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

Tel: 07796 296387

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

Paul Houghton, Staffordshire University, February 2012

Thank-you card from Year 6, Dry Sandford Primary School, Nov 2011

"Sophie delivered the workshops with tremendous energy and enthusiasm and was met with a terrific response by the young participants.

"Linking the age old oral tradition of storytelling with the contemporary storytelling methods of modern day cinema, Sophie explored the various techniques used in each medium in a fun and interactive manner to give an insight into the process.

"I would highly recommend Sophie to educate and entertain people of all ages."

Colm McAteer, Box Office co-ordinator, CineMagic, Belfast.


"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, Leics.



These can cover various things and the size of group and length of time available shapes the session. With oral storytelling there is no pressure to be academically brilliant at writing. So the emphasis is on listening, thinking, creating - "doing" and getting involved. Workshops work well outdoors too, in the playground or off site.

Examples include:

Basic oral storytelling techniques

Sophie tells a couple of stories (to illustrate what it is) then a third that the students will learn to tell back.  There then follows various exercises taking the students through the basics of practical storytelling - how to remember the storyline with memory tricks and games, to visualisation techniques, how to find the words, and language development games.  If time allows there is scope for more drama-based work – finding and using your voice, physical presence, role-play and boosting confidence when speaking in front of or with other people.

Talking for writing

Using the storytelling as a spring-board into writing and story creation. There would be stories told and lots of talking - discussions, visualisation games and exercises that help the group explore story structure, plot development, language play, mood, setting, character, etc. How it feels to be right in the story, stimulating the imagination and finding words to express all this through sharing stories, and telling back what we create.  All this leadingto final focussed session of quality writing (though this can be done in follow-up sessions by staff, where time is limited).

Performance Techniques

There is a little bit of "performance" in all that we do - whether it is socializing in the playground, speaking up in class, joining in discussions and debate with confidence, being interviewed, presenting in front of the class or assembly, or acting in a school show. Teaching performance techniques is such fun! Using voice, gesture, space, body language - all contribute to the interaction with listeners and responding to the audience.

Watching, listening and responding appropriately are such key life skills both in school and beyond. A little time developing these skills can have such a positive impact in class - whether the issue is focus, concentration, attention, being heard or holding back. With this type of workshop there are lots of games, lots of stories, lots of fun and lots of ideas to follow up with afterwards.

"Every group is different - and often, if I see that the group is quiet or reticent, I will swap to a lively vocal game, or try a few voice exercises to help them find their voice and relax. Or if there is a boisterous sub-group, switch to a listening game - something fun, maybe with a competitive element. It can work a treat and bring the group together, get things moving on the right path." Sophie

Customised Workshops / Projects

Typically Sophie gets booked for whole day visits. But she also gets asked to devise specific workshops, for longer projects or a sequence of days to suit a particular theme or desired outcome. Here are a few recent assignments.

Example. Oracy Project - Grange Primary School, Long Eaton, Nottingham - a three day project to introduce Years 4, 5 & 6 to the techniques of traditional oral storytelling. We started with a day of storytelling performances, telling traditional tales to each year group, designed to enthuse and inspire them with stories. This was followed by workshops with each class, covering technique, memory, visualisation, voice and communication skills. Further workshops reinforced practical skills, learning to tell back one of the stories which then led to a final parent / whole school assembly 30 minute performance. The last day concluded with a staff workshop discussing the techniques used, tips and ideas for follow-on and how storytelling can be used to build spoken and written confidence in class. Following this project a repeated further 3 days was booked for the next term. March and July 2014.

"Sophie is a brilliant storyteller because of her expression and I really liked the objects she brought in." Blake, Year 4.

"I wish Sophie could come back because she was really good, if she comes to your school your're lucky to have her there!"
Xavier, Year 5.

"I thoroughly enjoyed Sophie coming and I loved listening to romantic and scary stories. Her calm and soothing voice really mesmerised me. I hope she can come in again!"
Megan Year 6

"She kept me on the edge of my chair and wanting to hear more!"
Katie Year 6.

"It was amazing when we got the teachers to sing by themselves - it was great, in fact I was wow'ed by the performance!"
Danica, Year 6.

"AWESOME!" Joe, Year 4.

Example. The Magic of Storytelling - cinematic storytelling workshops
- a collaboration with CineMagic International Film Festival for Young People, 2010. Workshops with both primary and secondary school students, comparing and contrasting storytelling techniques used in traditional oral storytelling and in cinema. Followed by an introduction to film screenings of "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" and "How to train your Dragon" and a post screening discussion with the older students.

Example. Excite and Write
- a Creative Partnerships project, working with Year 3/4's. Repeated visits to tell stories acted as a precursor for day long workshops with each class,leading the students through a series of fun games and exercises designed to stimulate spoken confidence, language exploration and listening / focus skills. All this bullding up to an intensive writing session designed to deliver high quality, imaginative writing. This particular project was combined with twilight training for staff on the benefits and skills of oral storytelling, and a final Showcase event for students and their families.

Example. The QuestBlog
- another Creative Partnerships project working with a school over several weeks with Year 1 students. The aim was to help develop confidence in writing, especially the boys. Stories, roleplay and exploration of setting, language and structure in preparation for writing, building up a series of Quest story chapters created by the children and recorded in the Quest Diaries and a shared QuestBlog. This culminated in a celebratory exhibition of related writings and creative artwork, a storywalk day and school visit to the seaside, one of their story settings.

Example. Gifted and Talented Literacy Summer School
- a day of experiential learning in Sherwood Forest, listening to stories amongst the trees, learning a favourite story from the performance, and exploring language and description.

Staff Training

Sophie is an experienced workshop presenter for adults as well as children. Both in the corporate context and with storytelling. Staff training can consist of inset days, weekend conferences or twilight sessions tacked onto a day's visit in school. Sometimes shared with other neighbouring cluster schools. Topics covered include:

- benefits and uses of storytelling in educational settings - how does it work?
- practical technques - memory, visualisation, composition;
- performance - voice, body & engagement;
- whether to use props or not - and how;
- the right setting;
- telling to the very young, special needs, English not first language.

thank you note
Year 6 Thank-you letter, after return visit to Dry Sandford Primary School, 2011


National Storytelling Week 2012
Sat 28th Jan - Sat 4th Feb

World Book Day
Thurs 1st March, 2012

Talk Like a Pirate Day
Wed 19th September 2012


"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 or 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 children and staff alike, was enchanting. We have already booked Sophie to come back in the Autumn 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.

© 2009-2013 Sophie Snell