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Settle charity strives to make lockdown World Book Day best yet

storyteller Alia Alzougbi

Yorkshire based arts charity Settle Stories are on a mission to reach 10,000 children this World Book Day. They will offer two free online live performances for primary school children. 

Settle Stories was founded in 2010 in the rural Yorkshire Dales. One of the key principles of the charity was that the arts should be available to all including rural communities. When the pandemic struck in 2020, Settle Stories were more determined than ever to change lives with the power of story. They believe, in a time of isolation, people need stories and social connection more than ever before.

In August 2020, Settle Stories put on the largest free online storytelling festival globally, Yorkshire Festival of Story. They streamed performances and workshops to homes across the globe. The festival audience increased by 300% with an average watch time of just under an hour.  Settle Stories digital triumphs haven’t stopped there. At Christmas the charity reached 6000 children with their free online show.

This year is no different, except they want to go even bigger and Settle Stories is determined the global pandemic won’t ruin World Book Day 2021.  With storytellers unable to visit schools, Settle Stories are streaming storytelling live into classrooms and children’s homes. To celebrate World Book Day 2021 (a celebration of stories & literature marked annually by over 100 countries) they are offering two free online live performances with storyteller Alia Alzougbi, for primary schools.

Alia is an award winning Arabic storyteller, for World Book Day she will treat the audience to a delightfully mischievous hour as she recounts some of the lesser-known stories from the timeless collection of the Arabian Nights. She will take audiences on a journey to ancient Arabia and escape the uncertainty and realities of the pandemic. With more than one thousand and one stories to choose, and an even wider array of weird and wonderful characters, this hour is sure to be a wonderful celebration of stories.

Settle Stories hope to reach 10,000 children this World Book Day but without support from the community this target will be impossible. They need members of the public to spread the word, share with parents, younger family members and local schools - give the gift of stories to all the children they know.

Charles Tyrer, Settle Stories’ Executive Director, said “I’m delighted the pandemic hasn’t stopped us sharing storytelling. During a difficult time for many, I hope that some may find respite in the gift of stories, which is why I’m so glad we’re able to offer our events for free and to a global audience. Reaching 10,000 children may seem impossible but I know that with help from our supporters it can be achieved.”

The event is taking place online on Wed 3rd March . Tickets can be booked, for free, from www.settlestories.org.uk. Two live performances are being offered. The morning show (9.30-10.15am) is aimed at KS1 students and the afternoon show (1.30-2.15pm) is suitable for KS2.

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