On Angel Wings – a Christmas Concert with Michael Morpurgo

On Monday 14 December 2015, Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books will welcome multi award-winning author and former Children’s Laurate, Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Private Peaceful) to the North East for a festive performance of On Angel Wings at St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle.

On Angel Wings is Michael Morpurgo’s magical retelling of the Christmas story. When the shepherds are invited to follow the star to visit the new born baby Jesus, a young boy is told to stay behind and mind the flock but the Angel Gabriel returns to take him on a memorable flight to be the first to witness the Christmas miracle.

This unique Christmas concert is performed by Michael himself with a beautiful selection of carols sung by a cappella group Voices at the Door and directed by Simon Reade.

Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain’s best-loved writers for children. He has written over 100 books and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Whitbread Award. His recent bestselling novels include Listen to the Moon, A Medal for Leroy and Shadow.

His novel War Horse has been successfully adapted as a West End and Broadway theatre play and a major film by Steven Spielberg. A former Children’s Laureate, Michael is also the co-founder, with his wife Clare, of the charity Farms for City Children.

On Angel Wings - The Concert is a fundraising evening for Seven Stories - National Centre for Children's Books.

Fundraising and Development Manager, Amanda Beckham said, “Seven Stories is delighted to have the support of Michael Morpurgo for this exciting event, which is being kindly sponsored by Bond Dickinson. It promises to be a magical evening at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle for this very special retelling of On Angel Wings - a beautiful and atmospheric Christmas tale, brought to life with music and storytelling.

A highlight of the season, On Angel Wings - The Concert is a fundraising evening for Seven Stories. All proceeds raised on the evening will help our work to save, celebrate and share the wonderful world of children's books. ”

John Marshall, Vice Chairman at Bond Dickinson, said, "It is a great pleasure to be able to sponsor this fantastic event. Seven Stories play a vital role in our community ensuring that all children are able to experience the magic of books and stories. I am pleased that our support will help this event to be a success in the local area".

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Media Contact

For images, quotes or interviews please contact:

Kathryn Row - Marketing Manager

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

T: 0845 271 0777 ext. 223

E: kathryn.row@sevenstories.org.uk

Notes to Editor:

On Angel Wings Synopsis

Rachel is 8 and for the first time is allowed to join her brothers and sisters to visit their grandfather – Amos, as he carries out his annual ritual of a night in the hills, where he worked as a young shepherd boy.

Grandfather is delighted to see the children and a special bond is established between him and Rachel. He tells them how she reminds him of a magical night; he then proceeds to recount it.

He explains how, ahead of the other shepherds protecting their flock with him, he is flown away by the Angel Gabriel, to be the first visitor to the newly born Christ child.

About Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo is, in his own words, “oldish, married with three children, and a grandfather six times over.” Born in 1943, he attended schools in London, Sussex and Canterbury (one at least of which was horrible enough to inspire him to describe it obliquely in The Butterfly Lion). He went on to London University to study English and French, followed by a step into the teaching profession and a job in a primary school in Kent. It was there that he discovered what he wanted to do.

“We had to read the children a story every day and my lot were bored by the book I was reading. I decided I had to do something and told them the kind of story I used to tell my kids – it was like a soap opera, and they focused on it. I could see there was magic in it for them, and realised there was magic in it for me.”

In 1976 Michael and his wife, Clare, started the charity Farms For City Children (FFCC), which aims to relieve the poverty of experience of young children from inner city and urban areas by providing them with a week in which they work actively and purposefully on farms in the heart of the countryside. They now have three farms – Nethercott in Devon, Treginnis in Wales and Wick in Gloucestershire. “As a teacher I realised many children had little real contact with the world around them – to them the television was real. I wanted them to experience life at first hand.” In the last 30 years over, 50,000 children from cities and towns throughout the UK have spent a week of their lives living and working on one of the three farms.

Living in Devon, listening to Mozart, and working with children have provided most of the stimulae Michael needs to discover and write his stories. He spends about half his life mucking out sheds with the children, feeding sheep or milking cows; the other half he spends dreaming up and writing stories. “For me, the greater part of writing is daydreaming, dreaming the dream of my story until it hatches out – the writing down of it I always find hard. But I love finishing it, then holding the book in my hand and sharing my dream with my readers.”

Seven Stories – 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.

About Bond Dickinson

Bond Dickinson is a leading UK law firm providing a comprehensive legal service to clients across a wide range of sectors, from seven cities across the UK including London. Our clients range from FTSE 100 businesses to governmental organisations, privately managed businesses and wealthy individuals. We currently have offices in London, Aberdeen, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Plymouth, and Southampton. We also have a strategic partnership with a German firm, Redeker Sellner Dahs, with five offices across Germany and Belgium. We have teams of expert lawyers with specialisms across many sectors including chemicals & manufacturing; energy & natural resources; financial institutions; insurance; real estate; retail & consumer goods; transport & infrastructure; and private wealth.