Heritage Interpretation & Community Engagement
My work with heritage sites has seen me write, produce and perform interactive stories that bring history alive for children and encourage the next generation to invest in their heritage and local community. In addition I train volunteers and staff to tell these stories so that sites can continue to perform them as part of their educational offer.
'Thank you so much for coming down today, it was a pleasure to have you as always!
Paige Beggs, General Manager Winchester Venues, Hampshire Cultural Trust.
I work with a variety of different museums to bring history to life for visitors, telling stories inspired by the artifacts and tales told around the fire, by the many groups of people, through time, who made the British landscape their home.
I currently work regularly with The Weald And Downland Living Museum, Butser Ancient Farm, Gilbert White's House & Gardens, Winchester Museum and Petersfield Museum.
Heritage Interpretation Through Storytelling
I can often be found at The Weald And Downland Living Museum for storytelling, folklore and living history that spans 1300 years, from the Anglo Saxon era to the Victorians.
'We loved your stories. The kids even re told the story of stingy Jack to their Dad'
Kim, Visitor, Review via Kids And Me Adventures.
'I and my step granddaughter 4 yrs were entranced by a story teller who told us about the queen rat, her treasure and a hapless labourer who cleaned out the cess pits during the night. Most entertaining and not a sound was heard from the spellbound audience both adult and children of all ages. That tells you something.'
Steve H, Visitor, Review via Trip Advisor.
The South Downs National Park Authority: July 2022 - July 2023
As maternity leave cover for the Place and Interpretation Officer at South Downs National Park Authority, I was the lead on all interpretation projects, working with multiple partners and stakeholders, to communicate the unique wildlife, heritage and the landscape found across the 100 miles of the South Downs, creating engaging interpretation, that encourages partnership and custodianship
Over the year I produced copy for and oversaw the design and installation of, multiple traditional interpretation boards for different communities and habitats within the National Park. Produced two walking tours one of which I researched, scripted and recorded. Produced content for the park’s social media channels in the form of articles, podcasts, folklore and storytelling videos. Wrote articles for their magazine, press and website. Developed, scripted and produced an innovative accessible audio tour which explores the nature, landscape and seasons of the Seven Sisters Country Park.
The Petersfield Museum: May 2021 - April 2022
Whilst working with The Petersfield Museum I researched, wrote and performed a story that encompassed the history of the barrows on Petersfield Heath. 'The Spirit Of The Heath' is a tale spanning 4000 years told through the eyes of a Bronze Age girl and is now part of their education offer for children aged 7-11.
'I loved the script, it is exactly what I was thinking of.'
Ryan Watts, Learning & Community Engagement Officer, Petersfield Museum.
'From the start to the end of the project Dawn was both thorough and professional in her approach. She took the time to get to know our site and appreciate the special qualities of the place. She then undertook meticulous research to create stories which truly captured the personalities of the explorers celebrated in our museum, as well as bringing to life some of the unsung heroines in the form of mothers, aunts and sisters so that female voices were brought to the fore. '
Fiona Oakley, Learning Programmes Manager, Gilbert White Field Studies Centre
Gilbert White's & The Oates Collection: April 2021 - December 2021
The Gilbert White's & Oates Collection at Selbourne commissioned me to research, write and perform three stories on the theme of explorers, looking at the work of Gilbert White, Frank Oates and Apsley Cherry-Garrad.
'Flowers For The ZigZag Path' explored the observations of Gilbert White and the wildlfie found at the Wakes. 'A Difficult Attainment,' looked at Frank Oates' explorations of South Africa and the boxes of artefacts he frequently sent home to his mother, and the final story 'Mission Penguin Egg,' took the audience on a journey to the Antarctic, in the footsteps of Apsley Cherry-Garrad, through the use of a soundscape.
Portsmouth Archives For Portsmouth City Of Stories: May 2019 - February 2020
Working with Portsmouth Archives as part of their 'Portsmouth City Of Stories' project, to interpret the history found in the archives and oral histories housed at Central Library, Portsmouth. I researched and scripted two stories for KS1/KS2 pupils: 'The Nightwatch' and 'The Missing Pantalons'. I then performed these stories at various libraries in Portsmouth in January 2020.
'I thought the event went really well and your stories were great.'
Clare Forsyth, Portsmouth Libraries, Portsmouth City Council.
'DD Storyteller, was exceptionally professional in the setting up of her contract with us. She paid attention to detail and thoroughly engaged in the researching the history of Staunton Country Park in the development of her story and script. '
Katrina Foxton, Heritage & Community Engagement Officer, Staunton Country Park.
Staunton Country Park, Havant, Hampshire: January 2019 - April 2019
Tasked with bringing the world of George Staunton to life though interactive story and share his love of China with visitors to Staunton Country Park, I designed a Tea Treasure Hunt for families with children aged 5-11.
The project culminated in a tea festival treasure hunt around the park where visitors discovered the life of George Staunton, his gardens at Staunton and the importance of his work with the East India Company and his embassies to China.
Buster Ancient Farm, Chalton: January 2018 - September 2018
I produced two stories for Butser Ancient Farm, weaving the magical and ancient elements of the site, into stories for families. One aimed at those with 3-8 year olds entitled 'The Missing Manx Loughtan' and one for those with 7 -12 year olds entitled 'The Hunt For The Aurochs'. Both use elements of costume and song to bring the old ways and the tales of Butser to life.
Four days of storytelling over the summer launched these stories and they have now been passed to the volunteers who I have trained and supported in their first performances over Summer and Autumn at the farm.
'In every phase - conception, writing, delivery and training – Dawn has been outstanding. '
Maureen Page, Director, Butser Ancient Farm
''THANK YOU for your help with this project and the AMAZING way you have brought the history to life.'
Paul Del-A-More, Senior Project Manager, Country Parks Transformation,Hampshire County Council.
Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley: January 2017 - April 2018
As a Consultant Storyteller for Royal Victoria Country Park, I created three performance stories that interpreted the history of Netley Military Hospital, once situated in the parkland, bringing history alive for 3-12 year olds and creating a unique programme of interactive storytelling for the park's visitors. 'Pip & Estelle', 'The Time Travelling Train' and 'The Postman's Letters' all used characters from the historical records of what would have once been a working militrary hospital and brought history to life for family audiences over four days of performances.
This work was part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project to refurbish the chapel and is one of the educational elements of the project.
Over the spring and summer of 2021, Dawn undertook a project to create three interactive stories for our museum. From the start to the end of the project Dawn was both thorough and professional in her approach. She took the time to get to know our site and appreciate the special qualities of the place. She then undertook meticulous research to create stories which truly captured the personalities of the explorers celebrated in our museum, as well as bringing to life some of the unsung heroines in the form of mothers, aunts and sisters so that female voices were brought to the fore. Dawn's imaginative and creative approach means she finds many different ways to tell stories- the stories she created for our museum are interactive and multisensory, using both objects and sounds to take the audience to the darkness of an Antarctic winter or the savannah of Africa. Dawn researched, purchased and assembled the prop boxes which are an integral part of the stories. The stories Dawn created are continuing to entertain audiences both as part of our school's programme and as a part of our visitor offer.
Fiona Oakley, Learning Programmes Manager, Gilbert White Field Studies Centre
'Dawn wrote and developed two special stories for Butser Ancient Farm. She delivered the stories to test them and then trained and supported a group of volunteers to tell the stories. It has been a real pleasure to work with Dawn. She is creative, responsive, happy to make changes and very professional. Her story telling is greatly enjoyed by her audiences and her ability to share and develop those skills in others is a delight. I hope we can work with her again in the future.'
Sue Weber, Project Co-Ordinator, Buster Ancient Farm
In every phase - conception, writing, delivery and training – Dawn has been outstanding. Her research into the specific periods dealt with in each story, as well as her understanding of our particular requirements was excellent. Dawn consulted and sought feedback at every stage of the development of the project. Her engagement with the process and, in particular, with the members of our staff and our volunteers whom she trained was utterly first class.
Dawn has developed stories, delivered costumes and props, and engendered enthusiasm and skills in our storytellers which are now tangible assets for our business. We would recommend Dawn to any prospective client without hesitation.'
Maureen Page, Director, Buster Ancient Farm
DD Storyteller, was exceptionally professional in the setting up of her contract with us. She paid attention to detail and thoroughly engaged in the researching the history of Staunton Country Park in the development of her story and script. The materials she sourced were highly creative and she was flexible with the content of her story, so as to fit it with our requirements. Lastly, during the days performance of the story, Dawn had to gage attention of about 40 people in total during high winds—which she carried off with animation and grace! A pleasure to work with, looking forward to future projects with her.”
Katrina Foxton, Staunton Country Park, Hampshire.