Lead Artist: Performance Storyteller Dominic Kelly
Project Manager John Hall
with Sir John Barrow School,Ulverston.
Every year since 2018 the children of Sir John Barrow School in Ulverston have worked over several weeks with internationally renowned storyteller Dominic Kelly. The children learn a number of traditional tales or Norse Myths, along with a range of the performance skills that Dominic brings to his own work. They then take to the stage in front of a full house at the Coronation Hall to tell their stories as part of the Furness Tradition festival storytelling programme.
Rehearsal Sessions take place in school, at the Coro, and at the Sir John Barrow Cottage.
Following the first event we learned that the school intended to adopt Storyfair as its Arts Award project.
In 2020 during the pandemic the project was delivered online, with Dominic providing material for a further 10 of our local schools.
The video links tell the story of the project and something of the process, and were screened at Furness Tradition Festival as part of their online programme,
In 2021 we returned to the school, working safely outdoors on projection techniques for a promenade show in the school grounds
In 2022 we returned to the Coro, to perform in the Supper Room and mingle with the festival crowds and performers on what is always one of the best days in the town's calendar.
School staff comments include:
This project is fantastic! It is so much fun for the children and the educational benefits are huge.
Oral storytelling is so important in giving children a sense of a story It creates an instinctive understating of how a narrative should progress whether it is spoken or written. For some children who find writing challenging, taking away the pen and paper has given them freedom to express themselves and it has reactivated their love of English lessons. This motivation has continued beyond the end of the project.
Samples from the children's comments..
The past few weeks with you have been amazing...Ive learned lots of new stuff like gesture levels, using actions and confidence.
Ive enjoyed performing at the Coronation Hall. I was sort of scared (but not). I want to say something..THANK YOU! You have made me personally very confidant of speaking on stage. Its going to help me be a performer.
My favourite session was when we grabbed our stories and placed them in Ulverston. I loved it when we performed on saturday.
It really helped me with my confidence and to realise storytelling isnt a play where you can only be one character. In storytelling you can be as many characters as you want by zipping in. I love storytelling and I would love to do it again.
In year three I would barely read in front of my class but now I can read in front of the entire school.
I really enjoyed the settings of the stories with Dominic and it has given me the courage to write more stories and share them with my brothers.
It’s been a nice experience to learn how to tell stories and it has been nice meeting Dominic.
Dominic is the best storyteller ever and I really mean it.
I’m glad Dominic came in and I wish we can do it again.
It’s very cool how he acts out all the stories and he really inspired me.
There is more from Dominic on the philosophy behind his work and on his approach to our project in the Soft Drive book.