When lockdown dashed our plans to host story-making festivals for primary schools in London, we were desperate not to cancel. Instead, we decided to take the festivals to the children – virtually. After months of planning and creative development, we’re delighted to announce the launch of Mini-Shout! 2021! and ShoutWest! 2021.

Mini-Shout! 2021 launches on Tuesday 4th May and is a day-long festival of filmed content for 7-9 year olds (Y3 & Y4). We have 14 schools across South and Greater London participating, with up to 1,000 children set to take part.

ShoutWest! 2021 launches on Tuesday 11th May and is for 9-11 year olds (Y5 & Y6). We have ten schools in and around the borough of Hillingdon participating, with up to 1,000 pupils set to take part.

The festivals’ aim is to explore the process of creating a story and give young people the ‘tools’ they need: everything from finding ideas, asking the invaluable question ‘what if…?’ and exploring their ideas on the page. Fourteen of us have created and filmed sections for the festivals, sharing our expertise and knowledge. Schools will be able to screen the sessions and work ‘virtually’ alongside us. 

Creating our first virtual festival has been a steep learning curve with various challenges along the way but it’s been a joy to film and we can’t wait to share it.

Now that schools are open again, we’re planning to connect with our participants with live virtual visits post-festival. This is so they can share their festival work with us and get professional feedback and encouragement. As part of ShoutWest!, Hillingdon Libraries are hosting interactive live virtual events with CWISL authors and illustrators, encouraging connections between communities and their local library.

We’re indebted to our funders Arts Council England (Mini-Shout!) and Hillingdon Community Trust funded by Heathrow (ShoutWest!) who had faith in our projects and gave generous grants. This means we’ve been able to reach out to more schools and young people than ever before.  

The festival celebrates story-telling as well. We’ve teamed up with south London indie bookshop Tales on Moon Lane because ACE’s grant means we’ve been able to share some of the books written by us with the schools.

CWISL authors and illustrators taking part in Mini-Shout! 2021 and ShoutWest!:

Nicholas Allan, Margaret Bateson-Hill, Beverley Birch, Christian Darkin, Sara Grant, Mo O’Hara, Bridget Marzo, Jackie Marchant, Sarah Mussi, Karen Owen, Anne-Marie Perks, Sophie Plowden,  Loretta Schauer, Ally Sherrick, Andrew Weale.

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