Tag Archives: learning

April to June: What they said..

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.

This year I have seen the amount of work I do swell.  More than ever before I am being asked to travel across the country to work with young people and adults on all manner of projects.  As the school year ends I thought I would share a few of the comments from the past three months.

In March Private Peaceful was perhaps the largest single project I have ever undertaken and the feedback from it was phenomenal but rather than share what you can see on a dedicated page I have picked out testimonials from other workshops that I offer.

“Children from all ages and classes were engaged and buzzing from their work with you.”

Literacy Coordinator, Watling Lower School, Dunstable (Jack and the Beanstalk Workshop and Storytelling Day, May 2014)

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.“The staff said you were the best story teller they had ever experienced.”

Inclusive Coordinator, Sauncey Wood Primary School, Harpenden (The Unlucky Mummy Myths and Legends Day, May 2014)

and perhaps my favourite…

“‘I really get it now. Shakespeare was my worst thing before but now I understand that it’s meant to be fun and dramatic.'”

Year Eight, Shenfield High School, Shenfield (Shakespeare’s The Tempest Workshop Sessions, May 2014)

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.

I’d be lying if I said that everybody adored my style of working and that there haven’t been difficult days along the way but the comments I choose to share here are my mandate for carrying on working into 2014-15.  They demonstrate my value and the difference my storytelling and workshop sessions make to young people and educational professionals.

I am incredibly lucky to have worked with some fantastic people during the current academic year (City Read London, Shrewsbury Children’s BookfestGuilden Morden Primary School and Hackney Museum) and much of my success is because of the wonderful, supportive people who give me such wonderful opportunities.

The Summer Reading Challenge 2014 has already kicked off what’s looking like a very exciting six months.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll be visiting you.

See also feedback from Jan-March

Qualifying my contribution to children’s learning

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.This week I am using my blog to qualify my impact on learning by sharing some of the testimony I have received in the past 3 months.

“The day was absolutely fantastic and the feedback from children and parents was brilliant. It was lovely to see the children echoing the language you used when writing stories the next day. They all thoroughly enjoyed the day so thank you!!”  Teacher, Wychwood Primary School, Shipton Under Wychwood (Traditional Storytelling and Presentation Day, January 2014)

“I can honestly say that this was one of our most successful days!
John totally engaged the children and especially a group of boys who usually show very little interest in drama, storytelling or writing! The next day the children were still talking about John’s visit and the tips he had given them for story writing. I call that money well spent!” Headteacher, Gillibrand Primary School, Chorley (Classic Storytelling and Workshop Day, February 2014)

“Again, a fabulous day much enjoyed and talked about by the children all week… They have also been inspired to write their own poems and stories – ” Teacher, South Malling Primary School, Lewes (Alfred Noyes’ “The Highwayman“, February 2014)

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.Each of these teachers work in very different social, economic and geographic settings and yet their feedback demonstrates that my stories and workshops manage to transcend such obstacles, appealing to young people nationwide.  They also point to a lasting impact and legacy.

Positive and constructive feedback is always appreciated but I’d like to finish this piece by sharing a lovely comment I received from a school in Liverpool.  Leaving London at 5.30am I made it to Anfield for a 10.45am start.  I led a story and workshop session and was back in the big smoke by 7.45pm.  The children were wonderful to work with but getting this comment from their teacher made an epic trip to Merseyside more than worthwhile.

“The children got a lot out of the workshop! Thank you.”  Teacher, Whitefield Primary School, Liverpool

Related blogs

Fairy Tale Stepmothers do ave’em! – my thoughts on female Fairy tale villains

See also A Tale of Two Newspapers – a piece about performing in Chorley (my home town)

See also “The Highwayman” from an Ostler’s point of view – my thoughts on rewriting Alfred Noyes’ “The Highwayman”

See also Why Mickey Flanagan isn’t joking – my thoughts on quality

The Great Fire of London

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.Recently I have being doing a lot of history projects in the name of education; The Gun Powder Plot, The Princes in the Tower and The Great Fire of London.

In 2013 it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear that a lesson was being in some way led or influenced by an artist but theatre’s relationship with education is historic.

As a visual and aural medium theatre has always been an effective method of communicating information quickly to an illiterate society.  The Greeks used comedy and drama to make social and political points, Mystery plays were a popular way of sharing the stories of the Bible with Medieval audiences and even William Shakespeare got in on the act with a series of plays we now recognise as his histories.

John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.Why though, are there so few plays concerning The Gun Powder Plot and The Great Fire of London?

I don’t really have an answer to this but I do have a couple of theories.

In the case of The Gun Powder Plot (the failed attempt to blow up the opening of Parliament and King James I in 1605 – “Remember, remember the 5th of November”) and to some extent The Great Fire of London (a fire in Pudding Lane leads to 4 days of devastation in 1666) my initial thought is that perhaps there were plays and they weren’t good enough to survive the test of time or that I just don’t know them if they are out there.John Kirk is a storyteller and drama facilitator specialising in drama workshops and theatre for young people.

My second thought is that 17th Century England is a politically volatile place where the censor still dictates what is appropriate for the public.  The Gun Powder Plot is an attempt on the life of a reigning monarch at the beginning of the century.  In 1643 Charles I was executed after a Civil War and England became a republic for almost ten years before the restoration of the monarchy and finally James II being run out of England for being Catholic.

Socio-political statement might also have jarred with the increasing public appetite for Restoration Comedy as the likes of Wycherley (The Country Wife) and Moliere (Tartuffe) titillate audiences with plays about gossip and the naughtiness of society.

My final theory and the one I’m sticking to as to why there are no really great plays about two of England’s most famous historical events is health and safety.  Plays about fire and combustion tend not to mix well with wooden theatres!  Perhaps sense prevailed and they left these two topics for another generation.