Thrilled to win the Contribution to the Arts award at December’s Observer Community Awards, Story Factory founders Katy Lassetter (of Chichester Copywriter) and Vicky Edwards are further delighted to report that as well as the regular Easter workshop in Chichester, an additional Story Factory workshop will take place in Arundel on Sunday 4 March.
Offering fun, imagination-stretching sessions in creative writing, art and music in one day, ‘Royals and Wrong’uns’ will be the theme for this storytelling workshop, which will take place at the historically inspirational setting of Arundel Town Hall, where guest experts will include historian and writer Mark Phillips and Story Factory’s resident music practitioner Mike Fry.
Steeped in history, Arundel’s landmarks make a glorious backdrop for children to people with their own stories. From royalty at the castle to smugglers on the river and inmates at the jail, historian Mark Phillips will begin the day by giving children a localised whistle-stop tour down the centuries, setting the stage for their own stories which they will also illustrate. Collectively, the group will take part in The Big Song Writing Challenge; a song based on their work that will be performed for parents at the end of the day. With plenty of fun and games along the way, there will also be storytelling sessions in the Cosy Corner for younger children.
Beginning life almost four years ago as a one-off workshop to gauge interest in storytelling through different mediums, at the heart of all activities is the aim of allowing children to explore their imaginations and their creativity and to encourage inventive flair. While guided, workshops are not prescriptive and this flexible approach enables a broad age range of participants (children aged approximately 6-13 years).
Past guests include authors, publishers, illustrators, story massage practitioners, and newspaper editors, all of whom have loved being part of such inventiveness and originality.
“Story Factory is fun, involving and inspiring,” said Sarah Peirson, mother of 10-year-old Kitty.
Jacqueline Harley, mum to eight-year-old Tom, adds, “Arts and Humanities are not really Tom’s forte, but he had such a lovely day – and was really positive about everything… I also loved the fact that he was so happy spending the day with a group of children who are far removed from his usual football and Minecraft interests. A fun and entertaining day, coupled with learning new skills – just perfect!”
While Grainne Saunders, mother to 14-year-old regular attendee Emily who has a variety of learning difficulties, dyslexia and hypermobility issues that make writing hard, says:
“Story Factory is Fun! Creative! Inclusive! And excellent value for money … I love the creativity of all the Story Factory workshops and Emily has been to at least four workshops. Each one is different, exceptionally creative and well thought-out. Emily, who needs extra support as she finds reading and writing quite tricky, loves the variation and choice of different activities. She is able to engage in physical stuff, speaking, listening and drawing better than ‘pen and paper’ focused writing activities. But the variety is fantastic so she loves it and feels included and can succeed throughout the day.
“[At the end of day performance] it’s really lovely to see what the children have been doing all day and for them to be proud and show off their achievements. I like the informality and natural flow. It’s not too polished because that is not the aim of the day.
“It’s really evident, when you see the faces of all the children at the end of the day, that everyone has really wanted to be at Story Factory and that everyone has had a great time … that includes the adults! As an onlooker, I have a strong impression that it’s been great fun for everyone.
The careful thought and thorough planning that goes into every workshop day is really evident. The children have a jam-packed creative day and my daughter always wants to go back for more. Thank you to Vicky and Katy for organising this. The magic of Mike, other supporting adults on the day and other invited guests bring the day to life! You are all very talented at what you do and I couldn’t thank you enough for running Story Factory… been a wonderful thing for my daughter.”
Sussex Arts Academy (SAA), which helps to connect artists in the community with children and young people in schools in order to enrich arts and cultural education, has a close partnership with Story Factory and helps to raise funding to support disadvantaged children to participate in their events. This time, SAA has helped Story Factory to secure funding and support from Arundel Town Council, who is looking to improve the offering of arts programmes for children in the local area.
David Sword, Operations Manager for SAA, said, “We are proud to be associated with Story Factory who provide inclusive, inspirational experiences for children. Their success is self-evident when you see the enthusiasm of the children and we were delighted when Story Factory recently won an Observer award for contribution to arts in the community.”
This children’s workshop will take place on Sunday 4 March at Arundel Town Hall. (10.00-16.00); there will be a sharing of work presented for parents of participants at the end of the day. For further details visit the Story Factory Facebook page. To book, contact Katy.