sit back and enjoy the mind-boggling action, there are two stand-out performances from some of the greatest B-Boy and B-Girl talent in the world to choose from.

While Jam & Juice will showcase hip hop dance theatre, Just Jam International One-on-One Battle will pit some of the world’s best dancers against each other in an epic all day dance battle.

Another jam-soaked return comes in the form of Inkie, who is one of street art’s biggest names. He (real name Tom Bingle) will be showing off his considerable skills at the free-of-charge Art Jam on October 25 where young people will be invited to work with him on a piece of work to enhance the CoMusica arches behind Sage Gateshead.

Carol adds: “Juice Festival attracts visitors from across the region, and the country, and it does an amazing job of showcasing what families and young people can enjoy here in Newcastle Gateshead.

“Beyond 2014, Juice Festival will become a national portfolio organisation by Arts Council England this year ensuring we can continue to provide a world-class festival for children and young people through to 2018.

“We couldn’t do that without the continued support of the cultural sector and Juice Festival partners in Newcastle Gateshead and the wider region who have been on our journey from the beginning.”

* Juice – Newcastle Gateshead’s festival for children and young people takes place from Friday, October 24 to Sunday, November 2. It is once again being sponsored by the Port of Tyne as part of its commitment to arts, community and enhancing opportunities for young people.

For full details of all the events taking place at this year’s festival, visit www.juicefestival.co.uk from September 8 onwards. Tickets for all events will go on sale in September. Keep your eyes on the website, follow @JuiceFestival on twitter and like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/JuiceFestival.NG to keep up to date with announcements.


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