David Pitt
David Pitt

All About David Pitt

David Pitt has a background as a musician and artist. He was formerly the Special Events Coordinator at Eureka! The Museum for Children in Halifax, where he devised and facilitated workshops and events for schools and family groups.

From 1998 to 2006 David was the Art Consultant for the CITV Science programme “The Big Bang” and is the author of “The Big Bang Book of Things to Make and Do” that accompanied the series.

Since 1996 “The Crowman” has taken his storytelling and activity sessions into hundreds of primary schools and libraries in England and Wales.

David Pitt has worked on behalf of the National Trust for their “Arts In Trust” environmental art and education projects and has conducted many library events for York, Bury, Barnsley, Doncaster, Bradford, Sheffield, North Yorkshire, Swansea, Carmarthen, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Rhondda CT libraries.

Other venues include Harewood House, Compton Verney, MAGNA, The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, Plantasia and The National Waterfront Museum Swansea.

David’s School Visits

“Shapeshifters” storytelling and shadow puppet making activity sessions with David Pitt as “The Crowman”

Shapeshifters workshops are suitable for all ages and abilities in the primary range, as a stimulus to creative writing and literacy in year 7 and 8, with young adults and as an intergenerational activity in community settings.

The workshop sessions can be delivered to a class sized group over one or two days with up to five separate class groups in a week or as an intensive five day programme working with a single small group of up to ten children with the emphasis on literacy and oracy through story making and improvised narratives.

The focus of the sessions is on archetypal story characters. The telling of traditional tales and myths by “The Crowman” is used to start the flow of ideas and creative imagination. A method of making a shadow puppet is demonstrated and the participants then create their own individual characters with the materials provided.

The quality and strength of the puppets produced is always high and often a surprise to the participants themselves. Even those who “can’t draw” can achieve results that they are proud of. The very simple shapes created by foundation phase pupils can be just as powerful as the more complex puppets by older age groups.

As well as the opportunity to express creative imagination, drawing and cutting out the puppets is a good test of manipulative skills and coordination. Understanding and predicting how the puppet shape being made will appear and behave when it is on the screen is a useful exercise in perception. Adding coloured cellophane highlights and the use of the stick mounted puppets with the screen also gives insights into some of the basic physics of light.

When these are shared at the end of each session, combinations of these characters start to suggest narratives that can be developed and extended into performances, online displays, photo story books using iPhoto and slide show animations with sound that can be presented as part of an ebook for iPad.

The large, bold graphic images that are produced make excellent displays when photographed and the participating group is left with skills in a medium for expressive performance that even the most timid enjoy.

Above all children find it easy to create and develop ideas for narrative structures and stories with this medium and all ages are delighted by the process.

David Pitt has recently delivered a programme of these sessions with year 7 boys (“reluctant readers”) on behalf of Rhondda Cynon Taff Schools Library Service as part of their “Boys Don’t Read! – Do They?” project and with similar school groups on behalf of Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Swansea and Cardiff Libraries using funding from the Basic Skills Cymru “Read a Million Words Together in Wales” initiative.

Reviews and Recommendations

“I think that this workshop is brilliant – not only does it fire up the imagination, but as you suggest, children are much more imaginative if they feel “safe” – which they do if they are “acting” through their puppets….It is also important that the children get the chance to work collaboratively on a creative project. Interaction between individuals at this young age is vital, and the dialogues can develop the story! There is scope throughout KS2 as well………as the curriculum is moving away from subject knowledge to the development of skills, including thinking skills, mathematical skills, creative skills, communication skills, problem solving skills, personal and social skills. You could map any one of these to your outline and they would be well covered”. Catherine Bleasdale – Lecturer of Primary English within ITET and Partnership Development Advisor for Initial Teacher Education and Training at Trinity University College Carmarthen.

“David has worked with pupils across the primary age range in his role as The Crowman. His work never fails to engage and motivate learners in an innovative and fun way. His input has led to some remarkable outcomes, particularly with boys and pupils with SEN, for whom writing is often seen as a laborious chore. His ability to tailor his work to the needs of the school has ensured that he has always provided a relevant input that is good value for money. I look forward to working with him again in the near future.” Amanda Taylor – Head Teacher, Trallwn Primary School, Swansea.

“An exciting and memorable experience for the children and a brilliant cross-curricular activity for the library with plenty of scope for follow work up in the classroom.” Angela Evans – School Librarian, Ysgol Gyfun Maes yr Yrfa, Carmarthen.

“Fantastic! The atmospheric storytelling and the creative puppet activities engaged our special needs pupils at all levels. We would be happy to have The Crowman return to deliver another workshop encouraging reluctant readers to explore alternative ways of learning.” Debbie Payne – Rhydygors School, Carmarthen

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about David Pitt, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk

Further information on David Pitt is available from his website: http://www.thecrowman.net