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Fiona Hamilton and Moira Hunt are leading drama workshops as part of Portrait of a Nation.

Fiona works with young people in schools and the community on drama and poetry projects. These have included the film, dance and spoken word production ‘Travelling in Time’ about the life and work of Brunel, created in 2006.

She has two poetry collections: Poems for People (published in 2005) for younger readers, and Skinandi (2006), which was featured on Radio 4’s Poetry Please

Her commissions have recently included a writing residency for the National Trust and a story for the Bath Literature Festival and BBC Radio 4.

She teaches at Bristol University and runs creative writing sessions for people in healthcare settings, believing that the writing process can enrich lives and contribute to well-being.

Fiona has provided drama, writing and art workshops for three of the previous Great Reading Adventures and for Brunel 200.

Great Reading Adventure workshop 2005.

Fiona Hamilton working with pupils at Avon Primary (Martin Chainey).

Comments received in 2006 included:

“All the students enjoyed the workshop very much. All have moderate learning difficulties with a high level of literacy support needs. Everyone readily participated in the speaking and listening activities and even the most reluctant student was encouraged to write a brief postcard. The workshop provided lots of follow on activities.”

“Good for social development. The story was well explored.”

“Extended activity creative thinking, teamwork, led to children reading the book. Most of all, they had fun.”

“I thought the children really enjoyed this activity. It was appropriate for all the children – who ranged in age from six to twelve. I thought it helped them to explore the story.”

“I would hope to be able to host this wonderful kind of workshop again next year. It offers excellent child-lead learning – a real exemplar of engaged, creative work.”

“It was really fun – we learnt that drama isn’t just about following scripts – you can make it up!”

Moira led drama workshops during Small Island Read 2007. Comments received included:

"... really good - all children enjoyed activities/ were able to access them at their own level. I learnt too!"

" They loved the drama games and the team building aspects."

"A lot of the children are not great readers/ writers so they found the chance to explore stories through other methods really inspiring."

" I liked the way all the children were involved. I think this session will help them think about character descriptions within stories."

"Great group work opportunity. Children really engaged and Moira was very positive and full of energy for a Friday afternoon."

"They all gained in confidence and understanding as the session progressed."

Workshop led by Moira Hunt at St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School, 2008 (Vicky Washington).

Workshop led by Moira Hunt at St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School, 2008 (Vicky Washington).

Workshop led by Moira Hunt at St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School, 2008 (Vicky Washington).


Contact Fiona here:

Some Teacher Feedback

"Very well thought out workshop – children were encouraged to think more deeply about their local area. Sentences that came from children's ideas on day one had been woven into scripts to accompany statues that children performed. Good for children to work in a large group – they find this difficult. Children had to focus on listening and co-operation skills and work as a team."

"Fiona is an excellent drama coach with experience and a very engaging manner with the children. These sessions were excellent – well planned and delivered. All children were fully involved throughout and enthusiastic about the activities. The resulting performance was very good and we may well use it in a future Year Group Assembly."

"Children that I least expected to feel confident in this type of lesson surprised me."

"In a three hour session the girls produced two plays of high quality. This was our last workshop. It has been a fantastic experience to be taken off timetable and given the chance to be so creative. Thank you."

"Children were very engaged with the varied activities, which I think I can reuse in other sessions. Benefited from working together and co-operating in groups not necessarily their usual work or friendship groupings, and being able to express themselves creatively."

"Children were all engaged with varied activities. They co-operated in different situations. These activities will be able to be used again and built on in other sessions."

"Very well structured and organised. The workshop enabled the children to explore many themes of Portrait of a Nation. Because it was well structured it brought out the best in many children who ordinarily find drama difficult."

"Moira engaged the children in fun activities appropriate to their age and ability. A great chance for them all to practise/ develop speaking and listening skills."

"This year 4 class are particularly enthusiastic when talking and love drama activities. They really enjoyed channelling their enthusiasm through this workshop. It reinforces work on listening and taking turns in talking which we work on. It also allowed them to work in small groups and team situation. I would recommend this workshop to any year group in the school."

Pupils at Avon Primary in a drama workshop (Martin Chainey).

Pupils at Avon Primary in a drama workshop (Martin Chainey).

Avon Primary pupils in their drama workshop (Martin Chainey).

Avon Primary pupils in their drama workshop (Martin Chainey).