Stories from the Forests

A series of six, hour long workshops that use maps and fairy tales to create a fantastical world to help us think about our own community.

Suitable for Key Stage 3 – 5 and adult groups

In fairy tales, the forest is a place of transformation. It’s a place away from the established order where characters confront the problems that face them. Solutions and new beginnings emerge from the forest. Taking ideas from Daniel’s collaborative book, Stories from the Forests of Leeds, this series of workshops asks participants to imagine their hometown as a forest. What sort of characters might live there? What stories might emerge?

Through this series of workshops, participants create a magic realism world using large A-Z maps to construct characters based on place names. Participants develop their characters using drama techniques such as hot seating, creating backstory and writing setting description with a focus on the senses. Participants engage in playful, cross-curricula learning as they make connections with other characters, creating objects, geographies, histories and mythologies. They explore different types of writing, for instance monologue, dialogue, description, newspaper articles and poetry. Once invested in their writing, a threat to their fictional community is revealed, prompting a critical question and an exploration of narrative, plot and structure. How will they respond to the conflict? What wisdom will they generate to deal with the challenge?

There are six workshops in this series, all between 60 and 90 minutes, covering character development, setting, worldbuilding, structure and plot. The material can be adapted to suit the length of time you have. Some of the workshops stand alone, others can be combined to make day-long or weekend sessions. Let me know what your requirements are, and I can suggest the best combination.

“Interesting and thought-provoking. The series of story-telling workshops…had that elusive quality of actually inspiring me to write! Highly recommended.”

Helen Sykes, Stories from the Forests of Leeds, Course Participant