Since starting my formal study of the performing arts at Wakefield District College, I have been involved in a wide range of theatre in education and community projects. This has been undertaken both as course work and in a professional capacity. In 1989 I co-founded Snaargs Dance Company with a group of fellow students from Middlesex University. We ran workshops and performances in schools and community centres, mainly in the South East but also in Wakefield and the Yorkshire Dance Centre in Leeds.
On completion of my degree I moved away from pure dance and founded Stormcrow Theatre Company whose aim was to combine all aspects of the performing arts into its projects. In practice, our main influences were storytelling and movement theatre and we were able to take shows, and run related workshops, to the Edinburgh and Glastonbury festivals.
After writing and running a movement theatre course for A'Level Theatre Studies students at Amersham and High Wycombe College in 1993, I moved back to Leeds. Here I spent nine months working as an actor at Tetley Brewery Wharf before starting work as a special needs assistant at Matthew Murray High School. This position involved working with the same students over two and a half years, as part of a closely monitored team. We were required to keep detailed, up to date records of all support offered and to build good working relationships with both teachers and students. Being involved in the education of students over a prolonged period was a new experience for me and helped me to develop a deeper understanding of the long-term needs of students within the education system. Since leaving Matthew Murray I have worked occasionally as a freelance storyteller for organisations such as Traveller's Education, and believe strongly that storytelling is a valuable educational tool.
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