Asking for feedback from school is a key tool for me to discover what works and what doesn’t. How I can improve what I offer.
The Reviews Are In…
Extracted from a recent feedback from the commissioner of a full days Storytelling in a Primary School. Reception to Year 6. (For the full response see below…)
Feedback and reviews. A qualitative capture for reflection and learning. An opportunity to promote your wares based on the recommendations of others. And always true story…
I love my days storytelling in schools. Weaving words into magic, inspiring creativity and sparking imaginations. Always my intended outcomes. But I am also a fan of mischief, of laughter and of looking at things from a different angle. This is the driver behind one of my storytelling themed days: ‘Traditional Tales: With a Twist…’
A day when I land with my PopUp Immersive Storytelling space and make some noise!
(See flyer image for an example timetable below.)
So many stories we tell children have an inbuilt ambiguity. A moral compass that can on the surface be seen as a triumph of right over wrong. However if we introduce the idea that the narrator is unreliable, then the stories suddenly can be twisted. The familiar made uncertain and exciting. A classic approach in literature and poetry we can see in Angela Carter, Carol Anne Duffy and Stephen Sondheim but also widely across many picture books for children. Retellings that place the wolf in the various stories as an unwitting aggressor. For me the wolf is a creature driven by instinct. Perhaps also with terrible allergies…
I enjoy the moment of ‘reveal’. When the unfamiliar becomes suddenly very familiar. I talk about this before I start and introduce a subtle ‘knowing nod’ opportunity for the young people. They can catch my eye, nod sagely and not spoil the ‘twist’ for others. They know, that I know, that they know what I know what many others don’t know… (I get those nods from the children sometimes before the teachers…)
And the mischief? Well its exciting, funny or even sad to see the tumult left behind a simple story. The heartbroken father trying to fix a chair made by his grandfather, callously shattered by the home invading flaxen haired youth. The injured and frightened Giant, fallen from a great height, trying to recapture his goose friend from the burglar intend on the golden eggs…
Lots of laughter, some tension. (Even ‘U’ rated films contain Mild Peril) Sparking the desire to retell the story as their own or even start to rewrite these stories that we have become so familiar with.
And so my reviews? Well as I say I do enjoy mischief… I also compare a monthly comedy club for children. Funny Looking Kids: Comedy Club, at the Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool. There is a long tradition of cherry picking words and phrases out of a review to present a particular impression. Perhaps I could have selected mine better? Perhaps it’s a twist? A long way of letting me share with you a lovely piece of feedback and as a narrator I am using the conceit of irony to mask my intentions?
Look if you realise thats the case, please don’t spoil it for the others? Catch my eye and nod ‘knowingly’ and then you will know that I know that you know what not everybody else might know. If you know what I mean?
‘…ALL pupils were engaged and ALL staff thoroughly enjoyed it. My year sixes loved the ‘edgy’ humour and laughing at totally ‘inappropriate’ (but totally appropriate!) jokes and observations, as well as the merciless bullying of their teacher! A great day remembered by all – the technology was incredible but, dare I say it, not even necessary with such an engaging storyteller. Excellent feedback from parents too.”
Year 6 Class Teacher – Childwall CE Primary School
Includes a new and free after school Family Storytelling session.
Based on a two form entry.
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Or have a peep at the Storytelling Page HERE.