Beat boredom this February at the Wayword Festival

Beat boredom this February at the Wayword Festival

From 20 – 24 February 2017, Chester Town Hall and libraries across Cheshire will once again be awash with activities and events as authors, illustrators, musicians, scientists, coders and stand-up comedians come together to make up the festival’s most interactive line-up ever. 

Aimed at primary school children seeking to beat boredom during the week’s school holiday, WayWord consists of a wonderfully diverse set of events and workshops featuring a host of talent. 

Liverpool writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce will be on hand with an alternative explanation of what happened to the first dog in space, and delving further back in time, another best-seller, Jeremy Strong will reveal the new book in his Romans on the Rampage series – Chariot Champions. Kate Pankhurst will look back through history at Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, including her ancestor Emmeline Pankhurst. 

Younger WayWord fans will be able to help author and illustrator Steven Lenton to search for a lost panda as he brings his book Let’s Find Fred? to life, and meet director, writer and illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson as she introduces a brand new CBeebies animation plus her latest picture book Are You Sitting Comfortably? Festival illustrator Daisy Hirst will also be around to record the goings-on and host workshops on puppet making, bag printing and drawing brand new characters. 

Ever popular Elmer the Elephant will be here in a wonderful performance and another favourite picture book – The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch – will also be brought to life in a play by Pied Piper Theatre Company. Those who would rather be on stage, rather than in the audience, can sign up to put on A Play In A Day. 

Stand-up comedy is usually an adult affair but at WayWord there is a chance for budding comedians to do a workshop with comics Bec Hill and Tiernan Douieb. They will also take to the stage with their child-friendly stand-up routines.

Maths enthusiast Katie Steckles will explore the amazing properties of shapes and in a treat for sports and science fans, writer Ben Lyttleton will use football as a starting point to explain the world of science as he discusses his book Football School. 

 In what has now become a tradition, WayWord will dedicate a day to building dens, as Cathy Cross, ‘professional den builder’, returns to lead unique workshops. Storyteller Gav Cross is also back with his inflatable pop-up story room that perfectly sets the scene for his wonderful tales for all ages.

 Music comes to the fore as WayWord workshops give youngsters the chance to write their own theme tune, pick up how to dance hip hop style, and learn how to play the drums. For those who want to relax, there will be a day of sessions with children’s yoga expert Janice Wong. 

 In addition to these events, free craft activities take place all day Monday 20 – Friday 24 February in Chester Town Hall and there are also some free workshops, including ones on Digital Storytelling and Light Box Animation. 

 Free WayWord craft activities are also taking place in the following libraries throughout Cheshire West during the weekday mornings of half term: Chester, Blacon, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Neston, Northwich, Upton, and Winsford. 

 WayWord is once again generously funded by long-standing supporter The Philip Barker Charity.

 Artistic Director of Storyhouse, Alex Clifton said: In this momentous year for Chester, as we prepare to open the doors to the borough’s brand new theatre, cinema and library, we are delighted to welcome families back to Chester Town Hall for a week of creating, imagining and learning…. This festival showcases the kind of participation and excitement that Storyhouse will be able to provide the whole year round. It will be a great week and it will herald a great year for the youngsters of Chester and Cheshire West. 

 Tickets are £4. Book for three or more events and save 10%. Some workshops and activities in the libraries are free. Find out more and book at