As one of the leading storytellers, Jan Blake has been performing worldwide for over twenty-five years. Specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia, she has a well-earned reputation for dynamic and generous storytelling. Recent highlights include Hay Festival, where she was storyteller in-residence, the Viljandi Harvest Festival in Estonia and TEDx Warsaw.
As well as performing at all the major storytelling festivals both nationally and internationally, she works regularly with the British Council, leads storytelling workshops for emerging storytellers, and gives masterclasses for teachers, brands, and businesses. She also regularly captivates school children with mesmerising stories.
In 2011, she was the recipient of the biannual Thüringer Märchen Preis, awarded to scholars or performers who have devoted their lives to the service of storytelling. As part of the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012, she was the curator for Shakespeare’s Stories, a landmark exhibition that explored themes of journey and identity, in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
In 2013, The Old Woman, The Buffalo, and The Lion of Manding created and performed with musicians Kouame and Raymond Sereba toured to acclaim winning a British Awards for Storytelling Excellence (BASE).
Some stories abstract, passionate and violent, but most of all not meant for childrens ears. Experiencing worlds of love, hate, trickery and fate, you will be joining gods, animals and human beings on their journeys through their lives and hear, why they have become immortal through the tales of people.
With Kouame and Raymond Sereba
Duration: 120 mins
Duration: 90 mins
with Crispin Robinson
with William Pearce-Smith
With Percussive Accompaniment
With Percussive Accompaniment
From the Ananse in West Africa & the Caribbean to the Hodja in Turkey there are numerous stories that celebrate wit, wisdom and the quiet knowledge of the common man.
The telling of these stories demands the total presence of the teller on stage. You have to be there; in the rhythm, in the characters and in your interaction with the audience. We will use these stories to explore who you are, how you tell and how to develop your particular style of telling.
The shape shifter is either born or transformed by some magical force. These stories are sometimes frightening, always fascinating and a total body experience.
The exploration of these stories will focus on your ability to physically inhabit characters, developing a physical language for yourself, using movement & gesture. We will also explore your physical relationship with the space and the audience.
Tales of Heroes & Heroines.
The rhythm and pacing of a story is integral to its telling. From exposition to dialogue and inhabiting the character, the storytellers must know when the story needs them to linger for a while, when to move on, when to up the tempo and when to slow it down. As well as the integral rhythm, there is the rhythm in ring songs clapping games, body rhythms and call and response. Many of these rhythms we carry with us from childhood and can be used as tools for interaction with the audience and creating an atmosphere of joy.
The Storytellers’ Voice
Tales of Passion
The voice is a fundamental instrument for communicating your story. As a storyteller, it can be very easy to focus on the narrative twists and turns of a story, to lose oneself in the physical expression of the characters whilst neglecting the very means that allows you to utter those timeless words “Once Upon a time.” With the voice we can further develop the characters and communicate a truer experience to your audience.
“Jan works in a very clear and straight forward way to help us each find our own way of telling the stories. She helps bring out the very best in everybody and has a wonderful way of weaving coaching, theory and practice together in a very useful way.” -Marianne
“No other storyteller embodies and promises to reconnect you with your joy of storytelling, in the way that Jan does. And through it to find one’s voice and power. That was awesome!!!!” -Gaurie
“It was a transformative and wonderful week of hard work and much joy. Thank you so much Jan.” -Dvora
“I would summarise the approach as spontaneity based on a thoroughly informed and disciplined intuition. How do you teach that? Somehow Jan does, through example and lots of perceptive personal feedback. She draws out what’s best.” -Greg
“Jan is as powerful a teacher as she is a storyteller. She has guided me to the heart of storytelling with her acute insight and wisdom. She has helped me to lift the veil of uncertainty that has shrouded my performances in the past, revealing a deeper truth and authenticity in my work” -Alice
Storytelling can assist the teacher in providing different context for the development of the major programmes of study (as outlined in Key stages I, 2,3 & 4 of the National Curriculum. e.g. English, the Sciences, Maths and Design & Technology.)
From the simple storytelling session, which allows children the opportunity to listen to and comment on stories told, to the more complex and intricate workshops designed to stimulate imagination.
As well as providing a safe environment for the development of language and communication skills, storytelling workshops can also provide a forum in which children’s natural storytelling abilities can be harnessed and strengthened.
Key stages of the National Curriculum, UK
Storytelling is particularly valuable in facilitating language in the Multi-cultural classroom, in that the elements of storytelling are universal and provide opportunities for bi-lingual children to develop vocabulary through repetition and participation. Bi-lingual children may also have their cultural identity validated by having stories from their own linguistic tradition the focus of a group activity.
Bedtime Stories – is a 10 week project working with a storyteller and a visual artist
to learn and re-tell traditional stories, both orally & visually. The children will have opportunities to write the stories, so the focus is primarily on the importance of oral rehearsal. The children take a scene from their story and work with the artist to recreate that scene using textiles on a small panel. Each panel is then sewn onto a duvet so that each class will end up with a story quilt. This project has been developed for children in years 4 and 5 and aims to provides
A context for critical thinking and discussion on issues of importance
At the end of the 10 weeks the project will culminate in an exhibition of the quilt and the children performing their stories to the rest of the school and parents.
Bedtime Stories project was created in 2005 for primary schools by international storyteller and children’s author Jan Blake. Since then the project has been in residency as an Excellence in Cities Project in primary schools, in the London Borough of Westminster.
Due to increasing popularity Bedtime Stories is now available to tour to other boroughs within London and its outer regions. The Fee is £5000 per class and each morning session lasts for half a day over 10 weeks.
Bedtime Stories project includes an INSET for all school staff. The one day inset will outline the project, clarify the role of teacher and workshop leaders, demonstrate storytelling and embroidery techniques, clarify expectations and levels of commitment and discuss project outcomes.
Bedtime Stories project will require schools to provide the following:
The Akua StorytellingProject will provide:
If you have any questions or know of any EIC project schools that you would like to recommend to book Bedtime Stories please contact Bid Mosaku on 020 8291 7757 or email:email@example.com