My Work

I am a dyslexic storyteller and relational artist. I have been making joyful, interactive work for over 12 years, especially with children. I use narrative to create highly participatory spaces of play where curiosity and imagination can flourish and new empathies can grow.

My work combines performance, writing, visual and 3D design, audio-visual elements, illustration and storytelling with a great curiosity and a love of the natural world.

Selected Projects

2021 | The Palais de Vaches Gallery

Wild Tea Ceremony

I presented this sitespecific workshop in the grounds of Palais des Vaches gallery in Hampshire.

I facilitated a group of adults as we foraged three wild teas. As we did I told a range of stories about each plant, folding in history, mythology and folklore. We took a mindful approach to encountering each plant, practicing an attitude I call ‘Slowliness.’ I facilitated contemplative exercises linked to the stories and science of each plant. Finally we brewed each plant into a tea and had a tasting ceremony, taking the stories and experiences in to our bodies.

This project applied many of the principles and techniques I use with younger audiences, but translated into an adult context and focused on enlivening inner and outer curiosity and empathy with nature.

2022 |

Bramble Brain

A storytelling piece for an adult audience.

While training at the School of Storytelling at Emerson College I began developing. It is an ongoing project working with the blackberry briar as muse and companion asking “what is it like to be all branch and no trunk”. It researched interspecies kinship, the interconnectedness-nature of the dyslexic brain and the tangle of folklore and ecology surrounding the multi-species formation of the briar. I presented the piece three times last year, including in at the Multispecies Visionary Council, organised by artist Sabina Salis in Berwick Upon Tweed where I also faciliated a site specific creative visioning session.

In making this piece research often looked like simply sitting with the briar for long hours, fermenting black tea from its leaves or making baskets from its vines as much as book research.

Photos and video: Colin Davison

2016 & 2017 | National Trust and Bowes Museum

The Clockwork Garden

A large-scale, site-specific, immersive exhibition plus linked outdoor activity adventure, distance learning schools project and series of live events.

Visitors entered the tangled story of a mechanical seed that has arrived from outer space, seeking to learn how to be a garden. Initially created as a site specific installation at The National Trust’s Quarry Bank it was adapted the following year for the Bowes Museum. The exhibition incorporated immersive set design (from leading company Darling and Edge), playful activity stations, audio installations, mechanical automata, and contemporary art from artists such as Gavin Turk, Fionna Banner and Sir Peter Blake.

Outside, in the grounds of each location there was a narrative activity adventure with a fully illustrated fold out maps and signage.

In the lead up to each project was a distance learning adventure for primary schools. This was most fully realised at the National Trust’s Quarry Bank where I ran a 7-week distance learning adventures in two local primary schools. After a theatrical launch event classes entered into email correspondence with a mechanical woman: Clever Gin who dreamed of making a garden on her far-off factory planet. They eventually invited her to send her mechanical seed to the nearby historic property where they could keep it safe and teach it to be a real garden before sending it back to her.

Accompanying the project were several live events with up to 10 artist-facilitators leading imaginative workshops and performances in beautifully decorated tents.

The exhibition and trail were experienced by over a hundred thousand visitors between the two sites.

Created while I worked as lead creative at The House of Fairy Tales, I led on every aspect of the project from concept to completion as well as making some of the creative content and performing at the live events.

Photos: Ben Zeng

2019 | Southbank Centre

Tales from the Library Attic

We took over the Southbank Centre’s Clore Ballroom during London Literature Festival with a narrative collaging workshop and a live interactive storytelling show with music and shadow puppetry all set in an imaginary library attic in the City of Stories.

Created in collaboration with Tim Godwin of THRIFT with a special appearance from the actor-musician students at Rose Bruford College

Created as Patchlarks, my children’s events brand. Find out more here

2020 & 2021 | Royal Docks + Bow Arts

Wandering Wonderers Live

Full of curiosity the Wandering Wonderers arrive to make stories from the things that they find. Appearing a number of times as walk about and as an interactive stage show these characters discovered strange and hilarious stories with the public.

The project focuses on curiosity and imagination, and a sense that the world is full of wonder if you look at it with wondering eyes. Full of uncomplicated joy these characters aimed to give people tools for finding pleasure during pandemic.

Having created the concept, props and costumes I worked with a range of performers during its various iterations.

This projects was created as Patchlarks, my children’s events brand and is available to book. Find out more here

Photos and video: Emma Nathan

2021 | Tate Modern + National Maritime Museum

Sea Stories: Future Travel Agency

An immersive workshop about inventing time-travelling package holidays to the oceans of a greener, fairer, wiser 2071.

It used lightweight storytelling, facilitation and game like processes and the results were hilarious, heartening, and sometimes deeply moving as (especially the younger) participants grappled with big topics that naturally arose during discussions.

This appeared as part of The Great Imagining at Tate Modern and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Created as Patchlarks, my children’s events brand. Find out more here

2021 | Royal Docks (Online)

Voyage to the Islands of Ifland

By combing an “um” with ordinary things from their houses viewers go on imaginative voyages to the islands of Ifland, full of animation, storytelling, drawing, games and more.

The three ten-minute videos were made in response to the urgent need for brilliant indoor children’s activities during the COVID 19 lockdown.

Find full episodes by searching Patchlarks on YouTube.

Commissioned by the Royal Docks, London

Created as Patchlarks, my children’s events brand. Find out more here

2020 | Royal Docks

Wondering Wanders in the Royal Docks

To celebrate Car Free Day I created this fully-illustrated, site-specific story tour. The map takes families on a narrative journey around landmarks of the Royal Docks and Silvertown giving imaginative tasks, prompts and challenges to provoke storytelling and wonderment.

I created the concept and wrote and illustrated the map.

This projects was created as Patchlarks, my children’s events brand and is available to book. Find out more here

Photos: Emma Nathan

2017 | Darling & Edge + The Vaults

Beauty and the Feast

I wrote and directed this pioneering immersive drag pantomime dinner show in collaboration with Darling & Edge. I also performed in the show throughout the run.

With puppet design by Sam Wire, a brilliant cast, an irreverent 80’s inspired soundtrack and glorious food this was a truly great night out, and did a lot to open the way for similar shows which came after.

We sold out the entire 3 month run at The Vaults, London.

2017 | Hauser and Wirth Somerset

The Great Spring-y Recombobulation

In this immersive weekend takeover of Hauser and Wirth Somerset, families became the protagonists in the story of the Swevenaughts – dream travellers here to collect fresh dreams and save their mysterious home.

The narrative and gamified activity-map created the framework for 7 artists to run interwoven dream-seeking workshops.

I led on every aspect of the project including designing the costumes, sets and props and writing, illustrating and designing the map.

This project was created while I worked as lead creative at The House of Fairy Tales.

Photos: Ben Zeng