Thousands of families and young people came to Chester’s annual WayWord Festival this February half term in Chester Town Hall and in the region’s libraries.

The festival, produced by Chester Performs, drew to a close on February 19 after seven days of events hosting children’s television stars, authors, illustrators, coders, scientists and mathematicians in Chester Town Hall which was transformed into a family friendly adventure landscape.

There was also a programme of free arts and craft activities across the borough’s libraries.

A paper plane workshop which was held as part of the Chester WayWord festival this week. Picture by Mark Carline
A paper plane workshop which was held as part of the Chester WayWord festival this week. Picture by Mark Carline

Artistic director of Chester Performs, Alex Clifton, said: “This year’s WayWord had more youngsters taking part than ever, with workshops that saw local children create everything from Minecraft computer code and stories with amazing characters to corrugated finger puppets, printed bags and family dens.

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“WayWord week is the best: it’s such a joy to look around the Town Hall, seeing it transformed into a hive of colourful activity with so much learning happening under the guise of fun.

A glimpse of past methods of creating stories formed part of one of the activities during the Chester WayWord Festival. Picture by Mark Carline
A glimpse of past methods of creating stories formed part of one of the activities during the Chester WayWord Festival. Picture by Mark Carline

Highlight events included the chance to see an original WWII Enigma Machine straight from Bletchley Park, a face to face encounter with the Clangers and the Soup Dragon, a day dedicated to storytelling led by Gav Cross in his amazing inflatable digital story tent, and an exploration of the science of Star Wars and Harry Potter.

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Children were encouraged to hand in stories, poems, pictures and photos and there was an impressive array of specially made films entered into the WayWord Film Challenge which was judged by the festival goers and its online audience.

Fans of The Clangers, old and new, were well catered for during the Chester WayWord Festival
Fans of The Clangers, old and new, were well catered for during the Chester WayWord Festival

The whole festival was immortalised by the festival Illustrator, children’s picture book author Daisy Hirst. A gallery of her drawings is available at www.chesterperforms.com/literature/festival-illustrator/ along with photos of the week.

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To find out more about the WayWord Festival visit chesterperforms.com/literature.

The Chester WayWord Festival isn't just about watching and listening - it's about doing too!
The Chester WayWord Festival isn't just about watching and listening - it's about doing too!