The North Recommends: Curious Arts

Founded in Newcastle Gateshead in 2016, Curious Arts celebrates and explores Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Culture through the arts. Working in partnership with arts, culture and community organisations, every year in July we produce award-winning Curious Festival across the North East of England.

This summer during Curious Festival 2019 we produced and toured our first original work, Spectacular Drag Storytime, directed by Ruth Mary Johnson. Storytelling theatre for children aged 3 to 7 and their families, Spectacular Drag Storytime invites everyone to story time at Ben’s grandparents’ house. A place where storybook adventures break the norms and imagination is unlimited!

We’re thrilled to be bringing Spectacular Drag Storytime to Durham Book Festival this October with New Writing North, here is a sneak peek at some of the stories waiting to be told*…

Elmer by David McKee

David McKee’s Elmer is a classic and in its 30th anniversary year it had to be part of Spectacular Drag Storytime.

30 years after its publication, the elephant herd’s celebration of difference still resonates, combined with its colourful illustrations and Elmer’s cheery optimism it’s still up-there on our list of go-to storytime reads!

Its been a delight to hear from the children at storytimes what Elmer is all about, whether its celebrating our individuality, playing practical jokes or simply…elephants.

Suitable for ages 3-5

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Illustrated by Henry Cole

A picture book based on the true story of Roy and Silo – two male penguins who tried to hatch a stone together at Central Park Zoo.

Exploring love, acceptance and adoption, the story follows Roy and Silo’s journey into parenthood aided by Zoo Keeper Mr Gramzay.

As Author Peter Parnell states, the story truly “celebrates family coming in all forms”, something we were keen to explore through Storytime, giving visibility to families beyond the nuclear. During Storytime Ben brings the penguins’ story to life through puppetry, inviting us all to celebrate the new family together.

Suitable for ages 2-5

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Tom, Illustrated by Wai-Yant Li and Kai Yun Ching

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea follows Miu Lan, a child born between night and day, when both the sun and the moon are in the sky. A magical child who can change into any form they can imagine, Miu Lan must navigate their first days at school where the children repeatedly ask “Are you a boy or a girl?”.

A beautiful story of acceptance and the bond between parent and child, its illustrations are just as magical as the text in portraying its message of self-belief. Our Storytime cast and Director were so inspired by its musicality, they turned the ending into a song that closes the show.

Suitable for ages 3-8

Join Ben and a special guest for Spectacular Drag Storytime at Durham Book Festival on Sunday 6 October.

Find out more about Curious Arts:
Facebook: @teamcuriousarts
Instagram: @curious_arts
Twitter: @CuriousArts

*Books read during Spectacular Drag Storytime rotate on a regular basis.