Alphington Storytelling Workshops

alphingtonI’m amazed by how much fun you can have devising stories out of thin air. I’m also happily surprised at the invention and imagination of our young.

Just last month I visited a lot of places. Mainly for Local Councils and Libraries, but schools as well. The Drawing workshops have been running hot this summer with many kids getting outdoors and sketching up a storm. Yet Alphington Primary School elected for a couple of “Storytelling Wildfire Workshops” as they developed characters, their heroes and villains, created settings to come up some super-dooper storylines.

In the workshops we explored so much. We developed an idea, choose a hero, created a Villain. Then started to work up our plots. We had to have some magic power or object and the hero and villain were opposites. Both stories ended up being about super heroes saving the world from fantastic fresh villains. Both had amazing potential.

The first Class, decided their hero was a child-sized bunny named Evie with super powers. Evie could out jump anything with her bunny feet and this came about when she swallowed a magic gem embedded in a carrot. They wanted a risque titled book with attitude and thus “Evie the Bunny that Kicks Butt!” Was born. Evie had a sidekick – a Ninja Gorilla and some pretty cool moves herself. They quickly find themselves saving the world from a the Great White Hunter who wants to “ensnare” the world in his magical nets. Evie gets trapped once and if it wasn’t for her sidekick she’d be doomed. But after the world is caught in the Great White Hunter’s master plan and everyone is doomed. Evie’s 400 strong bunny brothers and sisters discover the net is made from carrot flavoured rope. Starving after days in the net they eat their way out. Evie and her Sidekick quickly find the Great White Hunter, Kick his butt! Then they artfully turn his own weapon on himself and entrap him for eternity. Which sounds like a long time in rabbit years! The end!

The second class, created “BOB Stormmaker and the Evil Seal” A penguin named Bob who has a very special power -he can control the weather! Is forced to save the world against the evil “Jabba the Hutt” sized Seal and his schools of evil tuna fish. Seal has a fantastic new toy – a satellite that will bring on global warming and melt the ice caps and his penguin friends will all die! Before he loses control of the weather Bob creates a black ice mirror on the ocean and reflects the heat wave back into space taking out the satellite and spoiling Seal’s evil plot. Yet the Seal creates another invention to heat the ocean and again this forces a showdown. Bob creates a storm so high and vast that it lighting strikes Seals new invention and the waves are so angry they take out all the evil tuna fish and wash them as pre-made sushi rolls on all major beaches.

But instead of killing Seal he decides to freeze him in a special ice block and keep him as a living example to others that try and mess with Bob Stormmaker! This sounds like a series that could go places and the class was already onto their next villain.

What I love about doing this workshop is that the whole class participates in developing a story and they all get to toy with ideas and plot turns and twists. It’s like progressive brainstorming and effective in teaching kids the building blocks to classic storytelling.

I ended each session with a Storytime, but I had to be quick as the bell was about to ring for some well deserved morning tea and by mid morning – lunch!

A big thanks for Alphington Primary School for their undivided attention and enthusiasm.


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