Nine-year-old Saffron Walden cartoonist set to wow audiences at the Royal Albert Hall with live drawing performance

PUBLISHED: 17:38 20 June 2017

Jude Holland and Chris Riddell. Picture: Chickenshed Theatre

Jude Holland and Chris Riddell. Picture: Chickenshed Theatre


A nine-year-old boy from Saffron Walden is set to wow audiences at the Royal Albert Hall next week with a live drawing performance.

Jude Holland Chris Riddell working together. Picture: Chickenshed TheatreJude Holland Chris Riddell working together. Picture: Chickenshed Theatre

Jude Holland discovered his talent at just three-years-old, inspired by the likes of Tom & Jerry and replaying drawing commentary on DVDs until the disc player finally broke.

“I like the fact that your imagination can take you wherever it wants to go, and at the moment I like drawing monsters,” Jude said, also confessing a love for recreating Doctor Who monsters.

The youngster is now preparing to sit alongside the ninth Children’s Poet Laureate, Chris Riddell, for a performance at the Royal Albert Hall – his live work projected on a huge screen for the audience to watch.

Ahead of the event, Jude got the chance to meet Chris – his drawing idol - to discuss what they might create.

Jude Holland with one of the  drawings completed with Chris Riddell. Picture: Chickenshed TheatreJude Holland with one of the drawings completed with Chris Riddell. Picture: Chickenshed Theatre

He said: “He was really nice. He gave me one of his pens and we started sketching on a sheet of paper. I drew him and he drew me and the picture he drew is now in a picture frame at home.

“He is amazing and really talented at drawing. He was very fluid in his work and very fast.”

The pair also did a mixed drawing, with Jude starting a line and Chris finishing it off.

His mum, Rachel Yates, said she was amazed by Jude’s talent and dedication to the art, even revealing he wakes up at 6am to get some drawing done before school at the R.A. Butler Academy.

“Watching him teach himself and be so entranced is wonderful. It’s beautiful to watch someone seeing their own development grow,” she said.

The performance, organised by Chickenshed Theatre in partnership with Amnesty International, will bring together some 600 children and is called Dreams of Freedom.

The evening, on June 26, will also be introduced on video by artist and human rights activist Angelina Jolie before a night of music and song reflecting children’s hopes for the future.

Jude said he was “really excited” about the event, and one day hopes to become a graphic designer.


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