A festival dedicated to a book that has become a global movement celebrating language and nature is to open later this month at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre.
The Lost Words Festival will be hosted by Northumberland National Park Authority from the 25th January – 22nd April 2020. The book is a collaborative project between renowned best-selling author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris, it was devised after a 2016 survey found eight-year-olds were more able to identify species of Pokémon than species of common UK wildlife.
The festival will consist of a dedicated exhibition, organised by Compton Verney, at The Sill, along with an education programme and entertaining events. The exhibition explores a series of 20 spell-binding poems by Macfarlane, accompanied by 50 of Morris’ beautiful watercolours. Aiming to revive and uncover the near-lost magic and strangeness of nature that surrounds us, Lost Words conjures back words all but lost from the vocabulary of children – such as acorn, bramble, lark, weasel, willow and wren.
The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre was the natural location for the festival, having been built to engage people with landscape, culture and nature in new exciting ways.
The festival’s enchanting events will be based in and around The Sill, to bring the Lost Words to life. This will include craft workshops, poetry, walking trails, lost dialect workshops, and immersive performances by the Told In Gold theatre show.
Events during the festival will include:
- Big Garden Bird Watch, The Sill, Sunday 26th January
- Lost Crafts, The Sill, Sunday 16th February – Discover lost Northumbrian crafts at this hands-on workshop, including whistle making and spoon carving
- Needle Felt Workshop with House of Grace and Daisy, Saturday 29th February – Create your own miniature Northumbrian wildlife.
- Northumbrian Lost Words Poetry Workshop, Saturday 7th March – Performance by local poet Katrina Porteous based around the Northumbrian Landscape featuring a Northumbrian Piper.
- Interactive theatre production, The Lost Words: Told In Gold, 28th and 29th March – Through music, dance and audience participation, The Lost Words: Told in Gold theatre production aims to ignite a love of the natural world within young minds.
- Spring Sing and Stroll from The Sill, 4th April - Blow away the winter cobwebs and welcome the summer with a tuneful celebration of nature and a chance to stretch the legs in a spring walk based around The Sill.
- Animation Workshops at The Sill, 7th and 8th April – Join animators from the Haltwhistle Film Project and National Park Ecologist Gill Thompson to learn how different birds fly and create your own animated film of your chosen bird flying across the Northumberland countryside. The workshop is open to all ages and abilities.
There will also be a comprehensive schools programme, including interactive storytelling sessions, and an artwork competition inspired by landscapes or The Lost Words. Artist Jackie Morris said: “It’s great to see The Lost Words exhibition continuing its tour after two years. It has been in towns, cities, a country house, botanical gardens and National Parks. It’s wonderful to see it hosted in Northumberland National Park, in this wild place, surrounded by so many of the things the book celebrates.”
Rosie Thomas, Director of Business Development at Northumberland National Park Authority said: “It has been a dream of Northumberland National Park to host The Lost Words since the opening of The Sill. We are committed to connecting people with landscape and cultural heritage and this book and exhibition do this in such a magical way. We’re proud to have the opportunity to create a festival around this shared ethos and develop such an exciting programme of events to share with the public.” For more information on events and to book tickets, please visit www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/whats-on