Sunday 17 April 2016

Richard III for Kids at ArtBeat

Every year for two weeks in June the whole of the Clarendon Park area of Leicester is taken over by the ArtBeat Festival. The festival includes all kinds of art based activities. This year I've been asked to organise a session called Richard III for Kids.

I have, over the last year and a half, visited many schools to promote my Children's Book of Richard III. Each visit involved me standing up in front of the children and talking about my book but this presentation is going to be very different. Dr Richard Buckley, Director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, will be taking part. He is going to explain how they discovered Richard III's body and he has told me about some fascinating props that he intends to bring with him.

Traditional costume from Wikipedia
I am also very excited to report that we are creating a whole new dimension to the Richard III story. Richard's final day and the Battle of Bosworth will be depicted in the Indian dance style of Bharat Natyan.

Last week I met up with Nimisha Parmar for a first rehearsal. It is going to be amazing. Nimisha uses Mudras (hand gestures) in her story telling and she will be dressed in the traditional costume of Bharat Natyan.

Richard has a grand open-armed gesture. Lord Stanley has folded arms and drumming fingers. Henry Tudor's journey across the sea is depicted by a swaying body and waving arms. The marching, the flag waving, the fighting; all have distinct gestures. As I watched Nimisha's rehearsal my mouth fell open in admiration. The next rehearsal is going to include a drummer. I can't wait.

My contribution will be to tell of how a King's body came to be under an office car park in Leicester but I think I'd better 'up my game', create some exciting props, or I shall be well and truly overshadowed by my co-presenters.

You can find out more about the ArtBeat Festival on their Facebook page and this is the link to the information about our presentation. If you're in the area on June 24th, I look forward to seeing you at Avenue Road School from 4.30 until 6 pm. (I will, no doubt, mention this again nearer the day.)