Such fun in Alice’s Wonderland world

The Doncaster Book Awards Alice in Wonderland Theatre Workshop.
The Doncaster Book Awards Alice in Wonderland Theatre Workshop.

IT LOOKED like Cusworth in Wonderland when a group of young book fans got together in Doncaster.

Dozens of children decked themselves out in Alice in Wonderland gear to take part in a day of activities at Cusworth Hall related to Lewis Carroll’s novel.

The youngsters donned costumes including the Mad Hatter, March Hare and the Cheshire Cat as they took part in the session, set up by the people who run the Doncaster Book Awards, to mark the awards running an award for children’s classics for the first time this year.

Children from nine schools took part in two sessions over two days, run by Talegate Theatre company, which led the activities and provided scripts, props and costumes.

Each day had a similar format, with the children doing some warm-up drama exercises, before being split into groups and working on scripts from one of several key scenes.

They practised throughout the morning and then, when it was time for the performance, each group performed in turn, so the pieces fitted together to tell the story.

The children also learnt a Tea Party song, which they performed together as a whole group to open each day’s show, watched by their parents.

Lyn Hopson, one of the book awards organisers, said: “It was a bit madcap, but great fun, and everyone enjoyed themselves, including the Doncaster Book Awards committee members!

“Alice in Wonderland has featured on our classics list this year and has been very popular with the children.” A total of 70 schools is participating in the awards this year, with the classics included for the first time, with a shortlist of six drawn up.

They are Alice in Wonderland, Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, Stig of the Dump, Wind in the Willows and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Mrs Hopson said the classics list was helping introduce children to some well-loved stories.

She said: “Schools are buying the books, and many already have them in.

“Some of the children coming in now may not be familiar with the classics, and that’s something we’re trying to address.”

The book awards are due to finish with a grand finale event, expected to be held in May, but not yet finalised.

They are an annual event with winners voted for by borough schoolchildren.