Nature Festival at The Children’s Wood
Tam Dean Burn talks about his part in this celebration of outdoor play at Glasgow's West End Festival
They say nature finds a way, and on a patch of land in Glasgow’s North Kelvinside that’s certainly been the case. When a former sports ground became derelict, trees began to sprout until eventually, a small woodland developed – which brought about a similar blossoming in the local community, as people rallied to save the area now known as The Children’s Wood.
Following a long-running battle with Glasgow City Council, who want the land sold to property developers, the decision is now in the hands of the Scottish Government. A prominent figure amongst the campaigners is actor Tam Dean Burn, who will put his talents to good use at the Wood’s upcoming Nature Festival.
‘The Children’s Wood is an incredible community resource,’ says Burn. ‘It draws people together in a way that would have been impossible otherwise, so that children can play outdoors, wilder and freer than in playgrounds. The whole thing has brought out the best in everybody.’
Part of the West End Festival, the event will feature mini beast hunts, den building, mud kitchen play and lots of fun opportunities to connect with nature.
‘These sorts of things go on weekly at the Children’s Wood,’ explains Burn. ‘They’ve become part of the whole ethos of the place, and the Nature Festival is a celebration of everything that’s been happening there.’
Burn’s part in the day will be an exuberant delivery of Julia Donaldson’s Stick Man, as well as singing some of the author’s nature-orientated songs – although his outfit for the occasion is still undecided.
‘Julia has been hugely supportive of the campaign, and her books are always a real favourite,’ says Burn. ‘Stick Man is about the very basics of nature, going on adventures, then recognising that family is still the most important thing. At previous readings I’ve dressed up as a stick in a brown leotard – but I don’t think I’ll inflict that on people again.’
The Children’s Wood, Glasgow, Sun 5 Jun, 12–5pm.