STEP aside Mad Hatters - the monsters have taken over the tea party.

The "Little Monsters Tea Party" was held today to celebrate the start of an exhibition at the Grafton Regional Gallery "How to Make a Monster: the art and technology of animatronics".

Five families won entry to the tea party and experienced the exhibition before the first of more than 800 students arrived.

Grafton Regional Gallery director Jude McBean applauded the exhibition, saying the day had been a success.

"People have absolutely loved it," she said.

"By the end of it, adults were more entertained than kids."

Presented by 1995 Academy Award for Visual Effects winner John Cox, the "monstrous" exhibition is "quite a different experience" to what the Grafton Regional Gallery was used to.

However, Ms McBean was confident the Clarence Valley would enjoy it.

"We are seeing it as a blockbuster which will attract new people to the gallery," she said.

"No bookings are necessary but we're hoping that everyone comes along and enjoys it."

The response to the exhibition has been "overwhelming", with 830 students already viewing it, including schools from Coffs Harbour.

"The John Cox Creature Workshop has travelled all over the world and this is the smallest venue it's ever visited," she said.

"They're based on the Gold Coast, but they came here from the USA and are heading to Canada after October 21. It's quite a different experience to what we're used to but it's great."

How to Make a Monster runs until October 21.


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