Hay Festival unveils schools programme with Kay and Lucas

Hay Festival unveils schools programme with Kay and Lucas

The Hay Festival has unveiled its free programme for schools, bringing writers and young people together online for a series of interactive activities and workshops featuring Matt Lucas, David Baddiel, Adam Kay and more.

This year's events will run from 24th to 28th May, ahead of the main festival programme, which kicks off on 26th May.

Five sessions will be broadcast daily for pupils across Key Stages 1-4, with each event accompanied by free teaching materials and active learning activities, available to view live or on replay throughout, along with the festival’s full programme for schools archive, part-funded by the Hay Festival Foundation.

All events will be captioned in Welsh and English and compered by either Welsh poet Anni Llŷn or writer and presenter Radzi Chinyanganya.

For KS1 pupils there is performance poetry from Joseph Coelho, outdoor adventures with Michael Holland, timely tips on how to change the world with Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Simon Mole and fun with Maria Vegara.

KS2 pupils will be invited to get creative in events with Matt Lucas, to go on location with Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Abi Elphinstone, join Robert Winston as he explores the world of science with Jess French, and to take part in conversations with Patience Agbabi, Zanib Mian, Alex Wharton,  Adam Kay, David Baddiel and Konnie Huq.

Finally, KS3 and KS4 pupils can join events led by authors, poets, illustrators and performers, exploring important issues for young people to consider today, from the environment and sustainability to inclusivity, wellbeing and the importance of reading for pleasure. Guests include Benjamin Dean, Robert Muchamore, Liz Kessler, Phil Earle, Liz Hyder, Manjeet Maan, Jeffrey Boakye and Lisa Williamson, and Patrick Ness on screenwriting.

The festival has also released two digital Beacons Project workshops aimed at emerging writers aged 16 to 18. Bafta, Olivier and Tony award-winning screenwriter and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" playwright Jack Thorne will discuss the adaptation of Phillip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, produced by Bad Wolf and Screen Alliance Wales. Acclaimed Welsh poet, author and playwright Owen Sheers leads students through a creative writing workshop inspired by and filmed in the landscape of Wales.

Aine Venables, Hay Festival education manager, said: “In a year of enormous challenges for young people and schools all around the UK, we’re pleased that our new digital formats enable us to bring writers and young people together in sessions that can inspire and entertain. Our free Programme for Schools and Beacons Project workshops aim to meet that need with vibrancy and joy. Everyone is welcome. Join us.”

Parents, teachers and young people can register for the free sessions now on the festival website. While the main festival programme will not be announced until the end of April, plans include kicking off with the inaugural Hay Festival opening-night gala on 26th May.