The Bright Agency (Children's Illustration blog) The Bright Emporium (STS & Book Launches)

Introducing Read! Make! Play!


Due to the sell-out success of our Storytime Sunday events, The Bright Emporium has introduced equally unique creative workshops based on our children’s picture books called READ! MAKE! PLAY!

Welcoming our Art Facilitator Kim Hillyard!
Kim has a wealth of experience when it comes to creativity as a RADA trained actress, teacher, artist, musician, model and a music journalist for the New Musical Express.


She has always loved working with children and the Emporium provides the perfect space to share her creative craft on a Sunday, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing. Kim’s workshops still combine storytelling with craft, but they differ from Storytime Sundays in that we go through the creative breakdown of making a book, and coming up with new ideas. At the end of each workshop, every child will leave with something they have made. It’s real creative learning with an expert in art, drama and literature, where little ones can engage whilst having fun.

“I find working with children is endlessly inspiring, surprising, fun, challenging and never boring. I am hugely passionate about creative education and the benefits of drama and storytelling for everyone” KH —

Which makes us the perfect match.

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Q&A with Kim

How do you communicate how a book is made, and how stories work to your young audience?

“It’s really important to me that any workshop I run has the potential to go anywhere the children’s imaginations might want to take it, rather than a prescribed session that says “today we are making exactly this.” All my workshops start with a very simple theme or idea that can be adapted to suit any age. One of my Read! Make! Play! called ‘Little Picture Books’ takes a book from The Bright Emporium’s beautiful book shelf, looks at how it is made and reduces its story to a very simple beginning, middle and end. We then use drama games and creative play to inspire picture book pages of our own, be that drawing one of the characters in a completely new setting or coming up with an entirely new story altogether. No idea is a bad idea! Hopefully children will leave feeling confident and inspired to carry on being creative when they get home. (And yes, I’m secretly trying to fill the world with more Roald Dahls and Beatrix Potters…)”

It’s a real luxury to be able to run children’s workshops in a space exclusively dedicated to children’s books. The Bright Agency offices are downstairs and you’ve been producing beautiful children’s books for the past ten years! I’m hoping to transfer some of that imaginative, creative energy onto the writers and illustrators of our future! I wish more businesses were as proactive with their offices. Imagine if we were required to invite children into our workspaces at the weekends to learn about what we do in a fun and creative way? It would benefit everyone.” KH

More about Kim:

  • I studied Drama at Exeter University. I am an expert tree impressionist and can recite the complete works of Shakespeare on command.
  • I’m the resident storyteller at Clapham Books, find me there every Wednesday morning at 11am. I’m also a drama facilitator with Bigfoot Arts. We work in schools to enrich the curriculum with drama and art. If you’ve never seen an impromptu theatre production involving an unstable Hydrogen atom you’re seriously missing out.
  • I’ve been a music journalist for the past eight years, covering gigs, festivals and new records for places like NME, the BBC and beyond. I’m hoping to build a picture book collection as big as my record collection! In fact, my writing habits are now almost exclusively focused on children’s literature. There’s less beer and more bunny rabbits with pocket watches.
  • I’m in FEMME! It’s really a solo project by South London musician and producer Laura Bettinson. She makes left-field electronic pop and I’m one of her two Bullet Girls. We make up routines, sing backing vocals, DJ and make music videos. We’ve toured the States in a van, played loads of gigs and generally caused havoc! You can listen to her music here.
  • *Clears throat* I’ve been a Voice Over artist for the past five years! I’ve recorded radio ads and audio books and all sorts of bizarre things. Once I was paid to say the word ‘banana’ in multiple voices for an entire hour.
  • Favourite book character: Matilda definitely has it all. But I bet everyone goes for her.
    Um… the little yellow duck hidden on every page of every Usborne book ever. He’s a humble global superstar.

    Kanye could learn a thing or two…



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Kim’s workshops begin again on Sunday 22nd January
More info HERE!

  • You can also find more information about workshops with Kim, and book tickets via our timetable on The Bright Emporium website here: