Storytelling duo help school pupils understand refugee experiences

Suit and Pace

Beth alongside Andrew Coull are part of Suit and Pace - a creative duo which produces community comedy aiming to educate, entertain and engage communities by tackling serious issues with humour.

For this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland, Suit and Pace will be offering Sanctuary Stories, a series of interactive storytelling sessions at Kirkcaldy North Primary School. We have offered many storytelling opportunities within Fife in recent years, and this experience has shown us the potential for creating educational opportunities through such performances. For us, a key element of tackling challenging issues through storytelling is to keep our audiences as actively involved as possible.

We’ve found that storytelling can present a real opportunity to get children interested in a topic – we engage our participants through getting them to discuss the themes we cover, and, crucially, through letting them determine the outcome of our stories. And we use everything from instruments to puppets to craft activities to get the message across. Using these techniques, we hope to help our audience understand what refugees can experience, through exploring the feelings of our characters and considering situations from different perspectives.

For these sessions, we’re ensuring that we continue to keep things light – our stories will feature mice, aliens and fights over school poster competitions. Through discussion, we can link the concepts explored in these stories back to the reality of life for refugees. We can show why Scotland is viewed as a sanctuary while using humour – we’ve found that this relaxes our audiences, helping them to retain the message.

We’re really excited about being involved in Refugee Festival Scotland, particularly as we’re bringing an important topic to the children in our community. We’re hoping everyone will have a fun day, as well as coming away with a better understanding of both what refugees experience and the contribution they make to our communities. Good luck to everyone involved all over Scotland!

Sanctuary Stories takes place on Monday 15 June from 9am until 3pm at Kirkcaldy North Primary School.

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