Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Stories Alive!...a beginning

Once upon a time in Burnley...

storymaking calls for lively action....

A new project is slowly uncurling its storytelling horns and peeping its beautiful face out of its shell…(I like snails). Stories Alive! has placed 5 artists in 5 Nursery Schools (see below) in and around Burnley in East Lancashire. Our teams have been challenged to develop sets of activities to help embed storytelling and storymaking in Nursery practice, in families and in the children we are all working with
wordcloud: what are we doing, what do we remember?
We began a couple of weeks ago with an InSeT evening with 50 staff from across the Nurseries reminding themselves of skills they've already learned and processes they already use. Initially, this was a slightly daunting process when I saw how confident the group were in their storymaking (what could we contribute?). Reassuring, too: here are teams of people who remember previous training (a year or more ago with Carol Graham from Storyspace), take new ideas on board and are ready to take risks. Great! So we went on to make up new stories and build little books to help hold our stories together
Pippa in action
Then we all gathered at the wonderful Burnley Youth Theatre for children and staff to meet their artists and create their first stories together. All? Yes, ALL. There were buses ferrying small figures from all over the place, converging on their slightly anxious artists. Over two days some 300 children and assorted staff and parents joined us at the theatre. And we all survived! And we didn't lose anyone (or not that we've heard yet!). And it was fun!

Now, as the snowdrops prepare to flower, our teams of teachers, children, artists and parents are ready to flower too!  Over the next few weeks, workshops will explore ideas and develop activities. Our artists aren't there to simply go in and deliver a storymaking workshop here or there. Our role is indeed to bring our expertise but to find ways of sharing skills and developing programmes that suit the individuals and communities of our Nurseries

And every so often we'll all meet and share experiences, swap artists, try each other's activities and watch this old Toad worrying about whether he's booked enough coaches

As the project develops we'll post moments here - for project members to enjoy and, hopefully, for my wider blog-visitors to see what we're up to

Hannah Stringer
Gordon MacLellan - Creeping Toad - me!


and they all lived.....
Stories Alive! is supported by Arts Council England

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