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June 23 @ 11:50 am - 4:00 pm
  • FREE
  • Midsummer Madness
  • Young Essex

Midsummer Madness Family Fun Day

Performance, Workshops, Crafts and Storytelling
Midsummer Madness


Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road
Braintree, Essex CM77 8PD
Free parking, free entry and lots of free activities.

Midsummer Madness Family Fun Day

Cressing Temple Barns, Witham Road, Braintree, Cressing, CM77 8PD

Sunday 23 June, 12 – 4pm

Pack your picnic and make a beeline for what promises to be a magical day at Cressing Temple Barns. Free parking, free entry and lots of free drop-in activities. All welcome, just come along, no need to book.

We also have a free theatre performance by Matipo Arts of Asha + The Troll. Places for this are limited so booking is essential, see below for link.

There will also be workshops for young people for creative writing, exploring nature and songs, celebrating individuality, video game remixing and storytelling & performance. There is a small charge, £3 per young person, for these workshops and places are limited so booking is recommended. Full details below.



12.00 – 12.30pm, Asha + the Troll – Performance

With Matipo Arts

Asha + The Troll is a theatre performance for 5-8 year olds in which storytellers unfold a world of forests, friendship, puppetry, percussion, and… trolls! Follow Asha as she meets an unlikely friend and learns to love their differences.

Tickets: Free, booking required
Box Office: tickettailor.com

Have a go yourself – Matipo Arts will be running a Storytelling and Performance Workshop later in the day. More details in Workshop section below.


Fantastic and Free…

No need to book, just turn up. All welcome.

Aloo o!

Sade at Midsummer Madness

African storytelling, crafts, drumming and Mancala workshops with Sade Fadipe, Portia Mushambi and Margaret Omoniyi. Immerse yourself in the mesmerising music, colours and stories of amazing Africa.


Pop-Up Storytelling Armchair

Rob Jelly Storytelling Armchair at Midsummer Madness

Come along and hear a story or two. Hosted by BBC Essex’s Rob Jelly with different storytellers throughout the afternoon.


This Land: The Book Project Exhibition

Take a look at our This Land Giant Concertina Book created by school children across the county as they tell their story of what makes Essex special to them.


This Land: Scribble Board

Pop along to see artist/illustrator Michael Young and contribute to our Scribble Board, celebrating the rich diversity, heritage and natural environment that makes Essex special.


Eco-crafts and Printing


Including paper-making, ink-making, cork-printing, DIY notebooks, fairy headbands, willow-weaving and leaf-printing. Learn to Letterpress using an original Adana letterpress, with Colchester Makerspace


The Satellite Re-Wilding Workshop with Lily Hunter Green

Re-Wilding Workshop Materials Midsummer Madness

Viewing Google Earth satellite images of Essex, participants will then design their own healthy satellite landscape: including all of the essentials to attract wildlife and the creation of biodiverse and pollinator friendly ecosystems (water sources, woodlands/trees for shelter, wildflower strips around fields, healthy soil mounds for animals to inhabit etc).

The workshop will then involve the group collaborating on a large-scale 3D and textural satellite image: a ‘patchwork’ made out of redundant carpet tiles and other recycled found materials. The Satellite image of the local landscape created by the participants must be as biodiverse as possible. Using new Earth and Space technologies an image of the work will be taken from above using a drone. Free, drop-in, no booking required.



SOIL with Ian Mercer and Ros Mercer

Soil is this planet’s thin surface layer where rocks and biology combine to recycle dead stuff back into life. Plants and animals – that includes you – depend upon minerals in the rocks underneath us. You have to ‘Eat Rock’!

The story of soil is the story of the survival of civilization – what we do to the soil we do to ourselves!

Join Ian Mercer and Ros Mercer, authors of Essex Rock: Geology Beneath the Landscape and discover the fascinating and surprising geology of our county. Free, drop-in, no booking required.


Pop-up Library Book Tent and Storytelling with Essex Library Service

Treasure Hunt in the Walled Garden

The Poetry Shed

Sand Art, Mindfulness Colouring and Sound Healing with Heads2Minds

Heads2Minds at Midsummer Madness


The Poetry Shed at Midsummer Madness




There is a small charge for these workshops and places are limited so booking is required.

12.00 – 1.00pm
Top Writing Tips Workshop with Sam Scott

For budding writers aged 11-16 years. Explore different writing techniques; how to create a believable character, how to build a plot arc and the importance of using varied vocabulary.

Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free
Box Office: eventbrite.co.uk


12.00 – 1.00pm & 2.30 – 3.30pm
Singing Like Larks Nature Workshop with Andrew Millham

Andrew Millham nature workshop

Uncover the remarkable relationship between birds and traditional folk music and try your hand at Forest School skills and bug-hunting in this family nature workshop. Andrew will also read from his book, Singing Like Larks, and sing accompanying songs. All ages welcome.

Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free
Box Office:
12.00pm eventbrite.co.uk
2.30pm eventbrite.co.uk


Game Changer Workshop with Signals

Transform classic video games into arcade quests for environmental action and climate change awareness. No previous coding experience required. All equipment provided. For ages 11-14 years.

Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free
Box Office: eventbrite.co.uk


1.30 – 2.30pm
Love My Skin Outside In with Leema Jabbar

Join this fun, inspiring and interactive session about celebrating individuality and showing kindness. Using fun games and simple experiments using colourful visuals from nature you’ll discover just how stunningly beautiful we all are both inside and out. For ages 6-10.

Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free
Box Office: eventbrite.co.uk


1.30 – 2.15pm
Matipo Art – Storytelling and Performance Workshop

Join Asha + The Troll’s creative team for 45 minutes of storytelling and performance! Participants will enter the Troll’s forest to create their own stories and explore elements from the show.

Tickets: £3 per young person, accompanying adult free
Box Office: eventbrite.co.uk



All those aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Photography and Filming

We will be filming and taking photographs at this event for promotional use, to post on our website and Social Media, and for documentation. If you do not want to be recorded please let us know at the Essex Book Festival Welcome Desk on arrival.


The Book Project is kindly funded by Essex County Council Arts and Cultural Fund.
The Essex County Council Arts and Cultural Fund supports organisations and creative practitioners to deliver a broad and exciting range of work and activity to engage with and bring communities in Essex together.
The fund, which is part of Essex County Council’s Everyone’s Essex strategy, supports projects that help economic regeneration and benefit communities. Since launching in December 2021, it has supported over 70 arts and cultural events throughout the county for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy.


Essex County Council logo red Arts and Cultural fund



Explore-Essex logo


Cressing Temple Barns


Heads2minds logo


Signals logo


Essex County Council Libraries logo




Cressing Temple Barns
Witham Road
Braintree, Essex CM77 8PD
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