THE legend of The Hexham Dragon will come to life, in the Animating Hexham festival in autumn 2023.

In 2022, a giant dragon lantern was created by artists and pupils from Hexham First School who led a parade through the streets of Hexham.

The Queen's Hall Arts Centre has now launched The Hexham Dragon Story Competition, which invites children aged seven to 11 to create a short story or poem about the Dragon.

The competition follows the success of Hexham native Charlie Mackesy, whose successful animation The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 2023 awards.

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The story, which was released on television at Christmas, won at the 95th annual Academy Awards on March 12, a month after the film won the British short animation category at the BAFTAs.

Now, The Queen's Hall is hoping to bring the story of the Dragon to animated life.

One winner will be selected for their story or poem and will win special prizes.

An animator will visit the winner's class in school to help them turn the poem or story into an animation. 

The finished animation will be screened as part of the Animating Hexham festival, in autumn 2023.

Winners will also receive a family ticket for any show of their choice at The Queen’s Hall.

Poems and stories can be any theme or genre, from comedy to adventure or anything in between.

When writing their story, children should consider:

  • Why is the Dragon in Hexham?
  • Where did it come from?
  • Where does it live?
  • How old is it?
  • What is its name?
  • Does it have any friends?
  • Does it have any special or magical powers? 

The competition is open to pupils of Hexham schools, and home-educated children in Hexham, aged 7 to 11 years old.

To be part of the competition, email entries to and put ‘Hexham Dragon Story Competition’ in the subject line, or bring the written story to The Queen's Hall box office during opening hours.

The closing date is Monday, April 17.