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News and updates

I’ll be updating and extending this website over the coming weeks and months to include some new ventures and projects I’ll be embarking on…….more on that shortly….


I worked with 20 Primary and Secondary schools across the Northwest as well as two PRU’s based on dark fairy tales for the opening of Into The Woods at the Royal Exchange Theatre and created an indoor sinister woodland to house the artworks in the theatres entrance. I’m creating a ‘vessel’ for the theatre in March to house the audience voice responses from a year of visitor voice work that will continue with new visitors adding their thoughts…all will be revealed then….exciting! 

Lots of new film and videos up on YouTube for The Hurtful Taunts back catalogue including collaborations with filmmakers Mark Haig and Will Aldersley. Also started a new musical outlet to channel my middle age anger titled The Slaughterhouse Sermon…Check out YouTube for choice cuts from them!

I’m very excited to be working with Neil Kendall on the Morecambe Bay Variety Festival and Carnival, running the schools project across the area to creat an Imaginary World in the faded grandeur of the Winter Gardens….more on that soon….

I Have finished building the wonderful Cabinet of Curious Things at Gatley Primary after a huge launch event in January with the strange and mysterious Mr Perloffski (see Gatley Primary post for more info..)…this has kickstarted a year group specific story writing competition inspired by chosen objects from the cabinet…..Working on a very exciting storytelling day at Manchester High School For Girls using other creative ways of telling tales other than the written word and working with Sixth Form pupils on a wellbeing through art project..more sessions with the group of lads at Bolton at Home finishing the tower block puppet theatre and getting cracking on making all the puppets for their performance about mens sexual health…Also bringing out the guardsmans uniform for a one-off appearance for an early years day of artwork,marching, drumming and storytelling at St Andrews Primary in Eccles….Just finished some wonderful sessions that started last January, at the mighty Thorn Grove Primary embedding drawing and painting skills throughout the school…plus lots of fantastic Arts Award projects especially with Years 1 and 2 at Gatley….

Working with the Together Trust in Cheadle with a mixed group of SEN, Disabled and PRU pupils putting on a dramatic WW1 performance piece using drama, visuals, soundscapes, music and spoken word.

There are several new videos up on Youtube and the Hurtful Taunts Facebook link, working through the Taunts back catalogue, and a some great footage of a gig in a church we did several months back…planning at least three more new videos by the end of autumn…

Some beautiful new additions to my growing collection of early African tribal masks…always incredibly inspiring for school projects…

I have expanded my First World War character narrative and project specifics for the 2014 centenary. This includes a full day delivered in authentic costume with a complete set of equipment, rations etc and takes in enlisting, training, arrival at the trenches, daily life, maps, trench art, war poetry, war artists, the war from the German perspective etc. If your school has an understanding site manager with a digger I’ll do the whole day in a trench! This is specifically aimed at Key Stage 2/3….the BBC have borrowed some of the equipment etc for their learning zone….these workshops have been really popular….

Exciting recent projects  include the installation of the community sculpture and big launch event in Norley, Wigan, working with The Manchester Museum to lead workshops with the staff and public, centred around their engagement strategy, continued drama, art, performance and music projects at the marvellous Gatley Primary School all year and lots of superb events at The John Rylands Library, working with Salford Uni’s Community Enagement team and local schools, and Manchester Museum & The Whitworth on a tremendous box artwork history project with the Manchester Health Academy….one possibly two new album releases for The Hurtful Taunts, more gigs and many more exotic items added monthly to The Hungry Dog Emporium…hoorah…

I am now delivering and assessing the Arts Award programme across all year groups…do get in touch if you would to become involved or want someone to deliver Discover and Explore levels in your school…

Currently using lots of my collections to inspire projects across schools. I’ve just run an African masks project using my large collection of early traditional African face masks from across the whole continent to demonstrate the beautiful pattern and techniques that exist in individual countries and tribal groups. This has linked in with the cross-cultural community links within the schools diverse and exciting pupil/family intake…Also using been my Victorian, Roman and Medieval collections in a variety of ways to add to curricular links in topics etc….I have a travelling museum that can visit your school with a multitude of curriculum/topic links…..

Working with the Whitworth Art Gallery & Manchester Museum on a wonderful project with Manchester Health Academy all about collecting..I’ve been working with Year 9 and 10 pupils on a huge range of artworks addressing the theme of ‘Collecting’. There will be an exhibition of this at the Museum in the coming weeks..

I am currently working on a very exciting and personal project which has been waiting to happen for several years now. The time now seems right and I will be revealing and launching it at the end of the summer/beginning of this space!!

Just finished on a lovely project in Brieghtmet, Bolton working with young dads to create a piece of artwork for their child/children using DT, carpentry, and creative writing. A documentry film will be up in the new year of this but in the meantime have a look at last years brilliant film directed by and starring some of this years group ‘One in a million’ on Youtube. Now started work on the next part of the project building a huge puppet theatre based on a block of flats which we will use to address issues of men’s mental and sexual health around the region….

Check out the John Rylands Library website for my forthcoming Medieval architecture and symbolism tours and storytelling sessions etc…booking a must!…

The Hurtful Taunts will be supporting the tremendous Mr Curtis Eller who’s over fron North Carolina for several UK dates…we’re playing the Ruby Lounge Manchester on Thursday 15th November 7.30pm onwards…we’ll be in the recording studio before Christmas and planning some big shows for late Feb onwards…

Once again looking forward to working in the drama department with  new Baccalaureatte student Christina at Manchester High School For Girls this Autumn term.

I’m working with several really fantastic groups within the community centred around Norley in Wigan on a large wooden sculpture/building, set in the grounds of the local community hub. This will be an ever evolving structure that will grow with time and involve the group teaching and working with further groups to create extra portions of the sculpture as an ongoing project.

I am very excited to  have started a new residency post every Wednesday at the terrific Gatley Primary School for 2012/2013 working with staff and pupils to explore new ways of working creatively with the curriculum, extending creative learning and developing processes that can be translated to the school as a whole. Already started an animated puppet film about the history and impact of the wheel with Year 6 and a drama including music looking at evacuation of both English and German children during WW2.

The Fabulous Museum Of Lost Stories is on the road for the  autumn terms coming to schools near you..if you would like this exciting travelling roadshow to come to your school (years 5,6,7 and 8) give me a call….

Been working with me old chums at St. Peter’s RC  Primary in Newall Green. Working with every class on giant shaped sporting figures using creative writing, collage and photography.

Just completed a triptych of giant  wooden relief displays with the wonderful pupils of St. Anne’s Fulshaw Primary in Wilmslow based on movement and sport.

Just finished working on a fabulous Art book project at Faringe Park High School in Rochdale creating new ghost stories based on the Rochdale Archives and presenting them in all manner of creative ways with truly inspiring fellow artists Lucy May Schofield, Sarah Jay and Nicky Colclough. Back to see me old chums at St. Peter’s in Wythenshawe for a summer Olympics project..

Just finished the second part of a lovely project at The Manchester High School for Girls with Year 13 Baccalaureate student Livvy Trenaman. Before summer we looked at Aboriginal storytelling using accented speech and drums. Livvy built a scaled down replica of the Royal Exchange Theatre and designed a set for the story. This term we’ve looked at the complexities of Japanese Bunraku puppetry and built a large female puppet to storytell with. I’ll be creating a post shortly with images of both parts of this project.

I’m delivering lots of varied events at John Rylands library into next storytelling sessions are going down a treat and the regular childrens ones are always booked up early so get the bairns in quick..I’m also taking Green Man tours throughout November as well as the regular Dragon tours and general historical ones…also limited creative writing groups …

Working with me old chum and multi-talented practitioner/composer/musician etc Eve Harrison on her own composed performance piece ‘Hera’s list’ which is debuting at the Antony Burgess Institute on 25th November..I’m dressing the set and doing costumes, props etc…check the internet for further details…

Just finished a wonderful world puppetry project at St. Anne’s Primary in Ancoats with Years 1 and 2. Used  many of different forms of puppetry and  the pupils became puppets themselves on a journey across the world! The finished performance was fantastic after a scarily bad rehearsal, hours before!….photos to follow…

Writing new education projects for the marvellous Whitworth Art gallery which I’m be delivering  this Autumn…The new exhibition ‘Dark Matters’ is fabulous and I will be taking schools for shadow themed workshops until January..please ring Stephen Roper at the gallery if you’d like to book us…

Have recently finished a project at Cravenwood Primary addressing the regularly paramount issue of Key stage 1 writing. I’ll be adding a new project post shortly about this as I felt it worked very well. Did require me to dress up though (ok..I thoroughly enjoyed that bit )..and I used a combination of drama, art and music to draw out language that fed into a general writing and stories.

I’ve been writing and delivering the education programme for the wonderful John Rylands Library on Deansgate for the last couple of years as well as many family events. I’m currently researching and writing a teaching pack for Key Stages 2 and 3 called ‘First Impressions. This deals with the beginnings of printing in England and will include curriculum links and practical activities. We have some great family days coming up and due to demand I will be starting a new story-reading for adults session alongside the regular children’s ones. Next adult storytelling event will be Weds pm 22nd June..ring to book a place. Next childrens reading will be 11-12 on Sat 16th July and 11-12 Sat 6th August..again book through John Rylands. Will be running a special ‘Green Man’ event in October/November plus ‘Dragon Tours’ some Saturdays…..

Published: 27th November 2012

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