So much to do at Mary Poppins in the Park including the great childrens nanny race.
So much to do at Mary Poppins in the Park including the great childrens nanny race. Alistair Brightman

10 days of supercalifragilistic Poppins magic

IN JUST over a week Maryborough's streetscapes will transform into Cherry Tree Lane while characters from the much-loved Mary Poppins will come to life.

The Mary Poppins Festival starts tomorrow night with the Poppins Party in the CBD followed by the latest Maryborough Players performance Happy Ever After.

Mary Poppins Festival organiser Robyn Peach, of Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said the first look inside the Story Bank would be a highlight of the lively festival, which runs from June 29 to July 8.

People will be able to discover the art of storytelling through displays, activities and exhibitions in the heritage-listed building.

The author was born in the former Australian Joint Stock Bank in the Heritage City's central business district in 1899.

During the festival, there will be a number of workshops and demonstrations in Maryborough and Hervey Bay, including a solar printing workshop, kids' morning in, crafty conductors, fable artists and a storyteller's guide.

Ceramic artist Clairy Laurence will host a fun three-hour workshop in Maryborough's Gatakers Workspace at 10am on Sunday, July 1.

"During the workshop, we will be creating a small figure, about 25cm tall, from the waist up," Ms Laurence said.

"Participants can expect to learn about handling a porcelain-stoneware blend clay to create facial features and simple body form.

"We won't have time for adding colour but participants can pick up a bisque-fired, unglazed piece in about two weeks after the workshop."

Her sculptural forms are often figurative and whimsical, depicting otherworldly children and their environment.

"I draw inspiration from everything around me, nature, architecture, social media, things that happen around me," Ms Laurence said.

 

Clairy Laurence will hold workshops throughout the Mary Poppins Festival.
Clairy Laurence will hold workshops throughout the Mary Poppins Festival. Clairy Laurence

The cost of the workshop is $50 and it is open to anyone aged 13 and over but numbers are limited so anyone interested should book online at www.mary poppinsfestival.com.au.

Ms Laurence is also part of the Fable artists in residence group - seven artists sharing their works in an exhibition at Gatakers Artspace from July 2-31 and demonstrating how they work from 10am-2pm from July 2-8 in Gatakers' front building.

Another member of the Fable group, Belinda Sinclair, said they knew each other through family and friendship connections and were looking forward to spending time in Maryborough, meeting people and developing new work.

An interdisciplinary artist working across print media and sculpture, she said she was especially looking forward to delving into the history of the area and taking lots of photos.

"I am very drawn to folklore and mythology and stories that speak to the human condition," Ms Sinclair said.

"I tell stories that affect me personally but also affect all of us and have done throughout history.

"On a personal level I address themes of loss, grief and beauty but, on another level, I speak to wider social concerns about the environment and the current state of the world, which seems to be an increasingly difficult and complex place to exist.

"In short, I tell ghost stories."

Another exciting addition to this year's event is the ultimate kids' party hosted by comedian and actor Sean Murphy.

 

TOO FUNNY: Comedian Sean Murphy will visit Maryborough these school holidays.
TOO FUNNY: Comedian Sean Murphy will visit Maryborough these school holidays. Contributed

Mr Murphy will lead the audience on a roller-coaster ride of costume creation, balloon-bending and a bold reinvention of Happy Birthday to You on Thursday, July 5, from 10am.

Other highlights of Queensland's most whimsical event are readings, workshops and book signings by Justin D'Ath, author of the Extreme Adventure series, and an exhibition by Kate Knapp, author of the Ruby Red Shoes children's book series.

Mary Poppins in the Park is the all-day magical event on Saturday, July 7, with its supercalifragilistic program starting with a morning tea with the event's founders, Proud Marys.

The day continues with interactive displays, demonstrations and storytelling. You can join in or watch the popular nanny races, chimney sweep challenge and grand parade with pop-up performances and music by local artists.

For more information, visit www.marypoppins festival.com.au.