Children getting ready for this year's Choral Speaking festival

Date published: 13 March 2018

Youngsters across the town will be hard at work this week practising for the 34th Oldham Primary School Choral Speaking Festival, which this year will be held at the Coliseum Theatre between March 21-23.

The festival aims to help children to increase their enjoyment of poetry; develop their self-confidence and capacity to speak in public and to build community cohesion by bringing together schools and performers from across the borough.

Almost 2,000 children, with ages ranging from four to 11 years, will be performing and they have chosen a wide range of poems – some familiar, some new, some  serious, many humorous, some linked to curriculum topics being covered in school;  some from the 19th century’s Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll,  some by modern poets like Buxton-based Andy Tooze.

Each performance is judged by an international adjudicator, Ann Warr, and there are trophies for the best in each Age group, which will be presented at a special morning event at the Coliseum on May 1.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Oldham Metro, around 60,000 children have taken part in the festival since it began in 1985. 

The festival will be opened by the Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Shadab Qumer.

There are six sessions - Wednesday 9.30am-10.45; 11.15-12.30pm; 1.15-2.30; Thursday 10am-11.30 and 1.15pm–2.30; Friday 10am-11.30 and - apart from Friday when tickets will be limited to parents/carers - are open to the public. Admission is free.

Club President Con Kelly said: “The festival is an event where everyone who comes is a winner.

"For many this will be their first time on a professional stage; for some it will not be their last, and I am sure that the efforts the youngsters have made in learning the poetry they present will be repaid many times over in the years to come.”