Justin Audibert on creating the Unicorn and National Theatre's Story Seekers project
The project helps state primary schools across the UK
Storytelling is timeless. Every culture across the globe has storytellers who have passed down tales from generation to generation to entertain each other, to share wisdom or pass on information. And the principal is always the same; you listen to the story and then you learn it and then you make it your own. Reimagining, adding even embellishing are what keep stories alive and relevant over thousands of years.
During lockdown we all missed out on the simple pleasure of sharing stories and recounting memories with our friends, and loved ones and now we are rediscovering the joys of telling stories to each other and within our communities once again. Oracy, or speaking and listening, is one of the biggest things that children have missed out on during the pandemic and as pupils return to school, it must be an integral part of their post-Covid curriculum. Through communicating with teachers, peers and members of their community, children learn about new ideas, cultures and customs as well as develop empathy and expand their vocabulary hugely.
Our new creative literary project, Story Seekers, in partnership with the National Theatre, was created to encourage children to have fun discovering and telling stories from their own communities and exploring those from different cultures and all around the world. It aims to support children to develop their communication and language skills post-pandemic, whilst promoting self-expression, wellbeing and reconnecting children with their school community.
Story Seekers sets children on an exciting mission to find, share and tell stories from across the globe, guided by short films, performances and digital workshops with professional leading storytellers. Teachers will follow a free scheme of work developed with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, attend CPD training and have access to digital resources to lead the project with their pupils.
More than ever, organisations across the industry need to work together to support the next generation of theatre-makers and audiences and we have a responsibility to ensure equal access to live performance, arts and creative opportunities as part of a balanced education.
The Unicorn's collaboration with the National Theatre marks an important partnership prioritising young people. By sharing and telling stories we create communal experiences, spark imaginations and inspire creativity, and we hope to support today's children to create a new legacy of stories for future generations to hear.
- Justin Audibert, Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre
To sign up your school to take part in Story Seekers, visit htttps://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/storyseekers.
Story Seekers is a six-week project free for UK state primary schools and runs each term. Sign up by 17 September to take part in the Autumn term.