Working with children is a key part of my work. Children are searching to find their own special place in a world that can be strange, challenging and frightening. I like to reassure them on that emotional journey. Show them beauty and wonders. Make them laugh! I love to listen when children tell me stories in return. Love to feel that warm connection. Stories are a precious gift to humanity, and gifts are always more wonderful when shared.
PERFORMING FOR CHILDREN
Festivals, theatres, tourist sites, community venues, schools… I have an ever-expanding repertoire of stories for children aged 3+ and will happily plan a programme to suit your needs. I have been the storyteller-in- residence at many sites, including Eastnor Castle, Cadburyworld, Afan Forest Park (I specialise in woodland walks) and Margam Park.
This Hallowe’en I will again be in residence at Blenheim Palace for nine days of spooky fun!
Education is a BIG part of my work! I enjoy it enormously and find it hugely rewarding. For some children, meeting an author can be a life-changing experience. Suddenly the world becomes a place of possibilities. I talk about being a child, growing up in the back streets of Liverpool, reading books in my bedroom and dreaming of adventure. Of how I loved stories and, through hard work, stories became my career – my Golden Ticket that carries me all around the world. It’s heady stuff!
I work NATIONALLY and INTERNATIONALLY in schools.
I work with Nursery – Year 9, and can offer a host of age-appropriate workshops and performances. I can come as a storyteller or an author, or as a combination of the two. I am very flexible!
A full school day usually consists of 3 or 4 x 50/60 minute story sessions or workshops. It is possible to mix and match sessions eg a KS1 performance + a KS2 performance + two writing workshops.
Performances can accommodate up to 200 children. Workshops are maximum 35.
A few suggestions…
Infant story sessions: World Tales, Once Upon a Rhyme (famous fairy tales, with Cat dressed as a fairytale princess!), Shine (stories on the theme of light, UK only), Bear Tales (with gorgeous bear and teddy bear hand puppets UK only)
World Tales, Meet the Author book sessions and/or:
Three Black Tee Shirts – How to Create Better Ideas Dedicated workshop for Years 5 & 6 that specifically looks at ideas and how to raise your game. Yields results in just one hour, with some kids making a massive leap forward in confidence.
Something Wonderful A creative writing workshop on the theme of the Quest. The workshop is a lesson in clear reasoning, debating, collaboration and the acceptance of others’ ideas, as several creative options are (unexpectedly) reduced down to one. The boardroom meets the classroom!
Speed Storytelling have the whole class story mapping and storytelling in just one hour!
The Princess and her Three Suitors: A collaborative story-making session, in which the children become Story Detectives to uncover the patterns in traditional tales using a folk tale from India. The children learn about the storyteller’s ‘Magic 3’ and the importance of suspense.
I have stories that swiftly engage seniors and can spin off into writing work.
True Life Six-Word Stories Cat leads the students in an exploration of their own life stories, to find moments in which they were strong. These stories are then reduced down into six-word stories. Largely an oral workshop, this is life-affirming work that encourages a quiet celebration of self.
Stars Poetry Workshop. Cat explores her belief that poetry should be an expression of emotion. Through guided imagery, students will identify the emotion they are feeling then express it through writing verse. This can also be expanded into a Stars & Shakespeare poetry workshop.
How to write cinematically: especially good for talented writers/ G & T.
WONDER AND MAGIC: SPECIALIST INFANT LITERACY SESSIONS (UK only)
Dedicated website: www.wonderandmagic.com
These are specialist creativity and literacy sessions for infants on the theme of LIGHT.
I use a multi-sensory approach: musical instruments, computer-generated soundscapes, props, puppets, wondrous things, stories… and lots of me! By the end of an hour-long session, children are buzzing with endless ideas for new stories.
‘The most AMAZING workshop we have ever had! Our heads are exploding with ideas on how we can use things with children to fire them up.’ KS1 teachers, Aylburton C of E Primary School
I offer two after-school sessions, lasting 60 – 70 mins.
Speed Storytelling + Q&A
Essentially the same session I offer to juniors, so teachers can learn the technique then re-do the workshop with their classes. Good to see story mapping in action and also to learn how to strip down a tale to the basics and rebuild it as your own. This is an essential part of learning how to ‘tell’ a story rather than read it from a book.
What Storytelling has Taught Me
A very popular session because it is NOT interactive! At the end of a long day, sometimes staff are happy to listen but are (understandably) less keen to join in. This session is an enjoyable mix of a teen/adult story plus the life lessons I have learned from being a storyteller, as they relate to the classroom. It also includes some rhymes for younger children, lots of ‘tricks of the trade’ and gentle Q&A.
One teacher once told me she loved the session because she was not asked to apply it to her work practice there and then. Instead she was able to sit back and enjoy the stories without feeling pressured, and take the advice away with her 🙂