Children’s storytelling sessions bring art to life

14 March 2019

Children’s storytelling sessions bring art to life
Younger patients at St Mary’s Hospital are learning more about art thanks to interactive storytelling workshops organised by the charity.

Regular sessions from the Wallace Collection are helping to entertain and inspire patients on the hospital’s paediatric wards, inviting them to play instruments and sing along while learning about the museum’s works.

The Stories on the Ward programme has enlisted the help of Children’s Storyteller Paul Rubinstein to bring the collection to life. The sessions are aimed at including all children, including those unable to take part in groups, such as those in isolation rooms, and allow family members and other visitors to join in.

Paul said: “Telling stories at St Mary’s Hospital has been absolutely magical. It’s been amazing to journey to faraway places with the children and their families.

 “Each child is, of course, inherently unique, but there are also added challenges in a hospital setting – some children are not able to move much, some are very tired, some are quite restless – and this means you have to try to meet each child on their terms and create an energy that fits with their particular circumstance.

“The same story can, depending on the child you meet, be told with great energy, very gently or in a much more humorous way!”

Sarah Fairbairn, Hospital Outreach Officer at the Wallace Collection, said: “We have been delighted by the patients’ reactions to our Stories on the Ward outreach programme.

“There is something very special about bringing to life a museum object through live music and we find that often children remember the story and songs from earlier sessions when we visit them again.

“Children love being involved in the storytelling; playing instruments, making up songs and guessing what will happen next. One patient always asks their mum to record our sessions on her phone so she can watch them later!”

The workshops are the latest collaboration between the Wallace Collection and the charity. The ‘Wallace on the Ward’ programme delivers interactive workshops to patients on the Albert Ward and the museum also takes part in the charity-funded ‘intergenerational parties’, highlighting the benefits of older patients mixing with children.

Click here to find out more about the charity’s arts engagement programme.

You can read about the Wallace Collection’s hospital outreach programme on their website.