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Pop Up Festival brings books & stories spectacularly to life through a packed programme of imaginative events, activities & art-works created especially for Pop Up by writers, illustrators, poets & storytellers. Our last free,  world-class events for children of all ages popped up in Shropshire, Essex & London in Spring 2014. We are not currently planning any festivals for 2016 – but stay tuned for more information on future plans!

Have a look at our albums from past festivals:

first Festival, 19 April 2014, Coalbrookdale, Shropshire

second Festival, 3 May 2014, Purfleet, Essex

third Festival, 12 & 13 July 2014, Swiss Cottage, London

Pop Up festival 2014 programme & poster


2012 Pop Up Festival

In our new site of Granary Square, King’s Cross the second festival drew 6,500 visitors to a total 90 hours of free arts experiences. Highlights included: Laura Dockrill’s Dahl’s Dazzling Dreams, featuring hilarious performances by characters from Roald Dahl’s books; James Mayhew co-creating a gallery of famous paintings with hundreds of children; Candy Gourlay’s Filipino-themed Fiesta! involving a local children’s brass band, game shows, and bamboo dancers; Marcus Sedgwick’s performance inspired by his best-selling vampire novel, My Swordhand is Singing; Sarah McIntyre’s comic convention, with ‘drawing duels’ between brilliant comics artists; Nii Parkes’s invigorating mixed-bill of song and dance, storytelling and illustration; Hervé Tullet’s collaboration with local children and parents to install play-sculptures across the festival site; and Society for Storytelling’s packed programme of world story-telling. Authors Francesca Simon, Adam Stower, Sita Brahmachari, Sarwat Chadda and Rod Campbell of Dear Zoo entertained in The Guardian Bookshop.

Candy Gourlay – novelist and film-maker – curated a Filipino-themed ‘Fiesta’ featuring a local children’s brass band, children’s authors in game shows, and – as a finale – a troupe of bamboo dancers. Explore her website here.

Candy Gourlay

Hervé Tullet – leading French artist and illustrator – collaborated with local children and parents, and fine art students from Central Saint Martin’s, to create a series of play-sculptures across the festival site. Explore his website here.

Hervé Tullet

James Mayhew – illustrator and author of the famous Katie picture books – invited hundreds of children to create a gallery of famous Monet, Van Gogh, Turner and Mondrian paintings throughout the day in his ‘Pop Up Picture Pavilion’. Explore James’s website here.

James Mayhew

Laura Dockrill – performance poet and children’s author – designed a ‘Roald Dahl Experience’ featuring hilarious performances by characters from Dahl’s books, original songs and dance music. Explore Laura’s website here.

Laura Dockrill

Marcus Sedgwick – acclaimed novelist – recreated parts of his best-selling vampire novel, My Swordhand is Singing, as a site-specific performance featuring a cast of actors, singers and shadow puppetry. Explore his website here.

Marcus Sedgwick

Nii Parkes – poet and author – curated a mixed-bill of song and dance, storytelling and live illustration with a host of dazzling artists, their performances all linked by the motif of ‘the circle’. Explore his website here.

Nii Parkes

Sarah McIntyre – comics creator and children’s illustrator – presented a children’s comic convention where children learned how to make their own comics, featuring a series of ‘drawing duels’ between some of the best contemporary comics artists in London. Find Sarah’s website here.

Sarah McIntyre

Society for Storytelling – our first curating organisation – presented a jam-packed programme of world story-telling. Explore their website here.

Society for Storytelling

2011 Pop Up Festival


Our first ever free festival attracted 5,000 visitors to historic Coram’s Fields, The Brunswick Centre and Curzon Renoir in Bloomsbury. Highlights included: Mice Up Da Place with Rastamouse creators Michael De Souza and Genevieve Webster; Axel Scheffler’s live drawing show; Philip Ardagh’s House of Illusions, a phantasmagorical Victorian world of magical mystery and illusion; Catherine Johnson’s Nest of Vipers, an 18th century tavern serving stories to customers; Geraldine McCaughrean’s troupe of actors creating brand new myths;  Karin Littlewood and friends enchanting audiences in Immi’s Igloo; a Moomin Tea Party with guests Peter Rabbit and Spot the Dog; and Michael Rosen and the Homemade Orchestra performing a fantastical feast of music and poetry to end the festival.

Catherine Johnson – novelist and screenplay writer – recreated an 18th century tavern from her book The Nest of Vipers, where her troupe of story-tellers told stories – and lies! – throughout the day. Explore Catherine’s website here.

Catherine Johnson

Geraldine McCaughrean Carnegie Medal-winning author of Peter Pan in Scarlet accompanied by actors, scenery and sound effects, created a performed story over five hours, inviting the audience to contribute to the narrative throughout. Explore Geraldine’s website here.

Geraldine McCaughrean

Joelle Taylor – poet and director of SLAMbassadors UK at the Poetry Society – staged a live line-up featuring dozens of emerging, established and outstanding poetry, spoken word, beatbox and rap artists over two festival sites. Explore the SLAMbassadors’ website here.

Joelle Taylor

Karin Littlewood – illustrator and author – transformed the world of her picture book Immi into a giant igloo where Immi came to life, and where dancers from The Place, storytellers and illustrators delivered performances, music and art-making activities. Explore Karin’s website here.

Karin Littlewood

Michael De Souza & Genevieve Webster co-creators of Rastamouse – entertained hundreds of children with their unique Jamaican-patois storytelling style, then – with a steel band and carnival artists – developed a themed carnival event involving the children. Explore the Rastamouse website here.

Michael De Souza & Genevieve Webster

Michael Rosen – prolific poet, author and former Children’s Laureate – created a mixed bill of art, magic, performance and music, and featured adaptations of his poems performed with jazz band The Homemade Orchestra. Explore Michael’s website here.

Michael Rosen

Philip Ardagh – Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning author – created a ‘House of Illusions’ incorporating an upside-down Victorian living room, children’s authors, puppetry, magicians and mime artists. Explore Philip’s website here.

Philip Ardagh

Vayu Naidu storyteller – worked with local Somali Women’s Speakers Group to create a series of stories informed by their culture, which members of the Vayu Naidu Company performed throughout the day. Find their YouTube channel here.

Vayu Naidu

Supported by

  • bloobberg
  • King's-cross
  • European-Diversity-awards