The Story Tree


Tim Laycock, Dorset based storyteller, folk musician and actor, and Lal Hitchcock, a visual artist who is known for her creative work using found materials, led this innovative story telling project, devised in response to an expressed demand from Artsreach audiences in Dorset for more story telling provision in the county.

The Story Tree worked with six groups, and Lal was commissioned to produce a different 'Story Tree', designed for the particular needs of each group, which provided a visual focus for storytelling sessions. Lal worked engaged participants in making objects associated with or suggested by stories which could work as a stimulus to further stories and as props during performance.

Tim then worked with each of the groups, helping them to develop their storytelling techniques and confidence. The work with each group culminated in a performance, and the strength of the performances given by the Community Story Tree Club at the final public event at Cranborne Ancient Technology Centre, the praise for the storytellers and musicians and interest shown by the audience in the Story Tree itself, was testament to the enthusiasm of the participants and the value of the input given by Tim and Lal. The Story Tree project was demanding as it was breaking new ground, but the overall success and positive response of participants was very satisfying.

Story Tree worked with:

  • Community Story Tree Club - a community group which met 7 times in 3 village halls geographically spread across Dorset (Powerstock, Ibberton and Edmondsham) and participated in the final performance during Blah di Blah.
  • Yewstock School for children with special needs (Sturminster Newton)
  • Sidney Gale Day and Residential Centres for the elderly (Bridport)
  • Toby’s Drop in Centre’s Young Parents’ Group (Shaftesbury)
  • Portland Young Offenders’ Institution
  • School Bloomers – a school reminiscence project which involved two Sturminster Newton groups (The Silver Threads Group and residents of Nazareth House) and culminated with a day in Sturminster Newton Hall for all members of the community