I am a free-lance storyteller, actor, drama practitioner and early years practitioner.
I work in schools, libraries, museums and pre-schools throughout Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole to cross-generational audiences
I have worked with Sharon and Tony since 1999 having first met Sharon when we were students on the Performing Arts course at Bournemouth and Poole College, and remember experiencing Tony’s work at the BCCA when I was at school! (Can that be true, surely I am mistaken).
I trained in London for three years as an actor and developed skills working with various theatre companies around the world.
I love working with State of Play because you never know what’s going to happen. Being part of a team of creative professionals provides the catalyst for exploring and developing ideas that challenge the normal ‘state of play’ in a non-threatening environment.
For more information about Michele’s work go to her website: micheleobrien.co.uk
I have worked as Assistant Director and Stage Manager for Double Acts’ performances of Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, and The Christmas Carol.
It has been wonderful to share my skills with a group of dedicated performers whose ability to learn and grow inspires. I hope to be part of the groups aims to become more professional.
For a number of years I have been working for the Borough of Poole as lead artist with a programme for Gifted and Talented. This materialised as a week’s exploration through drama, research and writing to extend their understanding of Poole’s past through the character of Granny Cousins. Participant’s performances form the highlight of the week, as did a sleepover in Scaplen’s Court Museum.
I have been involved with many projects for formerly Bournemouth Theatre in Education an NHS programme which, allowed nurses to observe and identify problems with their difficult job in a safe and supportive environment. It was fascinating to enter a world, which demands such dedication. The use of Forum Theatre to engage audiences in the learning process has an immediate and visible effect for change which I really enjoy being part of. Allowing participants to discuss and open up to possible solutions to difficult situations. Most rewarding!
I have taught for Bournemouth Adult Education and entered many students for LAMDA exams, adults and children. This has allowed some students the confidence to move on to drama schools or enter the wild world of theatre.
I have toured with Forest Forge Theatre Company’s production of ‘To the Marrow’ by Sean Aita. The play gave me the opportunity to create many different characters; twins both experiencing very different lives, with the quite amazing Michele O’Brien as both their wives, albeit twin sisters. Daisy, who had an allotment and used the power of chanting to encourage her veg to grow, along with a judge and radio presenter. The play visited rural settings in Hampshire and Dorset and of which The Stage wrote: “Michele O’Brien excels in at least six parts … wonderfully ignites both halves of the show”. March 2008
I have been working with Poole Museum and writer Kate O’Malley to bring to life the story of Suffragette Minnie Baldock, who paid the price of her convictions, spending time in prison. As a working woman it has been fascinating imagining her life, with the passions, which influence our lives today.
I specialise in inter-active, experiential storytelling as characters such as: Lady Annie Russell Coates, Queen Elizabeth I, Ann Boleyn and even Princess Leia from Star Wars! I try to find a perspective to allow the stories to be new and inspiring.
I have in the past been commissioned to create stories for The Sting in the Tale festival. ‘Tales from the Opera House’ gave me the opportunity to research and develop a Victorian music hall character based on Marie Lloyd and take the audience with me on a journey to rediscover it’s past.
“Michele O’Brien commanded the audience and held us spellbound for an hour”: Tales from the Operahouse (Victorian Music Hall), August 2006.
My Ghost Walk of Old Poole Town as local Victorian character Granny Cousins has been entertaining local people and visitors since 1997 and in 2004 won a Poole Tourism Palm Award. As the most haunted place in Dorset with its rich history, Poole was the obvious place for a ghost walk. Stepping behind the Quay, down the lanes and through the tight alleyways, you never know what, or who you might meet. It’s an entertaining and informative evening walk and tells you about some of the people that have lived, worked and……..haunted this ancient fishing port. Blood curdling invaders, enraged traders and drunken pirates, they’ve all been there! I also love meeting both local people and visitors through the walk and lots of people share their story with us.
Early years practitioner
As part of Poole’s Cultural Hub Early Years work I became interested in Vivian Gussin-Paley’s story square. I developed ‘Lily and Crow’ with Tony, a play for under 5’s exploring emotional intelligence. This has lead to collaborations with puppeteer Teresa Grimaldi working for Creative Partnerships in Southampton. Stories are always important to us allowing us to discover ourselves, and the world we live in. What a wonderful opportunity to understand, to gain an-insight into a young mind. I hope to continue working with this technique and listening to great stories helping me to understand the fascinating world I live in.