About Sara

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‘Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play’     

Henri Matisse

I work throughout the UK and internationally and am a member of Equity, Arts and Health South-West and the Society for Storytelling. I have an enhanced DBS certificate and public liability insurance. A drama graduate from Exeter University, my love of live performance with rough edges and folk stories first drew me into storytelling fifteen years ago. Collaborating across art forms in the creative industries for over twenty-five years, inspired me to set up Blazing Tales as a combined arts company in 2007. The key features of my work as performer, educator or project manager are: participation, creativity, communication and working outdoors.

Education

I have worked in hundreds of schools and educational environments, facilitating workshops for all ages and stages of people. Annually contracted by Exeter University School of Education to train under-graduate teachers in creative approaches to learning through story work, and have led CPD training for teachers.  For twenty years, I’ve been contracted by county arts and education organisations, Creative Partnerships, local and county councils, theatre/music organisations, arts and health companies, environmental agencies, mental health organisations and race equality councils. For a few years I led, and assisted on, workshops for asylum seekers and refugee children, women and families with Theatre Royal, Plymouth. I am a regular facilitator and partner with D’Arts (Exeter Disability Arts) and enjoy working in special schools. I have led workshops with a broad range of special needs using specific, creative learning approaches to suit each, unique situation. Storytelling is a fantastic starting point for cross-curricular work. Recently, I’ve been involved with several science and storytelling projects, including developing a botany and storytelling project with Schumacher College.   In 2011 I was invited to give a presentation on using stories in experiential and site-specific learning at a “Creativity in Education’ conference in Bangalore, India co-organised by The Teacher Foundation.

Heritage and Environment

I tell stories and lead workshops in many museums, heritage sites and contemporary art galleries, often in response to exhibitions. I’ve been involved in story and participatory projects and performances connected to environment and landscape with: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Dartmoor National Parks, North Devon Nature Improvement Agency, Devon Wildlife Trust, English Heritage, Sharpham House, National Trust, Forestry Commission. My storytelling show ‘River’ wove together the traditional story, history and landscape of The River Dart, in Devon. My published work includes ‘The River Exe-pedition’ (published by Insider Art) which is informed by my experiences of creative working outdoors with mixed-heritage families living in rural areas, and a book chapter in Storytelling for a Greener World. For several years I’ve been going around the seasons in Devon orchards and currently, I’m working with Orchard Link and South Devon AONB on a community orchards project.

Participatory Arts

The main aspect of my solo work is as a participatory artist specialising in story. As artistic director of Blazing Tales I have fundraised, developed partnerships and project managed for projects with older people, inter-generational projects, schools, community groups, people with learning difficulties and many specific support organisations. I’m passionate about the potential of the arts, participation with the arts in particular, to make a meaningful difference to people’s quality of life as well as fostering group and community cohesion. This has led me to work with schools, families, young people, care homes, memory cafes, the Race Equality Council and Big Blue Drum and complete Insider Art’s foundation course ‘Art in Mental Health’. Subsequently, I jointly co-ordinated Insider Art’s Exeter Arts and Therapies Conference for two years and managed their annual training programme.

Festivals

I’ve given storytelling performances and workshops at major festivals including Festival No:6, Glastonbury, Larmer Tree, Beautiful Days, Port Eliot Literature Festival, Camp Bestival, as well as the West-Country Storytelling Festival where I performed for several years and co-ordinated a children’s area. I worked with The House of Fairy Tales and Don’t Tell Stories for three years and perform around the country with Promenade Promotions ‘Imaginarium’ at events such as Shipley Street Arts Festival, Cardiff Harbour Festival, Pontefract Liquorice Festival and Exeter Unexpected.

Dance and movement

I’ve trained in dance and movement forms since I was a child including African people’s dance, salsa, English folk, ballet, contemporary, Doris Humphries style, gymnastics, commedia dell’arte and yoga. For seven years I performed in a much-loved outdoor dance show ‘The Tudor Time Queens’ as well as other site-specific pieces. I toured nationally as a dancer, actor, percussionist with an inter-cultural performance ensemble with international African performing artists, for whom I also co-ordinated events, festivals and training programmes. I assisted at a music and dance festival in South Ethiopia with Global Music Exchange, the Festival of 1,000 Stars and have taught dance technique and expression in schools and adult classes.

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