Storytelling has always been fundamental across both our performance and participation programmes. As part of our Exodus – Take Part programme with KS2 classes we used images, objects and physical theatre games to start the conversation about migration, the perception of refugee arrivals and ways of storytelling.

One of our favourite visualisation exercises was our Key Memories: My First Home. The exercise began with an old bunch of keys from our Artistic Directors home in Italy…

Jumbled collection of old keys, rusted golds, coppers, silvers mixed in a box.

Students lay on the floor in a circle, with a cloth covering their eyes and an old key on their heart. Many of the children keep their hand pressed to the key as they talk about their first home.

What does it look on the outside? Is it house or a flat? How many windows does it have?

They move into the house, describing the entrance, what can you see? The rooms that sprawl from the hallways, the line of worn shoes by the door.

What can you hear? Creaking floorboards, music from the radio floating around the room.

What can you smell? Cooking in the kitchen, lemon, spices drifting in the air. Fresh laundry.

What can you feel? Warmth from the sun through the window, cold tiles beneath your feet.

As each child finds a memory, another one might associate with something they say, a word connecting to their own history. The rose patterned wallpaper in one bedroom, connected to roses grown in another’s garden.

A guided way of storytelling while sharing key memories with each other, it’s a brilliant way to create empathy and understanding around everyone’s own definition of home, what it means to lose your home and that some people don’t have somewhere to call home.

Children in bold blue uniforms lay in a circle with head together, a yellow cloth cover their eyed, they hold keys to their hearts.