Big Malarkey Festival is shortlisted as best in class for families in national Arts Council awards

Big Malarkey Festival
Big Malarkey Festival. Photo: Jerome Whittingham, @photomoments

Hull Libraries’ flagship festival The Big Malarkey has been shortlisted in the Fantastic for Families Awards for its outstanding contribution to family-friendly arts and culture.

At a time when Covid-19 has imposed significant limitations on the arts and cultural sector, the Fantastic for Families Awards celebrate the wealth of outstanding creative events and spaces for families across the UK. 

The Big Malarkey Festival is one of 13 nationwide organisations shortlisted for Best Family Event, an award which recognises the very best family events of 2019. 

It is one of only two Yorkshire events to be shortlisted in the category, alongside Yorkshire Dance’s Family Encounters Dance Festival. 

Since The Big Malarkey Festival began in 2017 it has attracted nearly 20,000 people to join in the fun at Malarkey Park. Hosted by Hull Libraries, the festival brings authors, illustrators, creators and makers together in Hull, showcasing the wonderful world the city’s libraries can offer. 

Ellen Bianchini, The Big Malarkey Festival Director, said: “While we sadly had to postpone this year’s Big Malarkey Festival, we’re really excited to have received this recognition from the Arts Council and to be shortlisted alongside other fantastic family events. 

“An idea brought to life by Hull Libraries, it was a long-held ambition to create an outdoor children’s literature festival encouraging reading for pleasure and celebrating literature. Established as part of Hull 2017’s Year of Culture celebrations, this year’s festival would have been our fourth festival. 

“Since then The Big Malarkey has grown in scale and ambition. It’s about books and stories, yes, but it’s also a festival of ideas and imagination.

“Reading and learning new skills is nourishment for the minds and our aim is to create a banquet of delights for all tastes and ages. From bite-sized performances and demos to fictional feasts by leading authors and illustrators – we want to create a buzz about reading and learning new skills as we inspire Hull’s future generation to appreciate that anything is possible!”

The Big Malarkey Festival  credit Jerome Whittingham @PhotoMoments
The Big Malarkey Festival 2019. Photo: Jerome Whittingham, @photomoments.

Taking place in Hull’s historic East Park, the six-day June festival takes place in a colourful, tented village where nationally acclaimed authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers appear alongside live performances – music, puppetry, theatre and dance. Bringing children face-to-face with their favourite authors and presenters in an intimate setting. 

Managed by the literature-loving team at Hull Libraries, librarians step out of the library into a fun-fuelled arena as children from the city enter a world of imagination in an innovative week day schools programme with families joining in the antics throughout the weekend. 

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “We know how much children and families enjoy The Big Malarkey Festival so to have this recognition from the Arts Council is wonderful news. Well done to the team at Hull Libraries for putting on such a fabulous family event. We look forward to its return next year.”

Anna Dever, Head of Family Arts Campaign said: “It has been fantastic to see so many brilliant cultural organisations take part in this year’s Fantastic for Families Awards. I hope that by highlighting the UK’s outstanding creative offering can help more families to discover more creative opportunities and connect with their local arts organisations.”

Ellen continued: “We’ve got more exciting news to follow hot on the heels of this wonderful announcement, so stay tuned!”

The shortlisted organisations include:

  • AsOne Theatre Company for Library Live
  • Big Fish Little Fish & The Horniman for Outdoor Family Festival
  • Cast and darts (Doncaster Community Arts) for The Cultural Playground – The Great Get Together
  • Circus250 for StrongWomen Science
  • Déda and partners for Full Moon Friday – Derby Festé
  • Hull Libraries for The Big Malarkey Festival
  • Liat and Co and Whitechapel Gallery for Bauhaus Baby Ballroom
  • Loud in Libraries for Liz Lawrence live in Widnes Library
  • Luca Silvestrini’s Protein for The Little Prince
  • Sonia Sabri Company for Lok Virsa at the Birmingham Hippodrome
  • Southbank Centre for Imagine Children’s Festival
  • Walthamstow Garden Party for Walthamstow Garden Party 2019
  • Yorkshire Dance for Family Encounters Dance Festival

[Rebecca Aspin – Home PR]