As part of their celebration of National Storytelling Week, children at Tollerton Primary School enjoyed some literary treats thanks to a collaborative project with Nottingham Playhouse.
On Tuesday 2nd February, children across all year groups, whether they were attending school or learning from home, marveled as they engaged in storytelling masterclasses with Sarah West Valstar and Rob Throup from the Playhouse’s Participation department.
Stories included The Magic Toys for the younger children and The Magic Paintbrush and Treasure Hunters for those in the older year groups. Sarah and Rob’s warm-ups, intonation and one or two props coupled with their incredible ability to relate to their audiences, enabled the children to participate fully when they were given the opportunity to retell the stories.
On Thursday 4th, Tom Hopcroft, who played Kylie in the recent production of Cinderella, captivated the younger children with his engaging rendition of The Huge Umbrella, a story that, very aptly, focuses on how we can all work together, without barriers, and how we can all show kindness.
The older children learned all about Colonel Harland Sanders, a soldier who fought in WWII and went on to become founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). It was humbling for children and staff alike to hear such a heartwarming story about someone who achieved enormous success despite facing adversity along the way. Certainly, a tale that proves the benefits of persevering!
Aside from the stories, children had an opportunity to learn about life as a Performing Artist, from swift costume changes, to walking in high heels and being a set designer to actually ‘treading the boards’.
Arya from Class 2 said “It was really special having actors from Nottingham Playhouse to read us a story. It was so exciting.”
Headteacher Caroline Aldrich said, “We are constantly striving to discover innovative ways to engage our children. Before Christmas, we all had the privilege of watching the Playhouse’s virtual pantomime Cinderella and developing the partnership with an organisation which is very much a Nottingham institution, seemed a very logical and exciting next step.
“There is genuine beauty in a story well told where there is embellishment and added drama and an experience like this for children brings so many benefits from their oracy to their comprehension and of course, developing a love of reading, something which we believe is so important. The project dovetailed beautifully with Children’s Mental Health Week, there is nothing like finding some escapism in a book!”
Luci Gordon the school’s Deputy Head and Reading lead said “Collaborative partnerships bring a very welcome added dimension to teaching and learning and it was delightful to see the faces of the children as they were absorbed in such incredible storytelling. We are very grateful to staff at the Playhouse for their support and are hoping to have further partnerships with them.”