What’s Your Story?

Yesterday we hosted the 3rd annual Storytelling Competition for schools in Heathfield, Whitton and West Twickenham. It was a truly inspiring event featuring 59 very young storytellers from 9 schools. Some of the children were as young as six and they were all engaging, charming storytellers.

As a professional storyteller I was included initially 3 years ago to give INSET training to teachers from the schools involved. The workshop ended up with more than 20 teachers taking part. This was an introductory session providing a few techniques to help them introduce oral storytelling into their lessons. Some of the schools were happy to take this and have developed their own programmes. Some invited me in for further follow up sessions. These included both staff and pupils which was fantastic. The result has been than the kind of stories we get to hear each year are varied and showcase different oral literacy skills depending on the focus the school has chosen.

Last night we had a panel of 4 judges: Tony Robinson: actor, writer and comedian; Rebecca Matthews: lecturer St Mary’s University; Stephen Keeler: freelance teacher, writer and education consultant; Melanie Taylor: author, creative writing tutor.

Although none of our judges are storytellers themselves they have all demonstrated an understanding of the art form and were helped with a list of qualities to look out for. I was glad not to be on the panel, it was a very hard task last night! When the awards were presented Tony Robinson made a beautiful speech and he was visibly moved by what he had witnessed. None of the children had props or costumes the beauty of their storytelling came from allowing them to be themselves.

We are already planning next year’s event!

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