YOUNGSTERS from two Darlington schools are stepping up to the challenge of taking part in a special performance to launch this year’s BookFest.

The week-long book festival for children and families in Darlington will take place from March 2 to 7 March.

And Darlington Libraries staff have teamed up with Darlington Academy of Performing Arts (DAPA) to work with pupils at Springfield Academy and Corporation Road School.

Over the next few weeks, DAPA will run weekly workshops in school where the pupils will gain confidence in performance, song and dance culminating in a special show, entitled ‘Imagination’.

The children will then perform ‘Imagination’ in front of an audience at Crown Street Library on Saturday, February 29 to launch BookFest.

They will then be invited to enjoy a family-friendly music gig featuring The Hootones.

The Northern Echo:

Springfield Academy pupils

Suzy Hill, library events manager, said: “This is the second year we’ve hosted BookFest, a week-long extravaganza with free, fun events for children age two to 16.

"We have an exciting programme on offer, including live music, children’s theatre, author and illustrator workshops and a whole lot more.

“As part of last year’s event, local schoolchildren were invited to help decorate our fabulous book benches and we wanted to make sure they had a chance to get really involved again this year.

"We can’t wait to see their performance of Imagination and are looking forward to welcoming even more children and their families to this year’s BookFest.”

BookFest has a packed programme of events and activities.

The first, on March 2 at 10.30am and 1.30pm is Madam Dragon’s Training School where the youngsters will sing songs and explore the special skills of famous dragons and how they’ve come to celebrate their unusual talents through interactive story-telling.

There will be several interactive story-telling events throughout the festival and on World Book Day, March 5, there will be Superhero and Princess parties.

To find out more, visit the library, call 01325-349610 or go to