Patrick Ryan Storyteller > Projects

Patrick Ryan Projects
  • Patrick Ryan telling stories at October Plenty Festival, Borough Market, with Lions part Theatre Company.

  • London Children's Book Swap 2017, Charlton House, London SE7, Sat. 11 February 11 am to 3 pm, Storytelling 1.30-2.30
  • Chippenham Folk Festival Chippenham, Wiltshire, Fri. - Mon. 26-27-28-29 May, Storytelling 27-28 May
  • Festival at the Edge, Stories, Music, Family Fun, Whitchurch, Wenlock Edge, Shropshire, Fri.-Sun.  28-29-30 July
  • Féile Scéalaíochta Chléire / Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival Cape Clear Island, off Baltimore, Co. Cork, Fri.-Sun.-Mon., 1-3 September 

CHILDREN'S BOOKS BOOK GROUP FOR OLDHAM LIBRARIES.  CAT, the staff engagement project developing librarians and library assistant's product knowledge of children's books, has been continued. From Septemver 2016 to March 2017 I'll be acting as facilitator for two Children's Books Book Groups for Oldham Libraries.  Libraries and Information Manager Andrea Ellison and Children's Services Librarian Beverley Fitzsimons initiated the project in 2015 to develop greater knowledge about children's books.  I'll be working with them to develop reading lists and other resouces, and by hosting the reading group meetings and assisting staff in promoting the books through social media and interaction in the work place. 

PATRON OF READING, at Bury St. Edmunds County Upper School.  I've been invited to be Patron of Reading at Bury St. Edmunds County Upper School (  This is an outreach programme by a great charity, Patrons of Reading ( who match writers, poets and storytellers wtih schools all over the country.  We visit the school a few times through the year, correspond with the teachers and students through letters, emails, blogs and social networking and provide ideas and inspiration and motivation to encourage more reading for pleasure.  My first visit to Bury St. Edmunds County Upper School was in December 2013, to take part in their Awards Ceremony at the end of their Charity Week.  What a great introduction to the school!  Fantastic staff and amazing students--led by the Sixth Form in a wild variety of challenges, games and activities the pupils and staff had raised an astounding amount of money for local, national and international charities.  All this was celebrated by a marvelous concert by the school band and a flashy, well-made video document all the hard work and fun that week.  I'll be visiting the school again in January to do some workshops, and some storytelling for their feeder primary and middle schools.  I'm looking forward to being a part of the Bury St. Edmunds County Upper School Community.  

CATCHING WORDS, a project run by the DISCOVER CHILDREN'S STORY CENTRE.  Now entering it's fifth year, Catching Words is a literacy intervention project working with year two pupils who are not achieving the levels expected of them. The project involves a writer and a Story Builder going into school and running active literacy sessions aimed to boost children’s confidence and attainment with reading and writing.  They have run the project in seven schools since 2009 and have found it to have a significant impact on reading and writing National Curriculum levels.  Across the three years 42% of children who were working below Level 1 have progressed into Level 2 in writing and 47% have in reading on the project's completion. The project has extended this year and I'll be joining 20 other artists to work in three of the schools in the summer term in 2014.  It's wonderful and exciting to be working on such a fantastic scheme that's close to home. (For more information, see

October 2016
  • Southbank International School Book Week
  • CAT: Children's Books and Talk, Oldham Libraries
  • County Meath Libraries--Children's Book Festival Ireland
  • "Wide-Eyed Stories from Where the Sun Sets--Traditional Folk Tales from the Corners of Europe" Fingal County Libraries--Children's Book Festival Ireland
  • "Shaking with Shakespeare" South Dublin County Libraries--Red Line Book Festival / Children's Book Festival Ireland
  • Galway Libraries--Children's Book Festival Ireland
  • October Plenty, The Lion's Part Theatre Company at Bankside, Globe Theatre, and Borough Market, 23 October
  • Shakespeare Day, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham Libraries, 24 October
  • Ghosts in the Glen--Storytelling Festival over Hallowe'en Weekend 28-29-30 October, Cushendall, N. Ireland
November 2016
  • CAT: Children's Books and Talk, Oldham Council Libraries
  • Washington International School
  • University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
  • Riverton Elementary School
December 2016
  • CAT: Children's Books and Talk, Oldham Libraries
  • Centro Internazionale Studi tour--schools in Padova, Mestre, Venezia
  • International School of Bologna
January 2017
  • 12th Night Festival at Bankside with the Bankside Mummers--The Lion's part Theatre Company, with The Green Man and singing, dancing, wassailling, and mumming at the Globe and Bankside, continued with morris dancing and storytelling at the George Inn
  • CAT: Children's Books and Talk, Oldham Libraries
  • Catching Words Project, in various East London Schools, with Discover Story Centre
  • Vale of Glamorgan Libraries Storytelling Course
  • Northern Ireland Libraries Storytelling Project
  • St Mark's Secondary School, Warrenpoint
February 2017
  • Rye St Antony School, for National Storytelling Week
  • Hey with Zion Primary School, Oldham
  • CAT: Children's Books and Talk, Oldham Libraries
  • Poetry Out Loud competition, Springfield Illinois (Judge)
  • Williamsville Middle School
  • Blessed Sacrament Elementary School
March 2017
  • Blue Gate Fields School
  • Our Lady of Victories School (World Book Day)
  • Glendermott Primary School
  • Northern Ireland Libraries Storytelling Project
  • Limavady Central Primary School
  • ISLAND Arts Centre, Lisburn
  • St Patrick's Day Festival, Down County Museum
  • TASIS England International School
  • International School of Paris
April 2017
  • George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling Annual Symposium
  • International School of Brussels Residency
May 2017
  • Early Excellence Open Evening, London
  • Chippenham Folk Festival
June 2017
  • Early Excellence Open Evening, Huddersfield
  • Hodge Hill Secondary Schooll, Authors Aloud
July 2017
  • Festival at the Edge: Stories, Music, Family Fun
August 2017

September 2017
  • Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival

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International School of Amsterdam Storytelling Festival  A special festival, with Niall De Búrca, Pat Ryan, Stuart Stotts, Morgan Schatz Blackrose and Roman Schatz.  This is a festival for international school teachers, with performances and storytelling sessions but also workshops, lectures, and  seminars.

International School of Brussels Summer Institute A summer school for teachers, with instructors from across the world leading in many specialties in education. Donna Schatt and I delivered a 3 day course on storytelling. The group included 4 teachers, 3 librarians and 3 interns who successfully developed their storytelling abilities and some wonderful stories, and who are supporting each other to continue weekly storytelling throughout the academic year.

Catching Words A long-running project with schools across East London boroughs and schools in Hertfordshire and Esses, which I joined in 2013.  Poets, storytellers and writers work with year 2 students to provide experiences in all these areas and support the children's storytelling, literacy, and creative writing.  This year sees the project expand further, to include KS2 classes as well.

Transatlantic Connections Conference 2, Bundoran, Donegal and Drew University, Janaury 2015  One of the best conferences I've been to in ages.  Great presentations by everyone, in a wonderful setting by the sea and in view of the Donegal mountains.  So many outstanding talks and performances, but Mick Moloney's and Theo Dorgan's talks stand out, as does the singing and music of the Henry Sisters, and of brothers Rory and Conor Corbbett.

World Cup Story Book and Football Shorts, July 2014  A great festival, telling stories with coaches, writers, and poets representing Tottenham Hotspurs, Arsenal and Crystal Palace Football Clubs.  We told and read stories and poems, talked about football and took part in a fun piece of drama, all held in a Pop-up Theatre in the shape of a City Gent's Bowler Hat set up in the middle of Pater Noster Square, right in the shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral.  Great fun was had by all. 

Storyteller in Residence at Moscow Children's Book Festival, July 2013.  A wonderful weekend and amazing experience.  I was asked to tell stories and run creative writing workshops for the annual Book Festival in Moscow. The children were great fun and enthusiastic to tell and write, and to listen to stories. The interpreters and translators were marvelous, and my hosts fantastic organisers who were supportive and who provided lots of opportunities to talk to and learn from Russian writers,  storytellers, actors, academics, and children's publishers, and other visiting writers from Portugal and Sweden.  The also found time to take me around many famous Moscow spots. A memorable delightful journey.

Storyteller in Residence for CARDAN in the Deptarment of the Somme, Picardy, France, July 2013  A week-long residency involving storytelling, creative writing workshops, and oral history sessions. This was organised by CARDAN, a charity that develops formal and informal education in the community for all ages, but especially for adults with special learning needs and teenagers and children in areas of socio-economical deprivation. CARDAN focuses on developing literacy and bilingualism. Working with the local librarians who organised my itinerary and invited me into their homes, libraries, and favourite spots around the area, it was an enjoyable and productive week and provided new insight and ideas for work with adults, and with children and teens in bilingual settings.

Creative Change a project developing the curriculum, teacher training, and cross-community work in education with Liz Weir and other artists, and staff at University of Ulster. Creative Change used creativity to promote mutual understanding and cross sector collaboration between 10 schools in the Coleraine area. It was funded by the International Fund for Ireland ‘Sharing in Education Programme’ and the University of Ulster.  Liz Weir and Pat Ryan are provided training in storytelling to teachers, classroom assistants, parents, grandparents and carers, and told stories to children in nursery and P1 and P2 classes.  (see: 

CyMAL -- Wales' Museums Archives and Libraries Studies and Course  In my capacity as a Research Fellow at the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling, the GEECS and I were asked by CyMAL to develop and deliver an accredited course in storytelling to children aged give and under.  This course will be for all frontline staff in libraries and museums in Wales, and for volunteers in Welsh Museums.  In addition, GEECS was also asked to do an analysis of and report on current story time practices in museums, archives and libraries in Wales with recommendations for the future. STILL SPELL-BOUND: STORY TIMES IN WELSH MUSEUMS, ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES / YN DAL O DAN SWYN: AMSER STORI MEWN AMGUEDDFEYDD, ARCHIFAU A LLYFRGELLOEDD YNG NGHYMRU, a report for CyMAL is not available through CyMAL and the George Ewart Evans Centre, and an official Ministerial launch of the report will be on 13 March 2014.

Writer-in-Residence, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada  This was a fantastic experience, with a focus on research and writing.  I also contribured various lectures on storytelling in many university departments, took part in the Thin Air Literature Festival for 2011, told stories at a fundraiser at Aqua Books, advised creative writing students on their work, and took part in local storytelling activities.  I met local tellers, and heard some wonderful authors including many Aboriginal writers, and heard fantastic musicians from all sorts of backgrounds.  My research and writing include various academic articles and conference papers, a new anthology, and with my colleague at Chicago, Donna Schatt, a study of a 120 year old educational storytelling programme which has significance for studies today in cognitive development, critical literacy and active learning.

AND:  Sports Stories and Kick into Reading:  Projects with the National Literacy Trust and professional football across England and Wales. Sports Stories and Kick into Reading used the power of stories to promote reading, writing and speaking to produce a book written by the fans for the fans. My job is to train football club staff: players, coaches, study support centre teachers, and scholars (apprentice players) to tell and read aloud stories to children. These new storytellers then go into libraries, schools and hospitals to entertain children and recruit them and their families to contribute to an oral history of their club created by the fans, which is made into a book. With this and Kick into Reading, an earlier NLT scheme involving storytelling and sport, I've worked with the following football clubs:

Oxford United
Charlton Athletic
Manchester United
Blackburn Rovers
Mansfield Town
Stoke City
Nottingham Forest
Colchester United
Norwich City
West Bromwich Albion
Plymouth Argyle
Leeds United
Cardiff City

Active Learning with Artforms Leeds. The resource pages and reports for Spoken and Written Word Active Learning are now up and running and live on Artforms' Webpages. The children, teachers, librarians and artists did a great job, and want you to make use of their ideas. Do check them out! Active Learning is a project giving teachers and artists the opportunity to learn together, supported by national arts specialists. I am the course facilitator for its 'Written and Spoken Word Programme'. This involves teaching and creating course materials to support 12 teachers, 2 librarians and 12 written and spoken word artists (wonderful poets, storytellers, writers, and performers).

'A Queen of the Fit-Ups, A Queen of Storytellers: The Life and Times of Mealda Hall' Mealda Hall (née Doherty) is a storyteller and actress, born and raised in Strokestown, Roscommon and a long time resident (and storyteller, women's activist and peace activist) in Belfast. For 15 years I've been recording Mealda's amazing life stories and have nearly finished compiling these in an archive we hope to make available for publication and for other scholars. Her life stories reflect the social and political history of the island of Ireland over the past 90 years, with unique insight into the Fit-Up theatres (travelling rural theatre companies where Mealda starred the '30s and '40s)

'Talking the Game' Over the last ten years I've been working with various football clubs in England and Wales, and football, GAA and rugby clubs in Ireland and Northern Ireland. During this time I've also been gathering stories by the players and coaches, and making observations of their stories and storytelling skills. I'm compiling this data for analysis in a range of academic papers.

'Seven Wise Masters and Seven Wise Mistresses' When researching Shakespeare's Storybook, I came across a medieval frame narrative equally popular in Classical, Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions. From the 17th through early 19th centuries in Ireland it was used to teach children to read. I'm looking at earlier sources of these two chapbooks, studying various stories from this series. I hope to develop these for performance and to use them in residencies and workshops to explore how stories link and are even a fusion of ideas, narratives and experiences shared by diverse, interacting cultural groups.

'School Storytelling Programmes for 5, 6 and 7 year olds' Donna Schatt, researcher at the University of Chicago, and I are examining the records of a long-running storytelling programme. We hope to identify patterns in the choice of stories popularly told across generations of librarians and teachers, and to find a method for measuring the impact of such long-term storytelling programmes on learning and child development.