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By Loriley Sessions on 4.4.2023

Stage Spiders story-telling success

On Sunday March 20th, Canterbury’s Waterstones became host to a unique story telling event. Over 30 children aged between two and eight, together with their families, gathered to listen to the popular children’s tale The Gruffalo, told by Kent University Stage Spiders students. Stage Spiders is a children’s theatre company run by UKC students who volunteer their time to organise and run creative and fun interactive sessions for children.

The children were eager and excited for the story-telling to begin but were also thrilled to start the session by singing and performing the actions to Incy-Wincy Spider along with the Stage Spiders. The story of The Gruffalo was then introduced, with the children recalling characters that they remembered from the story; the Gruffalo, mouse, snake, fox and owl. A cacophony of noises were soon to be heard after the children, who were eager to join in and take part in the tale, were taught the key characteristics of the animals, which included lots of hissing, squeaking, slithering, growling, hooting, stomping and of course showing off their fabulous fluffy wings. During the telling, the children were encouraged to repeat the actions and sounds they had learnt when each of the characters were mentioned, which kept them heavily engaged. Even children as young as one and two had their eyes glued to the students, who told the story with so much expression and excitement, that even I, a nineteen year old student who had never heard the story before, was gripped!

Of course the fun didn’t end there. After the story, the children sang more memorable and interactive songs, played a range of exciting games and did arts and crafts. On the other hand, it was difficult to keep the children sitting content in a circle after the famous two words ‘face-painting’ were uttered. With rush of excitement, a stampede of little legs went rushing to become first in line and complete their story experience by too becoming the mouse, owl, snake, fox or the Gruffalo.

Both parents and children alike were thrilled by the session, with one of the parents stating, ‘We love The Gruffalo. It was a lovely way to spend our Sunday, together as a family and with the community, enjoying a book we all love. It was great to see so many families together.’ Others were eager to find out more information about the Stage Spiders group, with one mum asking the group to visit her village three miles outside Canterbury – ‘It would be great if Stage Spiders would visit local villages, as myself and my family drove 20 minutes just to attend the event. It was a great day and my children loved the story-telling, as well as the added bonus of face-painting!’

Stage Spiders are continuously fundraising for children’s charities such as The Rainbow Trust, a charity dedicated to helping families with children who suffer from terminal illnesses. They provide ongoing support for children’s charities and are donating all profits from their upcoming production ‘Once Upon A Time…’, an adaptation of the popular tales by ‘The Brothers Grimm’. For more information about this event or any other community projects, please email stage_spiders@yahoo.co.uk. Or visit the Stage Spiders Facebook page today!

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