A festival dedicated to a book that has become a global movement, celebrating language and nature, is to open this month at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre.
The Lost Words Festival will be hosted by Northumberland National Park Authority from Saturday 25th January to Wednesday 22nd April. The book is a collaborative project between best-selling author Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris; 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 a range of special events. The exhibition will explore a series of 20 poems by Macfarlane, accompanied by 50 of Morris’ 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 is the natural location for the festival, having been built to engage people with landscape, culture and nature in new exciting ways.
The festival’s events will be based in and around The Sill, to bring the Lost Words to life. Events will include craft workshops, poetry, walking trails, lost dialect workshops, and immersive performances by the Told In Gold theatre show.
A Big Garden Bird Watch will take place on Sunday 26th January; and Lost Crafts on Sunday 16th February, where participants can discover lost Northumbrian crafts at this hands-on workshop, including whistle making and spoon carving.
There will also be a Needle Felt Workshop with House of Grace and Daisy on Saturday 29th February, where you can create your own miniature Northumbrian wildlife. The Northumbrian Lost Words Poetry Workshop will take place on Saturday 7th March, with a performance by local poet Katrina Porteous based around the Northumbrian Landscape, and featuring a Northumbrian Piper.
Interactive theatre production The Lost Words: Told In Gold, on 28th and 29th March, will use music, dance and audience participation to ignite a love of the natural world within young minds.
Visitors will be able to blow away the winter cobwebs with a tuneful celebration of nature and a chance to stretch the legs in a spring walk based around The Sill on Monday 4th April.
Animation Workshops will take place at The Sill on 7th and 8th April. People of all ages and abilities are invited to join animators from the Haltwhistle Film Project and National Park Ecologist Gill Thompson, to learn how different birds fly and create their own animated film of a bird flying across the Northumberland countryside.
There will also be a comprehensive schools programme, including interactive storytelling sessions, and an artwork competition inspired by landscapes or The Lost Words.
When: 25th January – 22nd April 2020
Where: The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, Bardon Mill, Hexham NE47 7AN
£: Ticket prices for events vary.