On 21 April a group of 30+ children were tasked with creating advertising campaigns for Sussex businesses using the art of storytelling at Story Factory Chichester. With a choice of briefs from Pink’s Vintage Ice Creams, The Sweet Jar, Russells Garden Centre and Sussex Arts Academy, the 6-13-year-olds set to work designing posters including logos and straplines consistent with the local business’ brands.
David Sword of Sussex Arts Academy was delighted that he could join the Story Factory team while the children got stuck into the creative writing and drawing element of the day. He thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see how the artworks for a future SAA project came together and how the attendees, of various age-groups and from various backgrounds, shared their ideas, inspiration and zeal.
“Story Factory is well planned and professionally delivered. The children have a lot of fun. It’s inclusive and all children, whatever their age or level, are able to contribute positively and achieve well. The multi-arts basis of the activities provides a really good platform for children to explore their creativity and develop their confidence”. When asked what he enjoyed most, David added: “Seeing the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the children – it’s fun, challenging and creative.”
After a lunch in the glorious sunshine, our resident music man, Mike Fry, was challenged with completing the outdoor assault course – book-on-head, against the clock. He made it in 20 seconds but the children felt his lack of hair was a distinct advantage!
Next up, was an excellent talk from BBC Radio and Sky News broadcaster and journalist Duncan Barkes who waxed lyrical about radio advertising. Emphasising the need to engage an audience when limited to 30 seconds and no visual aids, Duncan revealed the secret of AIDA (Action, Interest, Desire and Action) to the children as well as the use of emotive words to persuade and entice. Duncan rounded this off by bringing home the importance of storytelling – with a clear beginning, middle and end – in radio advertising.
West Sussex writer and former radio presenter Vicky Edwards, who founded Story Factory Chichester with Chichester Copywriter’s Katy Lassetter in 2014, then shared sound clips with the children to illustrate Duncan’s points. The young creatives soon realised how sound effects (such as ticking clocks and rain) can signal time and place in a radio ad and that subtleties (including a change of voice or tone) can add even more colour and substance to a narrative. The children identified the other important features of radio ads such as repeating the name of the brand, product or service and the inclusion of contact details and a call to action.
Once Mike had warmed up the children’s voices (Chester cheetah chewed a chunk of cheap cheddar cheese – don’t you know?) and introduced all to the joys of creating sound effects, it was time for the children to team up and create their own radio ads, complete with jingles and wonderful stories so that they could perform them live to their parents and siblings at the end of day performance. This was a total hit and the children were duly rewarded with a special appearance from Mrs Whippy who turned up in her vintage ice cream van to give all Story Factory attendees an iced delight of their choice!
Not only were the children thoroughly impressed with their sweet treats but Katy of Pink’s Vintage Ice Cream Vans was blown away by the children and their creative efforts. When asked to sum up her experience of the day in three words, Katy replied: “Fun, laughter, empowering”. Mrs Whippy went on to describe Story Factory Chichester as: “A unique and original concept that allows young people to discover creativity in a professional, fun and supportive environment”. Katy added that the thing she enjoyed most about her Story Factory experience was: “Watching young people grow in self-confidence and self-esteem – literally in front of my eyes as each group presented their work. Incredibly empowering and very moving.” She continued: “The inclusive environment really contributed to the very warm, respectful and fun environment. I felt that this was achieved as a result of the unique experience and skills of the group facilitators.”
Thirteen-year-old Emily’s mum was also full of praise for the Story Factory team:
“Story Factory Chichester is Fun! Creative! Inclusive! And excellent value for money … I love the creativity of all the Story Factory workshops and Emily has been to three (maybe four). 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 had 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 … children were all proud of their writing and creative 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 too! 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.”
The parents of other Story Factory attendees summed up the day with the words: “Proud happy child” and: “A unique workshop offering creative space for children. My daughter loves it and looks forward to the next one!”
Vicky, Katy and the rest of the team are also looking forward to the next Story Factory Chichester, which is planned for Friday 27 October. Contact Katy today for my information or to request a booking form. In the mean-time, check out the Story Factory Facebook page for the latest photographs from the workshops and news of upcoming events.