Adaptation Series - Tell Tale Hearts

Natasha from Tell Tale Hearts

Following the Partner support session with schools, Create Sheffield met again with its Partners and a few other brilliant cultural practitioners on the 29th July to ask how they had changed their practice to respond to the Covid-19 situation, what innovations they were proud of, and what had been successful enough to repeat. Here is what Natasha from Tell Tale Hearts had to say:

How have you changed your practice to respond to the Covid-19 situation?

  • Tell Tale Hearts produced 4 interactive online stories over 4 weeks for families with young children to enjoy at home from our storytelling show, Suitcase Stories. The show is usually performed in schools, libraries, nurseries, theatres and festivals. As our storyteller wasn’t able to travel to these places on her flying carpet… she decided to take stories into people’s home through the magic web. It was a family project: filmed by daughter with son on props and making a cameo performance. Daughter taught me how to edit on my phone: eg. Fairy dust close up.

  • We were commissioned to run training for Early Year’s Practitioners & storytelling sessions for families in Abu Dhabi for The Bright Start Foundation in March 2020. After Covid, the storytelling sessions became a whole other project for parents in the summer: Parenting in a Pandemic. Live streamed Webinars for parents to help them to share stories in the home, or learn how puppetry can support communication with children who have Special Educational Needs.

What innovation are you most proud of and why?

  • It might be obvious but it was actually being able to share short stories (of around 10 – 12 mins) through Facebook’s video upload to enable families to both watch the videos and have a dialogue with the company afterwards. Most proud when a parent sent me a short video of their children’s free-play after watching the story of The Fisherman & the Ring – an hour of fishing fun ensued! 

  • Having to adapt my delivery & proposal to adjust to communicating with parents (instead of Early Years professionals) and being able to use my experiences as a parent to help inform what other parents are needing.

What has been successful enough to repeat?

  • The story adaptations to engage families were picked up by a few teachers on Facebook who went on to use the videos as part of their recommended home-learning or classroom activities. This has then led to a further commission: to make short lesson plans around the storytelling videos for a recovery curriculum for Barnsley Museums.

  • United Arab Emirates webinars are being repeated for an online conference for Early Childhood in November where artists will be communicating with professionals instead of parents, but where the learning from parent feedback can help inform how to make the practical elements of the webinars most effective.

You can view Suitcase Stories on the Tell Tale Hearts Facebook Page and keep up to date with their work on their website