I had a magical day of wonderland adventures recently. Each year Oxford celebrates one of its favourite literary daughters with Alice’s Day, a festival of theatre, art, stories and general silliness that takes place throughout the city. As we’re closed this year, we couldn’t join in on the day, so we decided to do something special in the run up.
Along with the Story Museum, Christ Church cathedral and Blackwell’s, the Museum has created the Alice Team… or A Team! Our mission is to show Oxford’s children what an inspiring city they live in, tell them tales of Alice in Wonderland and help them create something fit for an imaginary world. With this year’s Alice’s Day theme set as nonsense, we created a project called Dodo Loco.
Dodos may be extinct, but we certainly tracked a few down on our hunt around Christ Church. Children from Larkrise, East Oxford and St Ebbe’s Primary Schools joined us for an exciting behind-the-scenes trail, visiting special spots like the rooms where Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson, or Dodo Dodgson) lived, and the lawn where the real Alice (Alice Liddell) played croquet.
Along the way, they tracked down nonsense words dotted around the college and cathedral. Once we were fired up and had soaked up the atmosphere of Alice in Wonderland, we all marched over to the Story Museum for the next stage of our Alice adventure.
The 120 children (and the A Team members) were treated to a spectacular nonsense poetry workshop by the fabulous Michael Rosen. He got everyone laughing and moving as he performed some of his own poems; my favourite was Hand on the Bridge and I really recommend watching this video for a glimpse of his style. Then, using the words gathered around Christ Church and lots of ideas from the children, he created some more hilarious nonsense poetry, before handing over to the children themselves.
I must admit to being enormously in awe of Michael, so it was great to see how patient and warm he was towards the children and even the adults! He joined my group for the tour around Christ Church, which was both exciting and quite nerve-wracking! He was great, though, joining in with the activities and even telling me a few extra stories about the Alice in Wonderland characters. Here I am with Michael, enjoying another inspiring story.
More Dodo Loco updates coming soon!
Rachel Parle, Education Officer