Storytelling with the Greeks begins with a very warm welcome to the Walker Art Gallery. There is discussion about what the pupils will see during their visit and how Greek mythology has inspired artists. There is an opportunity for questions a chance for pupils to share prior knowledge about the Ancient Greeks and Greek myths, before exploring the painting 'Atlanta and Meleager' through storytelling and drama.
The class is introduced to 'Atlanta and Meleager', a painting by Charles le Brun, a 17th century artist. This painting shows a scene from the Calydonian Boar Hunt and forms the basis of our session. The pupils are invited to study the painting, identifying the main characters and their attributes. They discuss what imagery the artist has painted to allow us to ‘read’ the story, developing their visual literacy. The member of staff then tells the story of the heroine Atlanta, mortal Meleager and hunt to the pupils. The story telling is punctuated with opportunities for pupil participation. Discussion is around what they see, their thoughts, feelings and what may happen next. This approach allows the pupils to help read the painting and tell the story, developing their confidence in interpreting paintings, visual literacy and critical thinking skills. The pupils knowledge and understanding of Greek myths, characters from Greek mythology and vocabulary is also expanded.
The storytelling is followed by a practical element which gives pupils the chance to develop the beginnings of a play script using the painting as a stimulus. As a group pupils consider what style of writing they may use, the purpose of the written work, and what punctuation they may use. In pairs they then discuss key words and themes to get ideas for their writing and develop a dialogue between the characters. They are then invited to share their writing with the group.
The session concludes with a drama performance. The script and actors are selected by the class and the piece is acted out in front of the painting 'Atlanta and Meleager'. This session is a unique opportunity for pupils enjoy and engage with storytelling and use a visual image to inspire creative writing within an art gallery setting.
Pupils will be introduced to these concepts: