Quotes on audience responses to previous work:
What they're saying about the 'Shelley Walks experience at Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival
"Evocative and pleasantly reassuring - it works"
"Amazing experience. Like being taken back in time and being there for real"
"Extraordinary and most unexpected tale of Mary and Percy Shelley. Very interesting"
"A truly incredible feeling! As soon as it started and I was led away, I entered a diferent world!"Thank you for the great 10 minutes that seemed ever so much longer!"
"What an unusual experience! Very atmospheric and very well done!"
"Loved it, great atmosphere and really felt as though I was there with 'Mary', Thank you"
Company Social Event
I want to thank you for the excellent entertainment that you provided to Meggitt last evening. We all thoroughly enjoyed the Ghost Tour and it was a great talking point through dinner.
I’ll definitely book you for another future event and will be in touch in due course.
Hook-with-Warsash Primary School
I just wanted to write and thank you for all the wonderful stories you told our children last week. Your ability to fully engage so many children was fantastic. The children continue to talk about what you told them and have been retelling the stories to their friends.
Staff in school have expressed envy over your ability to hold an audience so well! Parents and carers have commented on the enthusiastic responses by their children following your sessions. As the use of speaking and listening leading into story writing is a major focus of ours for this year and next we found your visits particularly useful and we will be trying to adopt some of the methods we saw you using from September.
Brilliant walk this evening - thanks Granny! Some great ghost stories, and the history of Poole brought to life, better than a trip to a museum any day. If you are a local or a visitor I'd recommend you get to one of the walks you won't be disappointed!
What a great night! I recommend to all. Watch out for the 'hand'!
My partner and I came along to your ghost walk of old Poole town last Wednesday with our three children and we all really enjoyed it. Thank you very much for a great evening!
Went on the Ghost Walk yesterday evening and really enjoyed it. Learnt so much about the town I have lived in for 33 years. Great entertainment and very well done. Thanks guys. xxx
Co-Director Bournemouth Theatre in Education
I’m sure I haven’t told you enough how much I value your input to the Next Stage project. Your commitment is so total and so focused that I am able to relax in a way I never could.
Thanks for your performances - brilliant as usual!
Children’s Librarian Poole
I have worked with Michele many times in my capacity as Children's Services Librarian for Poole Libraries, and previously when I worked for Bournemouth Libraries. Michele is always professional and is expert at adapting her performances to the audience, as well as creating bespoke performances based on what we need at a given time. Her skills as a performer are amazing, and she always has the audience captive and engaged. I have worked with her again and again because I know her professionalism and performance quality are consistent and of an extremely high standard.
I've been meaning to send you a message to say a friend of mine[Sue Evans-Thomas] came on one of your walks and she enjoyed it immensely and was full of praise for you ... and suggested we contact you to get involved with PLF!!
I have worked with Michele O’Brien for over 10 years, mainly through employing her as a freelance performer/drama facilitator for Bournemouth Borough Council’s theatre in education team, of which I was Co-Director until its demise in 2009.
Michele is an outstanding actor and storyteller, with considerable skill in engaging people of all ages in her shows, humorously and deftly enabling them to suspend disbelief and enter into the complicity of actor and audience. She also has a very good understanding of educational matters, specifically how children can learn through open-ended play. She was involved in an extensive Early Years arts project with me three years ago and has gone on to specialize in this field in several Creative Partnership projects.
I have performed with her in many productions, including a site-specific promenade show, based on the lives of Bournemouth philanthropists Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes, who gave their home in 1907 to become the current Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. Commissioned by Bournemouth Borough Council’s Arts Development Officer, this show was performed over three consecutive years. She also participated as a puppeteer and storyteller in a site-specific outdoor community play in Holt Forest, near Wimborne, with a cast of 50 performed by Wimborne Community Theatre, of which I am Artistic Director.
Michele is always stimulating and easy to work with and is also extremely hard working and efficient backstage. She has stage managed our annual Double Act (Disability Theatre) shows successfully for several years. She is a superb team member, who always gives more than she takes.
Since leaving Bournemouth Theatre in Education, I have invited Michele to become a partner in a new informal arts organization, State of Play Arts. I look forward to our future collaborations.
Meanwhile, I am quite sure she will be able to make The Spice Box Project a powerful and highly effective piece of street theatre, which enhances and enriches cultural provision in Dorset.
I have known Michele for many years, and particularly through her participation in various theatre and storytelling projects in Bournemouth and with Wimborne Community Theatre.
As Arts Development Officer for Bournemouth Borough Council, I worked with her on a number of theatre and storytelling projects and on each occasion was impressed not only by her highly skilled performance as an actor, but for her commitment, professionalism and creative input.
Projects included: At Home with the Russell-Cotes, and a piece reflecting the history of the Opera House, Boscombe. Michele’s enthusiasm and experience of working in unusual locations is exemplified in both these projects. In theatre and non-theatre spaces Michele is able to draw audience members into the spell of the piece, with humour and conviction.
Michele also took part in many storytelling projects within the Bournemouth Library service and her skills as a storyteller are highly respected.
Spice Box is an ideal project to engage people of all ages in portraying themes of history and place and would have relevance to a range of organizations and sites along the coast.
Senior Lecturer in Acting
The Arts University College at Bournemouth
I would like to offer my support for theatre practitioner Michele O’Brien. Michele is a very talented and highly motivated individual, she is possessed of a creative imagination coupled with practicality and good management ability. I am certain that any project she undertakes will be completed to a very high standard.
Former artistic director Forest Forge Theatre Company – Board Member Poole Lighthouse Centre for the Arts.
I first began working with Michele through a Cultural Hub Artists and Early years project in 2007-8. As a specialist in the Reggio Approach to Early Years Education I acted as both Mentor and fellow lead artist.
Michele became a natural collaborator with a generous and flexible approach to creative and professional collaboration with cross art form projects.
The pedagogical approach that we took within this project clearly demonstrated Michele's passion for Continual Professional Development and a dialogue of learning and reflection that was of great value to us all. I certainly learnt a lot from Michele's approach and integrity.
Michele, as storyteller has a unique quality of spontenaety, responding to the listeners/particiants interests and engaging with that interest whilst remaining true to the story( which on this project would often be the childrens own personal story. Michele's approach demands an active engagement from her audience to create a satisfying, shared experience. And there is much laughter too!
I hope to continue developing project ideas, research and creative dialogue with Michele - and the quality of her work comes, from me, highly reccomended.
Poole Arts Development Unit
Borough of Poole
I thought the piece was beautiful quality - so well made, and your performance held the crowd each time you performed. I especially liked the participatory elements and the puppets were stunning.
Early Years Consultant
Borough of Poole
Michele is a great advocate for the work of ‘ Vivian Gussin Paley’ keeping the child’s voice at the centre of storytelling. She provided inspiring training for our ECaT and story telling workshops. We have clearly seen the impact of this in settings around Poole.
Thank you so much for all your hard work at Copnor and at Hook, and the wonderful Quilley, it has been really good for me to know that I had someone of your quality and your reliability to be in those schools.
Old Town First School & Nursery
Thanks again for a lovely day last week, we all really enjoyed it! We have all said we are definitely going to do more drama next year as it was so successful! We did do some follow-up work that afternoon where the children spoke to granny bear and some of them are still talking about it now which is really lovely.
We would definitely like to work with you again, I will be in touch next year!
Copnor Junior School Portsmouth,
Creative Partnership project
Year 4 students
“It was really fun and it helped me with my drama”
“I think the drama with Michele went great, it was awesome. The best part was when Michele acted as Larny, it really made me laugh!”
“I think working with Michele was really cool”
“A great mornings entertainment for young children. Very well run.” Myra
“Fun here, I like to pretend” Jasmine
"Brilliant at getting children to use imagination, and go on adventures with other children, not just on their own.” Mum of two
“A lovely time with adventures and imagination combined. We love coming and enjoy the storytelling with you Meme you have lots of patience” Sherrie and Alex
Bristol Festival of Puppetry
"I think it was a really good show. It was stupendous, ridiculous."
"Absolutely amazing! If I was a kid I'd love it. Tell a lie I loved it anyway!" Liam
"Very very good!" Jazz
"Last time I didn't want it to end" Kira aged 6
"We all really enjoyed the show - fantastic engaging storytelling for all ages. Our little children probably didn't get some bits, but they loved it just the same."
"Fantastic - the art of storytelling being revived. A must for children."
"Thunderstorm was the best bit."
"So nice we watched it twice! - Totally transported - what a magical adventure.....and even learned something too!" Lex