Storytelling, design technology and art activity sessions for schools.

The Crowman has been working in schools for over ten years. In a range of workshop sessions on different themes for class sized groups, pupils use listening skills and are engaged in making masks, shadow puppets or simple musical instruments. This can then lead to creative writing as a follow up and the use of the items made in displays or presentations by the class. The following workshop sessions have been designed to meet the needs of primary schools. The sessions last for a morning or afternoon with the usual breaks and all materials are provided.

Spirit Birds - The Crowman tells the traditional Russian folk tale “The Firebird” and demonstrates how to make a striking, full-face “magical bird” mask. The children then produce their own individual version of the mask and are invited to name it and write a story about the character that they have created. Ideas for display are discussed and the session ends with another bird story.

In “Shapeshifters” David Pitt brings the opportunity for a class group to experiment with one of the oldest arts and to produce their own story characters.

Traditional tales to awaken the creative imagination are told, then the children are encouraged to draw and cut out their own big bold puppet shapes from card, to dream their names and stories and to show and share these fantastic characters on the screen. The puppet shapes, moved on sticks, dance together to the live improvised music of gongs and percussion. Ideas generated during the session can later be developed and extended into a performance and the making of a simple screen is demonstrated for this.

“Shapeshifters” is suitable for all age groups and the session can take place in most classrooms or a school library. No black out is necessary and the results are easily photographed (or even videoed) to make a striking record of the children's creations that can be displayed along with their written follow up work. The overall theme of the stories and puppets can be adapted to complement a current class topic.

To see examples of work created by children in Shapeshifters sessions go to: and click on the thumbnail images or “slideshow”.

The First Musicians – The Crowman tells the story of the first musicians in the rainforest and shows the old toolchest in which he keeps his collection of instruments and soundmakers. With the aid of these he explains the principles behind some of the first musical instruments and demonstrates how simple scrap instruments can be made with everyday materials. The children are then shown how to make and decorate their own loud “boglehorn” out of cardboard poster tubes and balloons. (Heads can be made to go on the end of these tubes to produce noisy puppets) These can then be taken in procession into other classrooms or a school assembly. As a quieter alternative, the children can make and decorate their own rainsticks using transparent plastic cups.

Following the same format as above, other sessions offered are: The Green Man - Storytelling and mask making, Isis and Osiris - Storytelling and mask making, Dragons - Storytelling and mask making, Bugs - Storytelling and making colourful insect models.

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Other themes and stories can be used by request.