The Art of Stories Festival: The Greatest Story Ever Made

Come and create a massive story with a cast of stars from film, animation, illustration and storytelling - including Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, an Aardman animator and Beano comic artists - at our festival this May half-term. 

Art of Stories collage

Dates and price

Half-term activities

See a selection of photos from the week on our Facebook page.

In our Stage building

Crowdsourced story 

  • Daily from 11am to 5pm

Could this be the biggest collaborative story ever written? Work with Jim Parkyn, former modelmaker from Aardman animations, and other experts in animation from Falmouth University and help to build, write and animate the story with your own creative touch.

Watch a video of the collaborative story so far

Meet Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler

  • Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May

Meet Axel Scheffler, the illustrator of The Gruffalo and many other childrens classics. Axel will reveal the secrets of his illustration, and then be signing books.

Talks are at the following times:

Saturday 24 May

  • 1pm and 3pm
  • 4.30pm Axel Scheffler and Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures talk about how The Gruffalo was brought to life on screen

Sunday 25 May

  • 4pm (sorry but the 3pm talk has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances)

In addition, daily from 10am to 5.30pm you can create masks and bunting to celebrate the Gruffalo’s 15th birthday. 

See Eden's 10 favourite Axel Scheffler characters on this Blog article.

Create your own comic character with Beano artist Nick Brennan 

  • Saturday 24 - Thursday 29 May, and Sunday 1 June from 11am to 5pm

Work with Nick Brennan, a super-talented cartoonist, to create your very own comic character and learn some comic strip secrets. Book one of the following sessions on the day by visiting our Stage: 

  • 11am – 12pm
  • 12.15–1.15pm
  • 2.15–3.15pm
  • 4.30–5pm. 

Read Nick's tips on drawing comic characters on our Blog.

Lino printing with graphic novelist Gareth Brookes

  • Monday 26 May - Sunday 1 June from 11.15am to 4.45pm

Learn how to tell a story through the medium of lino printing and do a crash course in making a small press publications with Gareth Brookes, author of The Black Project. Book one of the following sessions on the day by visiting our Stage (sessions are for people aged 12 and over due to very sharp instruments):

  • 11.15am – 12.15pm (lino)
  • 12.30–1.30pm (lino)
  • 2.30–3.30pm (lino)
  • 4–4.45pm (small publication crash course).

Comic creations with Beano artist Gary Northfield

  • Friday 30 and Saturday 31 May

Meet Gary Northfield, cartoonist and creator of Phoenix comics. Gary has been an illustrator on Horrible Histories, the Beano and the Dandy, and is the author of The Terrible Tales of the Teenietinysaurs. Join him to learn some tips on how to create your own characters and illustrations. Book one of the following sessions on the day by visiting our Stage:

  • 11am – 12pm
  • 12.15–1.15pm
  • 2.15 – 3.15pm
  • 4.30 – 5pm

Gary will also be signing books at 3.30pm on both days outside the Eden Shop.

Story illustration with Bruce Ingman

  • Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 May

Meet the fantastic children’s Illustrator, Bruce Ingman. Bruce has worked with many celebrated authors including Allan Ahlberg. With Bruce’s guidance you will design a character, make a book and take that character on a journey! Book one of the following sessions on the day by visiting our Stage:

  • 11.15am – 12.15pm
  • 12.45–1.30pm
  • 2.30–3.30pm
  • 3.45–4.30pm.

Bruce will also be signing books at 3.30pm outside the Eden Shop.

Flash fiction children's writing courses with Barrington Green

  • Sunday 1 June

Create a piece of flash fiction with novelist Emily Barr and children's book writer Craig Green (aka Barrington Green). At the end of the frantic session, you will leave with your own perfectly formed, very short story. Book one of the following sessions on the day by visiting our Stage (each session has 20 places and lasts an hour):

  • 3pm
  • 4pm.

Around the Eden site

Rainforest Touring Tales

Take a journey to Malaysia with our storytellers and hear a collection of tales along the way.

  • Meet just inside the Rainforest Biome by the Tropics Trader ship at 11am, 1.30pm or 3pm.

The Story Republic 

Welcome to the Story Republic, a travelling world of words that celebrates the place of story in Cornwall's culture. Find the storytellers on the Stage and roaming our site, collecting and sharing stories.

  • Catch them on the Stage to hear a tall tale at 1pm, 3pm and 4pm. 

In the Citrus Grove of our Mediterranean Biome

Eden Storytellers 

Stories are the way we keep things alive, share skills, and bond cultures and communities together. Come meet our very own team of amazing storytellers and catch a tale or two.

  • 12pm and 2pm in the Citrus Grove. 

Talks and music in the Citrus Grove

There will be the following talks and live music during the festival at 1pm and 3pm in our Citrus Grove: 

  • Monday 26 May: Craig Green will be reading marvellous stories from his own award-winning Clickety Books series (at 1pm, 3pm and 4pm). There will be plenty of fun and games too. The stories are chock-full of sound play, rhythm and repetition which are all very important for spoken language development. They also provide the foundation for the development of early literacy skills, for learning to read and spell. Warning: this session might get very silly indeed! 
  • Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 May: Children’s musician David Gibb will perform his latest work - especially great for the under 5s!
  • Thursday 29 and Friday 30 May: Meet Eden's very own Jo Elworthy, Interpretation Director, and illustrator/artist Ley Roberts and discover how a writer and illustrator work together to bring stories to life. 
  • Sunday 1 June: storytelling by the fantastic folks from Clickety Books (at 1pm only)