Belper Arts Festival spreads its wings with weekend line-up

Nansy Ferrett and Sue Devine, of Baba Lula Arts.
Nansy Ferrett and Sue Devine, of Baba Lula Arts.

Belper Arts Festival will spread its geographical wings when it pops up in two very diverse locations this weekend.

Two free workshops will take place at the Belper Children’s Centre, on Alder Way, on Saturday. Book Magic is a new initiative to introduce children to books with fun and play, while Rhythm and Stomp offers a chance to create a piece of music with everyday items.

Both are run by Baba Lula Arts, otherwise known as Nansy Ferrett and Sue Devine.

Nansy and Sue will pop up again on Sunday when they feature at the free event, The Big Book & Poetry Day, in the marquee at Shottle Hall from 10.30am-4pm.

Book Magic will again feature alongside Build a Song, a chance for visitors to write a song by using random words.

The finished song will be performed by Nansy and Sue who, in a different guise, are two thirds of the accapella singing group Red Ruff.

“We are passionate about children and literacy,” said Sue. “It is so important that children have access to books from a very early age and Book Magic does that with the added bonus of fun and play. It’s very rewarding to see kids come back to our classes time after time.

“Staging the workshops at weekends is giving us a chance to reach out to people who couldn’t normally come along. It’s very exciting. And we get the chance to make a lot of noise with “Rhythm and Stomp”! We’ll have all sorts of everyday bits and bobs that will make a noise and I guarantee everybody will end up laughing.”

Nansy and Sue will be giving away children’s books at both the Belper Children’s Centre and Shottle Hall events.

“People have been very generous and that enables us to pass that generosity on,” Sue added. “We’ve had support from the town council and through Erik Johnsen at Amber Valley Council. We’d like to take Book Magic to an audience outside Belper.”

The free Big Book and Poetry Day in the marquee at Shottle Hall on May 17 will feature a performance by Derbyshire Poet Laureate Helen Mort at 11am, followed by Book Magic with Nansy and Sue between noon and 1pm, and Belper’s first ‘Human Library’ from 1pm to 3pm - a worldwide movement aiming to challenge prejudice and stigma.

Open mic poetry will be encouraged throughout the day, along with chances to meet the authors and make your own poem.