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An immersive storytelling experience for schools during Covid lockdowns


location_on United Kingdom
Storyhaven is an immersive storytelling experience for use in socially distanced or virtual classrooms during Covid lockdowns with children aged 8-12 years old. It blends group roleplaying, lone reading experiences and live-stream Zoom connections with an actor to boost children’s creative writing, love of books, and mental wellbeing.
Gareth Osborne, writer and concept developer
Deep in Earth’s next ice age, stories have become the fuel for life. But now this precious resource is dwindling. Someone is stealing the town’s stories...

Gareth Osborne, writer and concept developer


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Gareth Osborne on June 29th, 2021
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Innovation Overview

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Updated on September 6th, 2021
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Covid-19 lockdowns continue to have a serious affect on children’s literacy and mental well-being. Children need transformative theatre and storytelling experiences to explore their emotions, experiment with their emergent identities and boost their educational attainment more than ever; however, schools’ normal connection with arts practitioners is still being disrupted.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Storyhaven’s main engagement is driven by an illustrated reading game that can be played on a tablet or mobile in real classrooms or breakout rooms. Children design their own characters, then navigate their way through the story in teams, talking decisions over in a way that builds social skills, peer-group integration and mental wellbeing.

Opportunities for children’s creative writing are built into the storyline, so that these tasks have real purpose for children within the experience. As the children progress through the story they compile these into an adventure journal to increase their ownership of the experience and produce a tangible literacy achievement by its end, which they might share with family and friends.

The storyline incorporates Zoom connections with an actor playing the character of the story shaman from the narrative to bring the children’s roleplaying to life and motivate them to produce the creative writing they will deliver to him through his time portal.

How has it been spreading?

Storyhaven won £30,000 of research funding in 2020 and was piloted by Kit Theatre Company over three months with Year 4-6 pupils in Bristol primary schools during the UK Coronavirus lockdown. It was shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize 2020 and spotlighted in the British Library’s Emerging Formats Archive.

It has recently secured another £20,000 of funding to run the experience more widely with schools as well as to develop the idea into an experience that families can use to encourage children's love of reading and books at home.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

You can read more about the project and the creative team behind it's development here:

If you wish to run Storyhaven in a school setting, please contact the project lead Gareth Osborne:


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Achievements & Awards

June 2021
Innovation page created on

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