Write on Festival

on

Monday

Story Cubes

Today Upper II and Lower III took part in a workshop for the Write On Festival! We started the morning by creating an art journey; we collaborated to create images and drawings based on a story! We also had help from the Upper III Art Scholars – it was lovely to see familiar faces. 

During the afternoon, we selected our favourite elements from our drawings in the morning session and created story plans. From here we developed our ideas from paper to clay models. The air dry modelling clay was soft and easy to manipulate. 

It was brilliant to see so many funny, bright characters coming to life across both Upper II and Lower III. We were also challenged to create origami boxes for our characters to live in. 

Mr Lockhart from the Senior School is going to be scanning our clay models and using the 3D printer to produce plastic versions.

Journalism Workshop

Today students were visited by Lucy Denyer, Deputy Editor of the Telegraph Magazine, as The Abbey’s Write on Festival kicked off in style. Lucy was able to offer advice about ways in which students can adapt and improve on their journalism skills.

Journalism is not just about writing – crucially it is about researching and asking the right questions too, and the workshop was a great opportunity for students to do just that.

Thanks to Lucy Denyer for her time today.

Tuesday

Poetry Cafe Junior School

As part of this week’s Write On Festival, Lower I – Lower III students enjoyed a poetry cafe run by Miss Mulvenna during lunchtime yesterday. 

They had a go at writing all different styles of poetry, some of them created acrostic poems and Danielle from Upper I created a poem all about The Abbey School. There were Mother’s Day poems, and others thought about themes of kindness and nature. 

Students loved having time to relax with friends, write their own poetry, and as a special treat, have some squash to drink! 

It was fantastic to see children from all year groups supporting each other and sharing their passion for poetry. The room was full of positivity and laughter, and we hope this has inspired students to pick up their pens and start writing!

We very much look forward to the rest of the week’s festivities and the Junior School writing competition! 

Poetry Cafe – Senior School
Acclaimed poet Daljit Nagra MBE performed at the Write On Festival on Tuesday evening. Our hosts were Vic and Zannah from Stanza who are behind Reading’s popular ‘Poets’ Cafe’ at South Street Arts.

During an evening of  jazz music, poetry readings and student conversation, Daljit explained how his poems reflect the noise and energy of his early life growing up in a working class area near Heathrow with parents who moved from rural India. Referencing the characters and voices in his work, he said how he wanted to ‘tell the warts and all stories and make it fun too’. Daljit’s accomplishments include Chair of the Royal Society of Literature, BBC Radio 4 Poet-in-Residence and Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University.

With Daljit’s work featuring on the GCSE English Literature syllabus, the evening will be sparking new conversations in classrooms and corridors.

Our thanks to Poet’s Cafe and South Street Arts and our special guest Daljit Nagra

Jazz band and Jazz quartet performance 

On Tuesday evening, as part of the Write On Festival, we received a visit from the amazing poet, Daljit Nagra, and as part of the evening live jazz music was performed. We kicked off the evening with the jazz band playing some classics including Chattanooga Choo Choo, Stand By Me, the themes from Wipeout and Ghostbusters, my personal favourite, amongst many others. It was a great way to set the mood of the evening and entertain the audience as they walked in, as well as a really fun experience for everyone in the jazz band.

Following this, the poetry began and we listened to some interesting insights into Nagra’s poetry from the poet himself. After that the music resumed with an interval performance of more jazz music from the jazz quartet put together for this event.

We played some great pieces including At Last, Feeling Good and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. This was a great way to continue the relaxed feel of the evening whilst everyone took a quick break before we heard some live poetry readings from students. I really enjoyed performing in the quartet with Lebone as an amazing vocalist and it was a great experience. Overall, the evening was an amazing event that I was really happy to be a part of.

Wednesday

A panel of expert news and sport journalists joined the Write On Festival at The Abbey, to give students a real-life flavour of working in a newsroom environment. Students chose from a carousel of workshops in sports commentary, post-match reporting or documentary scripting, gaining real-life and hands-on experience of being a journalist.

Journalist, podcast producer and author (and Abbey alumna) Jo Jolly led the documentary workshop, focussing on ideas, characterisation and jeopardy. She said that ALL the ideas generated would be commissioned if taken to a BBC Commissioner. 

Producer of live sport programmes and commentator with BBC Sport and BBC Radio Berkshire, Rita Green, led the noisiest of the workshops, leading students through the preparation and delivery of live action sports commentary. Students even got to practise commentating on a Reading FC Women’s match.

Meanwhile next door, students wrote a post match report with Sports Reporter and Women’s Sport Specialist at PA Media, Rachel Steinberg. Working from post match interviews with the manager and players of Reading FC Women, striking reports were compiled, balancing emotions and facts..

Thanks also to the Marketing and Media Manager of Reading FC Women, Mitch Parris for supporting both sport workshops.

Takeaway top tips: tell stories of people; paint pictures; and use personality and passion to communicate.

Thank you to our panel of expert guests and to students from The Abbey, Reading School and Kendrick School.

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