Review: Wordpool Story Safari

Wordpool Stanley Park 2015

On Saturday the sun was shining in Blackpool and for the families who went to Stanley Park they may have been surprised to see some strange and unusual creatures roaming around.

Wordpool’s Story Safari took over the park with performances, storytellers and workshops, which saw children and adults of all ages get involved. Wordpool had defiantly stepped up its game for this year’s family day with even more events and activities then previous years.

So I, with my young niece and nephew in tow, set out for this storytelling safari. With ice creams in hand our first stop was the bandstand and a performance of Chicken Licken by DNA Theatre. Engaging and fast paced this half hour performance held the young crowds attention and the piece seemed well suited to the outdoors. Fun and silly at times it was a show that left many adults as well as children smiling.

The path from the Italian Gardens down to the clock tower was the prime place for animal spotting. Giant pigeons, a poorly hippo and a T- Rex were roaming around casually whilst crowds gathered to look and take pictures. There were screams of delight and terror as the T-Rex stomped around the clock tower with his dinosaur handler. For myself they were most certainly screams of terror; I’ve seen Jurassic World.

The excitement and buzz of the Italian Gardens seemed far away from the relaxed almost serene Rose Gardens. Where you could sit and make crafts which ranged from binoculars to your very own creature creation, all seemed well attended, well-staffed and had lots of resources for all the participants.

Also in the Rose Gardens the Fylde Coast Youth Dance Company performed amongst the flowers their own animal stories. For young people the performance they delivered was very good. Whether it was the heat, music or beautiful gardens the piece seemed to have mesmerising effect. One must applaud this young dance company’s choice of costume from dark colours to burnt orange and flowing fabrics that reminded me of my own experience living in rural Lesotho, Africa.

Wordpool is all about stories so it seemed only fitting to end the day with Dan Worsley sharing his story of the Blackpool Poolie. Ex- school teacher turned storyteller Dan shared his tale with children and adults alike of a creature who lives in the Irish Sea by Blackpool called the Poolie. There was a boat chase, a misunderstood monster and lots of tentacles. The story was delivered by Dan with the enthusiasm and suspense needed to keep a crowd where the average age was four on tenterhooks for the whole half hour. Dan delivered the story with enough conviction for even myself to wonder if maybe, just maybe there may be a humongous creature with tentacles lurking just off the coast.

Whether families came to be thrilled or relax Wordpool this year seemed to have a lot on offer and I, and my niece and nephew, were almost as tired as if we had been on a real safari. We will have to wait another year to see what Wordpool comes up with next but for now head down to the beach because I’m pretty sure I just saw something with tentacles in the sea.

Images courtesy of CJGriffiths Photography.

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