North Norfolk pupils get creative

Holt Primary School teacher Bonnie Stocker and some of her pupils share animal-themed stories with F

Holt Primary School teacher Bonnie Stocker and some of her pupils share animal-themed stories with FALCON arts organisation founder Phil Barrett, who is leading a £12,000 art, music and poetry project at five north Norfolk Schools. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Children at five north Norfolk schools will have a chance to compose music, create sculptures and paintings and hone their poetry-writing skills, as part of a £12,000 arts project culminating in a series of summer exhibitions and concerts timed to coincide with the Holt Festival.

Run by children's arts organisation FALCON, the scheme will see professional artists and musicians run workshops and concerts in primary schools at Holt, Gresham, Langham, Overstrand and Roughton.

Taking inspiration from the orchestral work Carnival of the Animals, by 19th century French composer Camille Saint-Saëns, youngsters will work on animal-themed art and poetry projects which will go on show at local libraries.

Working with professional musicians from a London-based chamber orchestra, they will also create a piece of music, which will be showcased at a concert at St Andrew's Church, Holt.

Carnegie Medal-winning poet and children's author Kevin Crossley-Holland, who is a FALCON patron, will also be supporting the project, by hosting an awards evening celebrating participating children's art and poetry.

Funded by grants from the Arts Council, Holt Festival the Norfolk Arts Fund and FALCON, with support from local businesses and individuals, the project was the idea of FALCON founder Phil Barrett.

Since setting up the organisation with a team of artists and writers in 2012, Mr Barrett has run creative writing workshops at 33 Norfolk schools, as well as hosting workshops for adults at nine north Norfolk venues.

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The not-for-profit group has also staged children's events including readings, performances and arts festivals, and hosted regular fundraising concerts for adults featuring professional classical musicians.

Mr Barrett, who retired to north Norfolk after 27 years as head of art at the Purcell School for young musicians, Hertfordshire, said the Carnival of the Animals project, which kicks off next month, aimed to inspire youngsters and 'raise aspirations through creativity'.

'What we wanted to do was to reach out to children who perhaps don't have creative opportunities, and we thought the best way of doing that was to come in to schools,' he added.

Holt Primary School head teacher Simon Walters hoped the scheme would help 'bring the curriculum to life' and lead greater understanding of the arts among pupils.

He said: 'We are always keen to provide as many 'extras' as possible and this hits all the right buttons – from encouraging writing and reading aloud, to an appreciation of music.'

For more information about FALCON, and the Carnival of the Animals project, visit