SCHOOL pupils were entertained by performance poet John Hegley at Oxford’s Story Museum as work reached the half-way stage for a £6m revamp.

The session at the Pembroke Street venue yesterday involved youngsters from seven schools.

The popular poet and musician has previously appeared on TV shows including Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Wogan and has developed a cult following for his thought-provoking poems and performances.

Oxford Mail:

The event was an opportunity for the venue to celebrate the achievement of a number projects staged while major refurbishment work has been taking place.

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Building work for the £6m transformation started in November and has now reached the half-way stage.

Once it is completed in November individual galleries and spaces will be fitted out inside, ready for the museum to reopen in spring 2020.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Hegley, who performed his poem Guillemot, said: “I really enjoyed coming here to meet the pupils and have a look around.

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“Once the museum reopens next year it will be fascinating for visitors to come and see all the different rooms and spaces.

“I hope they will go away really inspired and search out some books.”

Oxford Mail:

The new museum will feature 10 new spaces to explore and enjoy, including a Whispering Wood, a Treasure Chamber, an Enchanted Library, and a 120-seat theatre space, in which Mr Hegley is set to feature as part of the museum’s opening season.

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The venue’s capital project director Tish Francis said good progress was being made with the refurbishment.

She added: “We still need to raise £500,000 so we are in search of fairy godparents large and small.”

Oxford Mail:

Learning and outreach work has been made possible with support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, which last year awarded a £100,000 grant to the museum to engage young people in school, at home and in their communities.

Thanks to this grant, along with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, more than 9,000 young people will have been reached by the time the venue reopens.

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Schools across the county have worked with a number of different of poets and writers including Devon Glover, the museum’s performance poet in residence Karl Nova, and oral storyteller Peter Chand.

Activities have ranged from early year’s language development projects, skills building courses for parents and an innovative teen co-curation scheme called The Young Producers.

Oxford Mail:

Schools taking part yesterday were John Henry Newman Academy in Littlemore. St Christopher’s Primary School in Cowley, St Francis Primary School in Horspath, Cherwell School, Harriers Banbury Academy, Dashwood Banbury Academy, and Wykham Park Academy in Banbury.

Fleur Belcher, headteacher of St Francis Primary School, said: “Thank you for inviting us to be a part of this wonderful event. What an exciting time for the children and the team.”