Meaty stories at Acting Up!
Many of the concepts that came to form my participatory model of storytelling first emerged during my work with Acting Up! (for an overview of my practice in this setting see here), early in my practice research. The catalogue document I produced (both as a research document and as a report to Acting Up’s funders and stakeholders) is structured around four key themes identified in collaboration with Acting Up's lead practitioners Kelvin Goodspeed and Jenna Drury: Meaty Stories, Half-Formed Worlds, Meeting of Minds and The Storyteller’s Role. In particular, the first two of these themes began my exploration of 'story as space' for intersubjective encounter between a group of young people.
An introduction to these themes is given in the early part of the catalogue document:
'Meaty Stories' and 'Half-Formed Worlds'
The myths the group explored during this devising process were multifaceted, complex and layered, often lacking neat solutions or clear morals. Indeed, using myth as the raw material exercised different muscles from a devising process starting with young people’s own experience: it projected the group straight into the complex or ‘meaty’ emotional territory of the myth, and challenged them to inhabit and make sense of its ‘half-formed world’. The following extract from the catalogue document discusses how the young people made use of the story-world in this way:
My focus on how story might engender responsive, 'I/Thou' dialogue also emerged during my work with Acting Up!, as the following extract, 'Meeting of Minds' indicates. In addition, telling detailed stories to and with young people with additional learning needs concentrated my mind on the different affordances of ‘magical’ and ‘dynamic’ (here called ‘participatory’) modes of storytelling: