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Creative Curators is…


A series of fun, interactive workshops designed to encourage young people’s creative writing, using Interesting Objects as inspiration.


Led by an experienced Storyteller and Education Practitioner modelling live story creation, students are introduced to creative methods for using a variety of stimuli to generate original stories.


The two workshops begin with a ‘Pop Up Museum’ where students are encouraged to creatively explore a series of objects on a chosen theme, often relating to a genre of study (such as ‘subverted fairy tales’).

The storyteller then picks a series of objects at random, demonstrating the use of these stimuli to begin weaving a story. Students are encouraged to interrogate more objects as stimulus to colour and shape the direction of the story. Using individual, small group and whole class work, the story is collaboratively built over the course of the session.


In between session 1 and session 2, the storyteller provides an ending for the story.


During session 2 students critique the ending, providing alternate endings of their own. The flexible nature of this session allows for focus on such techniques as writing from character POV, creating alternate endings, enriching vocabulary, extending literary devices, or another focus of the teacher’s choosing.


The content of the workshops engages with


  • Character development

  • Story structure according to genre

  • Pushing students’ use of vocabulary, modelled by a professional storyteller.


It supports the National Curriculum in the following areas:


  • students’ development of stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing

  • focusing on literary and rhetorical devices

  • helping students speak confidently and effectively




  • A complete story, both written and told orally by a professional storyteller, available for reference.

  • Demonstrated techniques for generating ideas from different stimuli

  • Alternate endings written and or performed by students


Genres (currently on offer. Contact me to discuss alternate genres)


  • Gothic Horror

  • Subverted Fairytales

  • Dystopian Fiction

  • Crime Fiction


About the practitioner:


Alex Kanefsky is a storyteller and education practitioner with a background in theatre and drama. He is Artistic Director of Paper Balloon Theatre Company.

After graduating from the University of Exeter in 2006 with a degree in Drama, he has been working with young people through both theatre and education ever since. He has performed stories in theatres, libraries, tents and caravans. Alex has developed and told stories for Sutton House (Hackney), The Ashmolean Museum, the Story Museum, Discover Children’s Story Centre, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Hackney Learning Trust.


Alex is a delightful storyteller. He has a warm, animated, approachable and physical approach to storytelling - perfect for all ages from early years to older childrenJo Rice, Head of Education, University of Oxford, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology


About Hackney Learning Trust:


Hackney Learning Trust are a not for profit enterprise, responsible for Hackney’s: 

  • children’s centres;

  • schools and early years; and

  • adult education.


To find out more, please visit HLT website


The project, initially titled 'Object Stories' was originally conceived by Sophie Holdforth, and then codeveloped with Alex Kanefsky


Sophie Holdforth joined the Hackney Learning Trust in 2008 as  a senior English teaching and learning consultant with responsibility for developing and embedding good literacy practice across the borough.
During the past seven years she has worked with several thousand English teachers in London and the UK and has devised creative learning and literacy workshops for teachers and young people. She has also developed a range of fun and practical resources for teaching reading, writing and speaking and listening.

Sophie is the strategic lead for the LIT Programme, Hackney Learning Trust's year-long intervention which accelerates students' reading, writing and speaking and listening levels in Year 7. The programme is now in over 200 schools across the UK. She also piloted and rolled out the successful transition programme 'Dare To Play' with Shakespeare’s Globe and has worked with the immersive Theatre Company Punchdrunk on the literacy project 'Prospero’s Island.  She is currently working with the National Literacy Trust on a set of new and exciting resources developing literacy through song writing.


About the project:


Creative Curators: Pop Up Stories was created in partnership with Hackney Learning Trust. Inspired by the success of Pop Up Museum projects in North America, the programme was designed to explore creative ways of developing literacy. The project was trialled at Clapton Girl’s Academy in summer 2014. Students were highly engaged throughout the workshops, which resulted in richer writing outcomes. In particular it was noted that they responded especially well to seeing live storytelling in the classroom for the first time. 


By using 3-dimensional objects of the students’ own choosing (often with emotional connection or significance), it was possible to focus in greater depth on elements that young writers may not often consider; students were able to describe more carefully settings and and atmospheres within the story. The physical, tangible nature of the object as stimulus allowed students to think in creative and unusual ways about setting, characters and emotions.




To book a workshop, or for more information, please contact me


Please note, website is still under contstruction, details of other writing, education and performance projects to follow. 




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