Story time with a sequined drag queen is set to keep the kids entertained this half term at Dalston Children’s Festival Pride in the Park family picnic on May 26.
Queen Maxi More will tell tales of individuality, diversity and tolerance to inspire children to have self-confidence and embrace the differences between themselves and others.
Tales in Drag is part of a fast-growing international trend, although Wilton’s Music Hall in Whitechapel claims to be the first theatre in London to offer gender-bending storytelling for young children.
David Graham, Learning and Participation Manager at Wilton’s, said: “Wilton’s are so proud to have Tales in Drag as part of our Learning and Participation programme; it’s such a celebration of joy and uniqueness that reflects the stream of colourful, wonderful artists we have coming through our doors.”
Clitorice Allsorts, a London drag queen, told ELL: “I think events like this are great. It is a cliché, but children are the future, and educating them on all aspects of the world around them is so important.
“I think if you can make even one child leave the day to become a more tolerant and accepting adult, then it will have been a huge success. I only hope that this is the first of many similar events across London!”
The storytelling sessions are just one of the free activities at the Snake Park in Stonebridge Gardens, that celebrate the borough’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex plus (LGBTQI+) families, friends and allies.
The organisers encourage attendees to bring picnic food and a blanket, enjoy the sunshine, meet new people and participate in the games and other activities. There will also be an ice cream van, henna art, and face painting for the children and the young-at-heart.
Visitors will have the chance to find out how to become a LGBTQI+ foster carer or adoptive family in the borough. Information stands from organisations will be in place, including Gendered Intelligence, a social enterprise which delivers arts programmes and creative workshops for the UK’s transgender youth.
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, said: “The Pride in the Park family picnic is an opportunity for Hackney’s many diverse families to take part in the free activities on offer, make new friends and celebrate over the May bank holiday weekend.
“I’m looking forward to attending after last year’s successful picnic and remain proud the Council is organising inclusive events like this, that support the borough’s diverse communities and bring people together.”
When Glanville was a councillor for Hoxton West, he married his partner Giles McCrary at Stoke Newington Town Hall, just one minute after the change of law came into effect, at midnight on December 10 2014.
They became Hackney’s first same-sex couple, and one of the first in the UK to convert their civil partnership into marriage.
Last year Hackney council flew the rainbow flag over the Town Hall for the first time ever. At the same time, Hackney Pride 365 festival was launched to celebrate the borough’s ‘historic, diverse and boundary-breaking’ LGBTQI+ community.
It’s 1st Feb & start of #LGBTHM18 & new exhibition at @HackneyMuseum. Proud this yr to be flying the flag high above Hackney Town Hall, building on the success of marking Pride last yr. Visibility & inclusion remains vital, especially for young people & in promoting equality. pic.twitter.com/iCHnPs1JlR
— Mayor of Hackney (@mayorofhackney) February 1, 2018
The Pride in the Park family picnic is part of the Hackney Pride 365 festival and Dalston Children’s Festival; both run by the Council in collaboration with the local community, Foster Care Fortnight and the Dalston Children’s Network (DCN).
This year’s Dalston Children’s Festival will be the biggest so far, including over 30 free activities across two Saturdays, May 26 and June 2.
This year’s highlights include a film screening of Disney’s Coco followed by Day of the Dead inspired craft, the transformation of Dalston Square into a giant playground and a masterclass in Bollywood dancing.
Tim Shields, Chief Executive of Hackney Council, said: “It’s really great to see the borough’s community groups, businesses and artists working together to provide these fantastic free events for Hackney’s families and children, right in the heart of Hackney’s cultural centre, Dalston.
“Families across Hackney should head down to the festival throughout both days, it is an event not to be missed.”
For further information about the Dalston Children’s Festival, visit their official website.