The following is a collection of reviews from the children who took part in the becoming-animal workshop series in Sussex.
“This course showed me how the world is really around me.”
“I thought this project was amazing fun, and it has definitely changed the way I think about the environment.”
“I enjoyed this project very much. I especially liked playing with words to achieve different animal perspectives.”
“I thought this project was an amazing opportunity and if I was asked to do something like this again, then I would definitely. I LOVED performing the play.”
“This project was very fun and exciting. I liked every bit of it. It’s made me think about how animals are unique in their own way, and how they have their own opinions. It also showed us how not all animals live in paradise and they have to tackle pollution like we do.”
And from the teachers…
“Joanna has worked with a range of children at Mile Oak. She wrote and directed a stunning play with a group of Year 6 able children. She told stories and trained a group of volunteers on our Science Bus. Recently she worked with a group of Year 6 reluctant writers. Joanna has had a significant impact on all these children- she has brought story telling into their lives. Her choice of stories fully engages the pupils. The stories are not simplistic and often are very sophisticated. The children are drawn in by sublime storytelling by Joanna. She does not depend on props but solely on great stories and excellent retelling.
I could not recommend her more highly. First class storytelling deserves a place in every classroom.”
~ Martin Cooper, Deputy Head, Mile Oak Primary School, Brighton
“The response has been very positive from the children and the parents. The parents were amazed at their confidence during the play and the sophistication of the language. The children have thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, cheering when they know you are coming in! There has been a great improvement in their descriptive writing especially and they have been keen to experiment with new sentence construction and ambitious vocabulary. They have developed their understanding of characterisation and shown more awareness of the needs of the reader when writing. Your approach has fitted in well with our emphasis on talk for writing so the children have been able to access all sessions quickly and confidently.”
~ Sharon Flaxbeard, Year 6 teacher, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Bognor Regis
Some more storytelling feedback from students:
“I just sat down and looked and listened for about 25 minutes.”
“I think it was amazing and I’ve gained lots of confidence. I rate it 10/10.”
“I loved all the emotion and action.”
“It made me more passionate about storytelling.”
“It made me want to write stories and tell them. The story made me feel like I was alive again.”
~ Firebird performance feedback from year 6 pupils, Mile Oak Primary School, Brighton
Recently I had the good fortune to sit in audience at a Dark Mountain story telling event where the delightful Joanna Gilar captivated us with her wonderfully haunted rendition of an old classic. She held the floor with such magnificent poise and had us all bound up magically in her tale of adventure, misfortune and redemption. You could hear a pin drop! I hope I get another chance to be woven into her story telling spell again some time in the near future. ~ Seani Love, participant at Tailspin’s “Night of the Storyteller” at the Russet, London.
From other storytellers:
“I worked with Joanna on a ten day project running a ‘wonder and storytelling’ summer school for ks2 children in Italy. We worked closely together for a month beforehand planning the programme and tailoring it closely to the organisers requirements. Over the course of the project we encountered various issues and had to make substantial changes to our plans, getting together every evening to make the next day work. It was challenging but enjoyable. Joanna was the perfect collaborative partner- she really listened, thought about everything and seemed to have an endless supply of brilliant story-ideas. She was also able to make the intuitive leaps which made the project take flight. She is great to work with, a generous artist and a lot of fun! I have no hesitation about recommending Joanna for any creative project.” ~Vanessa Woolf, London Dreamtime