Swindon Young Arts Leaders and the National Literacy Trust join forces for free storytelling month

By Jessica Durston - 16 February 2022

Arts and Culture

Swindon Young Arts Leaders and Prime Theatre will be holding free storytelling workshop events in connection with the National Literacy Trust, this February half term.

Swindon Young Arts Leaders have created a storytelling month of events for this February half term week, which will see a number of free workshops being offered to members of the public. 

Young people aged 13+ can take part in online workshops about storytelling in multiple forms; film, rap and animation.

Children and families will also be given the opportunity to explore telling stories through sign language and gesture in a Storytelling through a BSL workshop.

A spokesperson for the festival of events said: "We'll also be celebrating Mother Tongue day on Monday, 21 February by hosting a drop-in day of fun arts, crafts and drama activity for all ages at Swindon Central Library. Come and join the fun!"

The month's event schedule includes: 

  • Tuesday, 22 Feb, 1.30 - 2.30pm: Storytelling through Stop-Motion Animation (Open to all ages) 
  • Wednesday, 23 Feb, 1.30 - 3pm: Storytelling through Film (Ages 13+)
  • Thursday, 24 Feb, 1.30 - 3.30pm: Storytelling through BSL (Ages 13+)
  • Thursday, 24 Feb, 4 - 6pm: Storytelling through Rap (Ages 13+)

Young people taking part in the workshops will achieve a free Arts Award Discover certificate. Those who take part in multiple workshops and complete an Art Pack, will achieve an Arts Award Explore Certificate. 

Members of the public are being reminded that there is a limited amount of spaces and tickets available for each session, so booking sooner rather than later will help prevent disappointment. 

Storytelling Month is part of the National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign to celebrate the richness of people’s stories and experiences, lots of different cultures and raise awareness of the breadth of languages across Swindon.?

The launch comes after 2 in 5 children who speak multiple languages admitted they want their multilingual skills to be more recognised in school and reading about characters similar to them makes them feel more confident about themselves, according to National Literacy Trust research.

The Literacy Trust found a third of UK children admitted they do not see themselves in the books they read, according to a survey that 6,000 children and young people undertook. It found that 33% of children did not see themselves in stories, with the proportion increasing to 40% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds, and to 46% of children from black ethnic backgrounds.

Anish Harrison, Swindon Stories Hub Manager, said: "We are so excited to be teaming up with Prime Theatre on this campaign to celebrate the voices, accents and experiences of people across Swindon. 

“Storytelling Month is a great response to the findings of our survey that 2 in 5 children who speak multiple languages admitted they want their multilingual skills to be more recognised in school. It aims to gives families and communities the tools and stories to feel proud of their heritage and explore literary traditions together.

“It’s been such an incredible opportunity to tap into the languages across the town and has contributed towards families and friends having some really special intergenerational conversations about their history.

“We hope families and individuals have enjoyed digging into their past, the richness of their community’s voices and experiences, and feel more confident to tell their own stories and get their voice heard.

“I’d like to thank Prime Theatre for helping make this happen, it is a real privilege to facilitate a project which involves so much of Swindon’s older and younger generations. It’s a wonderful initiative for showcasing a real need to diversify the schools booklists.”

Helen Morley, Creative Arts Programme Lead of Prime Theatre, said: “Young Arts Leaders are thrilled to be offering a free series of half-term workshops for all the family to enjoy.

“We can’t wait for you to try your hand at telling stories through rap, animation, sign language or film during our online zoom workshops. The young people have worked really hard to pull this event together and can't wait to celebrate all of Swindon's many languages and stories.”

More information and tickets can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/prime-theatre-19807617496

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