Northumbria University team up with Seven Stories for fifth consecutive year

Thursday 18 and Friday 19 February

Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books has teamed up with Northumbria University for the fifth consecutive year to produce immersive theatre as part of February Half Term: Week of Wizarding Wonder.

Northumbria Drama students return for the fifth year in the hugely popular partnership with Seven Stories to bring the museum to life.  Diagon Alley is a bustling, busy street teaming with witches and wizards. Wands, cauldrons, banished books and enchanted mirrors – you can get it all. But have you ever wondered who the wizarding shopkeepers are behind these curious counters? Families will be greeted on arrival by the weird and wonderful owner of the Leaky Cauldron, stumble upon the darkly mysterious apprentice to He Who Shall Not Be Named and dodge a bludger during a hearty game of Quidditch.  Visitors will be entertained around the museum by innovative, pop-up performances as well as enjoying two lively shows set in the Attic in the heart of Seven Stories’ very own Diagon Alley.

Northumbria Drama students were set a live brief to write and produce imaginative vignettes and performances inspired by Seven Stories’ Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition with support from Seven Stories Learning and Participation Manager, Debbie Beeks:

Hosting this fifth annual residency with the Drama Students from Northumbria University is a highlight of the Seven Stories programme. Every year the creativity and imagination they bring to the theme dazzles our visitors and makes our building come alive with story and characters that are new and familiar, surprising and compelling. This years’ brief was based on phenomenally popular series Harry Potter with the challenge of not being able to bring the well-known key characters to life. Every performance and character the visitors will meet will, therefore, be brand new! Seven Stories is proud to be offering this professional placement to the regions emerging artists.”

One Northumbria University student, Helen Doyle who is take part during February Half Term is no stranger to Seven Stories.  In 2011, Helen was involved in Seven Stories’ Picturing Hetty Feather project – the resulting film footage formed part of the museum’s blockbuster Daydreams and Diaries Daydreams and Diaries: The Story of Jacqueline Wilson exhibition which went on national tour to venues including  the V&A in London.

Helen says “Being part of both projects has been very enjoyable.  They have helped me develop new skills such as creative writing, acting for camera and performing for specific audiences.”

Every day during February Half Term, whether a brave Gryffindor, sneaky Slytherin, intelligent Ravenclaw or perhaps a loyal Hufflepuff, Seven Stories has a busy timetable planned. Families are requested to choose their house allegiance on arrival and pick up a Report Card at reception.  Children will then be able to follow the trail and answer questions before checking in with the Bookshop to see if you have passed with flying colours.

Visitors of all ages will be enchanted by magical stories taking place throughout each day and are invited to get creative in the Studio inspired by illustrator Jim Kay’s exquisite Harry Potter illustrations in the Illustrating Harry Potter exhibition supported by Bloomsbury.  Wannabe wizards can make their own wands, add their face to the Wizard Wanted Wall and create a Diagon Alley peg doll to populate the busy street scene. 

- End –

Media Contact

For images, quotes or interviews please contact:

Hannah Lambert – Marketing and Digital Coordinator

Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. NE1 2PQ.

T: 0300 330 1095 ext 223


Notes to Editor:

Event details: Diagon Alley: A World of Wizards Brought to you by Northumbria University Drama students, Thursday 18th and Friday 19th February, From 1-4pm. For all the family. 

Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books.

Seven Stories is the only place in Britain dedicated to the art of children’s books and the joy of reading, and one of just a few such places in the world. Our work is enjoyed by over 150,000 people every year.

Everything we do aims to inspire children and grown-ups to be curious, imaginative and creative. We strive to ensure that people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can take part to enjoy a lifetime of reading for pleasure.

Our home is a carefully converted Victorian warehouse in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. We opened in 2005 and our seven floors house galleries for exhibitions, performances and creative spaces, a specialist children’s bookshop and a café.

Seven Stories is widely recognised for our abilities and achievements. We have established an important collection of artwork, manuscripts and archives of Britain’s most acclaimed writers and illustrators for children from 1930s to the present day. We bring this unique treasure trove to life through playful and immersive exhibitions, an entertaining and informative public events programme and research opportunities.

Seven Stories was awarded National status by Arts Council England in 2012 in recognition of the significance of our Collection and its high standard of care, and the excellent way that we engage with our visitors and users. We were also awarded with a National Lottery Award in September 2013 after being voted the UK’s favourite education project.