Crossing The Tees, Teesside’s biggest literary festival returns 11-17 June with a special theme – “We Hope This Finds You Well”.
The theme and programme is the work of the festival’s first ever dedicated coordinator Kirsten Luckins and experienced library teams from across all five Tees Valley boroughs.
“We all felt that it was important to have a thread of events that focus on happiness, wellbeing, and recovery” says Kirsten. “Our planning sessions were full of ideas about what wellness might look like for library users, our wider communities, and our environment too. That’s why we have events taking place in nature, like our Walking Libraries in Darlington and Stockton, and of course readings by authors like Emma Mitchell (author of The Wild Remedy) who are writing about recovery, health, and wellbeing”.
The festival launches on Saturday 11 June with Into the Wild Blue Sea with Kate Fox, a short reading of uplifting poetry followed by a celebratory communal splash on Redcar beach, acknowledging the positive impact of fresh air and wild swimming on our mental health. Wild swimming has become hugely popular in recent years because people find the cold temperatures can ‘reset’ moods of depression and anxiety. In the evening, audiences can watch the premiere of a specially-commissioned short film on the festival theme, followed by a showing of the classic get-well-soon film-of-a-book The Princess Bride.
Other events pick up on the healthy theme. At Cockerton Library in Darlington, novelist and cancer-survivor Stephanie Butland will give a reading and also teach a workshop on how creating positive fictional narrative can help process real-life trauma. At ARC Stockton, spoken word star Salena Godden shows exactly how narrative can transform grief when she performs from her magical novel Mrs Death Misses Death.
The Festival is also very aware that not everyone is able to attend in-person events. A varied menu of hybrid, live streamed, and digital events is on offer – from innovative craft-along watch parties where you can be either ‘on the Zoom’ or ‘in the room’, to YouTube releases like the fascinating conversation about mental health between author-performers Tim Clare and Hannah Jane Walker.
Booking is now open for all events via the Crossing the Tees website, or by phone and in person at ARC Stockton.
Box Office: 01642 525199