Capturing the Bear – Poetry workshop
Award-winning local poet Leanne Moden will be hosting a free creative writing workshop at the Museum of Cambridge on Wednesday 28th June, as part of a new ICOMOS UK and the Arts Council funded project exploring Cambridgeshire’s shared cultural heritage.
The workshop – which will explore the folklore and customs surrounding the Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival – will run from 2pm to 4pm, and with a special sharing session from 4pm to 5pm on the same day.
The workshop is aimed at writers aged 16 and over, and will be suitable for all abilities: from complete beginners to more experienced writers. It will be an informal and friendly event, giving participants the chance to delve into the customs behind the festival, and get up close and personal with some fascinating objects from the Museum’s collection.
The Whittlesey Straw Bear is wonderfully quirky tradition found nowhere else in the UK. The day after Plough Monday, a man from the town would be dressed head to toe in straw, and be led from house to house where ‘the bear’ would dance in exchange for gifts of money, food or beer. The tradition, which dates back at least two hundred years, was revived in 1980, and the Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival is now one of the largest festivals of its kind, attracting troupes of traditional dancers and folk musicians from right across the country.
Workshop participants will use historical objects, photographs, writings and other items to explore the history of the Straw Bear, and every participant will have the option to read at the sharing, which will be held directly after the workshop itself.
It’s free to attend the workshop, but booking is essential. Please contact the Museum on 01223 355159.