Jean Russell Storytelling Project 2018

‘The Doll Who Ate Stories’

The project visited 7 schools working with six children’s book groups:

West Wales; Plymouth; South Bucks; Lincs; Dudley and Solihull.

The age ranges of the children who worked with Anna were from 4 to 12 and the schools included a forest school, a small rural primary, inner city schools, a primary school on the deprived east coast and a secondary academy in an 11 plus area.

Stepaside Community Primary, Carmarthenshire: This small rural school has a high proportion of traveller children and they all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of seeing a performance storyteller, writing their own story pie diagrams of their stories, including the Welsh fairy tale ‘The Lady of the Lake’ and then re-performing these stories back to the school.  

St. Peter’s C of E,Plymouth thought that Anna was fantastic and her confidence in the pupils’ ability to perform encouraged them to have the confidence to shine. ‘Fantastic’!

Mary Towerton Forest School has only 40 pupils from Reception to Year 3 and they all worked with Anna in two workshops, with the older pupils encouraging the younger children to share their ideas of the stories they were re-telling. ‘An overwhelming success’!

Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe held their own story writing competition with Year 7’s challenging them to re-write traditional folk tales with food in them with a modern twist. The best six stories were used in the workshops and shared with other schools involved in the project. To see what the pupils thought and how the teachers felt they could use the storytelling techniques in their own subjects watch the video here 

Seathorne Primary School really benefited from being part of a performance storytelling experience. ‘It was a major success and one the school will remember for a long time’.    

Dudley and Solihull at the Three Laureates Festival at the Birmingham Conservatoire

Forty-five pupils from Olive Hill, Dudley, and Yew Tree, Solihull, had an intensive day in workshops with Anna before coming together for one rehearsal only prior to performing in front of an audience of over 300 at the Birmingham Conservatoire as part of the Three Laureates Festival. Word perfect, full of confidence and joy, the children performed with gusto and embraced their time in the limelight. The words, messages and gestures were created by them and improvised on the day when required – a demonstration of how children should never be under-estimated!

The video of this will be available shortly and will be tweeted and referred to in the blog.

Resources will be available to download soon including ideas for a Story Sack based on the story of Baba Yaga and recipes from the project.