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News: Live Tales celebrates its first year

Live Tales, Live Theatre’s creative writing centre, celebrates its first year of inspiring stories

Live Tales creative writing centre, developed and run by Live Theatre, celebrates its first year of inspiring young people to create their own imaginative stories on Friday 15 September.

Photo: Jill Tate
Since launching last September, 1,546 pupils from over 30 different schools have visited the centre for a two hour workshop to collaboratively create an imaginative story. Stories have included The Drain of Doom and Don’t Peek! with characters created ranging from a slimy lightbulb to Jimmy the Purple Turtle.

Pupils from Brunton First School in Newcastle’s Great Park were the first class to visit the centre when it opens its doors on 15 September 2016, and are returning again this September with a new class of pupils.

Hotspur Primary School Pupils write stories with David Almond
Live Tales offers fun, interactive story writing in free workshops for Key Stage 2 classes. Through a mixture of drama and writing activities young people are encouraged to explore their imagination and develop communication skills and confidence, whether they are reluctant young writers or budding bards. Feedback from pupils includes “The best day ever!” and “I want to come back and write stories.”

Teachers have also enjoyed the sessions, and seen the benefit for their pupils.Teacher Ronan McAteer from Hotspur Primary School said  “The children had a wonderful time and have been raving about what happened in their stories to all the staff. I really enjoyed watching your approach to creative writing.”

Photo: Jill Tate
Christina Castling, Creative Associate, Children and Young People, Live Theatre explains: “At Live Tales children can let their imaginations run wild to write a fantastic original story through a fun, creative story writing process. Creativity is being increasingly squeezed out of the curriculum. Entering the world of Live Tales allows teachers and children to explore creative writing from a new perspective. Live Tales workshops have been specially designed to ensure we’re allowing children to experience the fun and excitement of exploring their imagination whilst supporting teachers to deliver curriculum aims in a creative and enjoyable way.”

Writer, David Almond, a champion of Live Tales added: “What a joy it is to have Live Tales here on Tyneside. This is an important and optimistic project of national significance. Children and young people are at the beating heart of our culture. They are our future. We all have a great deal to learn from their energy and creativity.”

Live Tales is an extension of Live Theatre’s successful writing and drama projects with schools. It is also part of an international network of writing centres, including Fighting Words in Dublin and the 826 group of writing centres across the United States that encourage young people to develop their creative writing skills. Live Tales is based in a specially converted historic Almshouse, located behind Live Theatre in Live Garden.
The workshops are supported by volunteers who provide encouragement, one-to-one and in small groups, helping the children to improve their writing and storytelling whilst volunteer illustrators create drawings to accompany the children’s stories. Over 110 have been trained as Live Tales volunteers with at 65 of these regularly volunteering at the sessions. A current volunteer added What a buzz! Love the games and format. All child-centred and creative.  Brings writing to life. This is such a joyous thing to do!”  

Who to be a Volunteer
The volunteering commitment is flexible but volunteers must be available attend the Thursday or Friday sessions. Volunteers, who must be over 18 and are are given training are welcome. Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more at

Booking workshops for your school:
Free two-hour Live Tales workshops are available for KS2 school classes at 10am and 1pm on Thursdays and 10am on Fridays during term time. Teachers receive a free pack with practical information to help plan their visit and activities to do with their class before and after their Live Tales visit. Sessions must be booked in advance. Teachers interested in booking a Live Tales workshop or finding out more can ring Live Theatre’s Box Office on (0191) 232 1232 or visit

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