Storytelling Starters ~ Let’s Move
Today’s the last of my storytelling games – at any rate for now. Next week, I’ll be on holiday. Check my blog to see where I’ll be! This week, I’m writing about a game I’m calling Let’s Move though I don’t think I’ve ever given it a title before.
Who’s Let’s Move for:
I’ve never played this game with children. It could be worth trying, especially perhaps on occasions such as school camping trips. Usually I’ve played it with groups of adults and generally when I’ve got to know the group quite well.
As the storyteller and facilitator, you start off by introducing the idea that we might all fantasise about moving somewhere together and seeing what kind of world we will build together. Shall we go somewhere nice and warm? Somewhere far away? The possibilities are endless. The stars? An unpopulated island? The past?
As you start to receive suggestions of where you might all go, you can also start to throw out the idea that people can decide where they’ll live in this place and who exactly they are. Some in the group might start identifying particular jobs that they do, some might be related to others. They might discover that there are common projects in their new community or warring factions or scandals.
You can also help give shape to the game by saying you’ll be playing it for about half an hour and that, as facilitator, you’ll help to keep order.
A personal experience of playing the game:
My single most memorable time with Let’s Move took place early on in my career. I’d been invited to run weekly storytelling training sessions with groups of previously unemployed people who were now getting jobs on After-School Care Schemes in Lambeth.
There were many groups, many sessions. The people who attended varied in age, gender and ethnicity. Many were Jamaicans. I remember one man articulating a memorable question when I got his particular group involved in telling and retelling stories: ‘Can we use our own voice?’ I knew what he meant. I am white, a woman and middle-class with an educated middle-class voice. He was black, male and working-class and he spoke with a Jamaican voice. How could I be any kind of role-model for him? But his question has stuck with me always. I’ve often referred to it in other sessions since. What else have we got but our own voice? How can we tell stories in any way but our own way? Part of the point of storytelling training to me is to get people to see this and be empowered by it.
On that especially memorable occasion of playing Let’s Move, the group contained, I remember, several young Jamaican men with dreadlocks and a rather quiet, unmarried middle-aged Jamaican lady. When we started on Let’s Move, the group quickly chose for us all to be in Kingston, Jamaica. People were already identifying who they were in story and what kind of people they were when, suddenly, the emerging story had two of the young men(who chose to be young street guys in the story) running away from the police and being given shelter in the middle-aged woman’s house. The young guys had done nothing wrong. The woman felt very protective and behaved in a very motherly way towards them. Afterwards, I remember, when we were de-briefing ourselves from the story, she looked around at the group and, evidently extremely moved, said, ‘We’ll never ever forget this day. We will always remember this day.’
It was a tribute to the people involved, the power of role-play and the way stories can reach our innermost feelings.