Report – The Last Word: Toby Thompson

Posted on: Friday 06 July 2018 2:57pm by Simon Bor

The final session was opened by former changemaker, Jeremiah Emmanuel BEM (EMNL Consultancy), now a member of the advisory committee of the CMC.


  • There were 239 speakers and 1100+ delegates at CMC 2018.
  • Next year’s theme is ‘Limitless’.
  • Toby Thompson evoked childhood wonder and made us think about ‘freedom’.


‘There’s no limit to creativity,’ said Jeremiah, youngest ever CMC Advisory Committee member and a former CMC Changemaker, as he announced the theme he has chosen for next year’s conference: Limitless.

Jeremiah then introduced us to Toby Thompson. Originally from Bath, Toby is based in London. He’s a 24-year-old performance poet, a Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion who has performed not only at festivals, but at the Natural History Museum, The House of Lords and the Royal Opera House.

When asked to develop a fairy tale for a children’s audience, Toby didn’t go for the obvious. He didn’t dip into the work of Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm but looked to the German-born novelist, Hermann Hesse, and his fairy tale, Faldum. The result is a 50 minute one man performance with live and recorded music called ‘I Wish I was a Mountain.’

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. With the time constraint given to Toby, he ditched the middle and entertained the audience with the opening and closing sections of his performance. He used a brief bridge of narration to replace the missing middle section. His child evoking physical performance, tantalising and tentative vocal style, and the juxtaposition of sound, images, music, song, movement, stillness and storytelling – made this final 30 minutes of the Children’s Media Conference 2018 unforgettable.

One delegate remarked “we come here for business conversations, technical news, strategic understanding, and yet on top of all that we are also presented with something that takes apart the assumptions we make about the world of childhood… and leaves us moved and well and truly challenged”

It was an impressive finale to another successful conference and the delegates left with thoughts of next year’s event.

The possibilities are limitless…

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Simon Bor

About the author

Simon Bor


Simon studied Animation at Farnham, and, more recently, was awarded an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University. He set up Honeycomb Animation with Sara Bor and has been involved in children’s television since the mid 1980s. As a writer, Simon has co-written and created several shows including Milkshake’s 'Funky Valley'. As a director and… Read more