Jean Russell Storytelling Events

Food stories give Highcrest students a taste of the big time, June 2018

Year 7 students at The Highcrest Academy are being given a taste of national fame after their stories about food were chosen for a unique nationwide project.

Award-winning performance story-teller Anna Conomos-Wedlock was at the academy in High Wycombe all day on Monday June 25, working with around 30 pupils in an immersive role play project.

And six of the food stories written by the Highcrest students themselves will now feature in a national ‘Feed Me A Story’ project that will be shared with schools across the country in a DVD film and teacher resource pack.

They will also be featured on YouTube and be part of ‘The Doll Who Ate Stories’ show that children from Birmingham will be performing at the Birmingham Conservatoire to an audience of over 400 people in November.

This is all part of the Jean Russell Storyteller Project, in partnership with and supported by the Ragdoll Foundation, which runs throughout 2018 working with schools across the UK.

At Highcrest, Anna worked with the pupils throughout the day, developing their storytelling skills so they could create their own versions of food-based fairy tales and then perform them as stories to the rest of the school.

Re-creating the dark Russian forests in High Wycombe with her re-telling of the Russian folk tale ‘Baba Yaga’, Anna’s magic doll was fed with stories written by the children, all of which contained food of one kind or another, to save the beautiful ‘Vasilisa the Fair’.

Anna said: “Story-making is like baking. You start by choosing the most colourful, scrummy, textured ingredients, you then put the ingredients together in the perfect order, stir up your dramatic characters with your spine-tingling plot, fold in your delicious vocabulary with your memorable story message and da! da! Yum, yum, yum… a story you will want to experience over and over again!”

Julia Miller, National Co-ordinator for the Jean Russell Storyteller Project for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups and the Ragdoll Foundation, said: “Storytelling is vital for the development of children’s imaginations and can be used across the curriculum to embed learning. Creating stories in teams and then performing them after just two hours work with Anna stretches children, developing oracy skills, confidence, team-work and creativity. These pupils constantly surprised the adults with their aptitude and learning.”

Paul Shaw, Assistant Headteacher at Highcrest, said: “The students loved taking part in this very special day of story-telling, and we are very excited that some of their own stories will now be read and performed nationally.”