Sophie Snell storyteller
Sophie Snell, professional storyteller for adults and children
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Contact Sophie:

Tel: 07796 296387

Dragons are a popular theme!

"Thank you very much for coming to school today. I wanted to email and say how much we all enjoyed it. I've had nothing but positive comments from staff and the children! Thanks again and hope to work with you in the future!"

Tracey Lawrence, teacher, The Pastures Primary School, Leicestershire, 2010.

"Many, many thanks for a terrifically stimulating storytelling afternoon - nothing but positive feedback"

Paul Houghton, Staffordshire University, February 2012.

National Storytelling Week:

Sat 28th Jan - 4th Feb 2012
Sat 26th Jan - 2nd Feb 2013

World Book Day:

Thurs 1st March, 2012

Thurs 7th March, 2013

Talk Like a Pirate Day:

Wed 19th September, 2012
Thurs 19th September 2013

(2013 dates tbc)



Not always as formal as it sounds. Sophie "tells" stories - not by reading from a book, or by reciting (as an actor would do) or by "making it up". But by using age- old stories, handed down over generations, and the traditional techniques of oral storytelling - visualisation, language-play, composition and improvisation. The material this is based on comprises stories drawn from a large repertoire of folk and fairy tales, epics, myths and legends - from the British Isles, northern Europe and around the world - some of which go back thousands of years.

Stories are often chosen to a nominated theme or selected favourites on the day. But for a list of specific children's shows that can also be used see Performances, Performances - Children, and Performances - Adult (adult material can be adapted for older students).

Stories for younger classes are very interactive. With perhaps hand puppets, a magical singing bowl or a prop as simple as an apple. Combined with the use of repetition / rhyme and actions to engage. Typically 30 - 40 minutes works well as a performance for Reception to Year 1/2 (less for pre-schools where little and often, short and sweet can be really effective). The aim in that time is to work from a simple, familiar and accessible tale to something a little more demanding of concentration and language, once they are "into" the experience.

"Often storytellers are reluctant to work with the younger students - finding them harder to engage and settle - but I love working with this age group! They are such fun, so open and imaginative, soaking up all that they hear and see. It is a real treat to work with them and to show how for example a story spun around the simple gift of an apple can bring magic and laughter to the nursery day," Sophie.

As the groups' ages increase from Year 2 to 6, you can work up to an hour's performance (it goes quickly!), with stories changing in pace and complexity to take them on a language and emotional journey, engage their imagination and push concentration and listening skills further. With older Year 5/6 students, Sophie will play with the structure, mood and content of stories, to give a hint of what traditional storytelling with adults is like.

"As the students mature, the challenges and rewards of storytelling change - there is nothing better than to see a budding teenager's face transform, and their whole body language - suddenly earnest and leaning forwards, or rolling in laughter and half shocked afterwards that a "story" session could be like that! The trick is a canny choice of material, mature but appropriate, mischievous yet intriguing, and an engaging manner of performance - appealing to the child still within, but stimulating and respectful of the adult they will become," Sophie.

At secondary school level, the stories are more grown up - in content, complexity and style. Storytelling has always been an adult media, not just for children. It is a powerful means of building key communication skills, memory, creative exploration and visualisation - and confidence. Stories have been used for teaching for thousands of years, allowing the listener to role-play emotions and scenarios.

For older students, storytelling is great for exploring language, composition, focus, listening and empathy. With a carefully planned choice of stories, it can be used as a springboard for exploring all sorts of issues - whether factual and historical or softer social issues such as spiritual belief, bullying and racial interaction. What better way of understanding each other than sharing our respective stories?

Sophie has also been commissioned to prepare new performances for particular events / themes. This was how "Bastille" was developed - a show about the events on Bastille Day and the onset of the French Revolution. (See Performances - Children for more information.)

For a performance-based visit, it really helps for the class' normal teacher to be present and fully engaged in the group, and if time can be found for discussion / Q & A at the end of the session, to explore the features of storytelling that intrigued and were enjoyed, and explain a bit of its history, context and how it works.

"There is so much I have learnt from storytelling I wish I had known as a young woman - both in terms of study techniques, spoken confidence and the softer communication skills." Sophie.

"We were very lucky to have Sophie working with 90 children from Year 3/4 at our school for a Creative Partnerships project during the summer term. She soaked the children in stories and inspired them to write imaginative and exciting descriptive pieces.

"She also captivated a hall full of 4 to 60 year olds in our showcase to parents and friends of our school. Sophie delivered a motivating staff meeting where she encouraged us to be bold with our use of language and highlighted the importance of telling children stories.

"Sophie was extremely professional throughout the entire project and her manner, with the children and staff alike, was enchanting. We have already booked Sophie to come back in the Autumn Term to work with children across the whole primary age group and look forward to reaping the benefits of her visits."

Catherine Llewellyn and Jill Edmonds, teachers at South Wilford Primary School, Nottingham, July 2011.


"The Foundation Class teacher still speaks about
your visit and how successful it was."

Anne Wright, Teacher, Dry Sandford
Primary School, Oxfordshire.


Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ooh aargh!

© 2009-2013 Sophie Snell