Storytelling For Heritage & Community Projects
'Tell me a fact and I'll learn.
Tell me a truth and I'll believe.
But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.'
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. A Victorian military hospital, Neolithic house, Iron Age sheep, embassies to China, the Night Watch, Regency dockyards, Antarctic explorations and the work of Gilbert White have all appeared in my stories.
Below are examples of previous and ongoing consultancy work. If you have a project you would like me to work with you on, please use the contact form below and we can discuss the possibilities.
The Petersfield Museum: May 2021 - Continuing
The Petersfield Museum have commissioned me to research, write and perform a story that encompasses the history of the barrows on Petersfield Heath. Pilot performances are due over the autumn. Please watch my events pages for more information.
Gilbert White's & The Oates Collection: April 2021 - Continuing
The Gilbert White's & Oates Collection at Selbourne has commissioned me to research, write and perform three stories on the theme of explorers, looking at the work of Gilbert White, and Frank and Lawrence Oates.
Over the summer we piloted the stories for family audiences. '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.
I will be training staff to delive rthe stories in the Spring 2022.
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 and performed these stories at various libraries in Portsmouth in January 2020.
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.
Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley: January 2017 - April 2018
As a Consultant Storyteller for Royal Victoria Country Park, I have created stories that interpret 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. This work has been as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project to refurbish the chapel and is one of the educational elements of the project, bringing history to life for families visiting the park.
With four days of storytelling and four performances a day, I told tales of the people who used to live and work at Royal Victoria Military Hospital with the bats in the belfry, Pip and Estelle. Then, dressed as the signalman of Netley train station, I took the audience on a journey through the decades on a time-travelling train and deciphered a hidden message in the tickets. Finally I was the postman at Netley, with postcards to deliver, but my postbag was in a muddle. I needed the audience's help to discovered the author of the unsigned letter, before they could escape!
For the final stage of the project I trained volunteers in storytelling basics and taught them how to perform the stories I have written. I then supported their first performances and ensured that the volunteers were able to confidently tell the stories, as part of the parks ongoing educational offer.
'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.
'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.