Coming up trumps as a venue again, Hull Central Library allowed Heads Up Festival to stage a take over of its Children’s Library, with Likely Story and Kirsty Harris transforming this usual den of books into The Story Yard, a place where, for young participants, there are no rules and no limits on imagination.
Families from Hull were the latest audience members to enter The Story Yard for Almost Always Muddy, an interactive, improvised world where seemingly everything and anything is possible.
Welcomed by The Story Yard Keepers, audiences are introduced to the Yard as a place of play, and young story builders are handed mallets and pegs and instructed to build a place where stories can happen. As they build, shifting around pallets, ropes, nets and all manner of ‘junk’, the first elements of the story that will unfold start to take shape – future towns, extravagant dens, spooky cities, magical kingdoms. As an entire world is created, young people give suggestions about where this might be and what could take place here.
Meanwhile, grown ups get their own task – and are whisked to a hidden location to fulfill their secret story mission, which will all come as a surprise to the youngsters later.
Midway through this brilliant fun, with it clear that everyone present is prepared to take risks with building and their imaginations, the building stops and the Story Yard Keepers take what the audience have suggested and created and improvise an adventure, with live music, live making and special effects, the result being a very unique experience for the group of people in Hull who were willing to take a giant leap into the unknown.
Almost Always Muddy allows children to explore their own limitations and reminds parents not only of the need to play but of the importance of allowing young people to (safely) explore risks, and that life, not just shows as important as Almost Always Muddy, is full of potential, possibility, story and adventure.
Special thanks to Michelle Alford and her team at Hull Central Library for making this event possible and allowing us to disrupt another weekend in the Children’s Library.