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Bernadette Russell

Storyteller, author, speaker, kindness campaigner,  playwright,  tree planter

Home: Welcome

"Who is Bernadette Russell?"

I hear you cry. Well...

Thanks so much for visiting- I am a passionate champion of kindness, wonder, hope, joy and FUN! I am an author, performance storyteller, theatre maker, workshop facilitator, cabaret MC , playwright and tree planter. I perform my own stories as well and traditional stories everywhere- including cabarets, sheltered housing, schools, parks, gardens, forests, vintage clothes shops, launderettes, beaches, in peoples beds, once even inside a Police Box! I love being outside and can often be found in the woods. I write stories on walls, chalk poetry onto pavements and leave magical notes inside strangers pockets. To find out more please scroll down- or to email me with questions go here.

My most recent book  "How To Be Hopeful " is out NOW and you can buy it here, or here or, best of all, from your local independent bookshop. To read the some lovely things people have already said about the book, you can go here

Please do scroll down past the pics if you'd like to know what I'm up to in 2024....

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This years shows include me creating and performing a new riverside storytelling show for Deptford Literature Festival in collaboration with Friends of Brookmill Park and Spreadtheword.
I'm writer/dramatuge and director of an R&D with Folk Dance Remixed Natasha Khamjani and Kerry Fletcher with music from DJ Walde for a new, outdoor version of our show HOPE, our 21st century take on the myth of Pandora's Box
I'm writing a new immersive, promenade show with Teatro Vivo called COMMON,inspired by the historical and ongoing battle for land rights in SE London and beyond. This show will be both historical and mythological ( and
funny!)From May I'll be continuing my collaboration with Treadwells with my creative writing workshops "The Scriptorim" 
I'm also thick into writing my new book to be published 2025 by the brilliant Elliot and Thompson
I'm a super grateful recipient of Arts Council England's Develop Your Creative Practice grant- throughout 2024 I will be developing and deepening my storytelling practice and business in various ways! Many thanks for ACE for this opportunity- it has made me feel excited and positive about the whole year!
I'm very excited to also begin the Permaculture Design Course for Artists and Creatives with SMALLTHINGS- a perfect course for me right now!

I'll still be telling stories in forests, woods, parks, and beaches- get in touch if you'd like to work with me! I specialize in stories with hope, wonder kindness and posivity for all ages, using humor and curiosity.

Hope your year is goes well , whatever you are up to.


Blue skies, jet packs and hope

A project created for People United 

I have spent years making posters for phone boxes, writing stories on walls, and chalking poetry onto pavements. This commission gave me the opportunity to reimagine billboards, bus stops and phone boxes as places where stories and questions could be shared by strangers, and hope and the future considered. Thanks to Sadie Cook for photoshop wizardry and to both Sadie and Gareth Brierley for the photos.


Published titles

How To Be Hopeful ( Elliot and Thompson, adult nonfiction) 2020

The Little Book of Wonder (Orion, adult nonfiction) 2018

The Little Book of Kindness ( Orion, adult nonfiction) 2017

Be The Change, Make it Happen ( Quarto, children’s activity book) 2014

Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy ( Quarto, children’s activity book) 2013

Short Stack ( For Books Sake. Short story collection) 2012


Storytelling for kids and families

If you have visited this page and would like to know more about storytelling and kindness workshops I offer to primary schools, please visit here.

I specialise in 21st century re-telling of traditional stories as well as performing and writing my own . I have many stories ready to perform, but I’m also often commisioned to respond to a particular theme or environment. I’ve created childrens story shows for Secret Productions at Farmopolis  ( an urban wildlife show called “WILD” and a ghost stories for kids show called “SCARY STORIES” with London Dreamtime), and stories inspired by A Midsummers Night Dream and the Brothers Grimm with and for Teatro Vivo.I am currently delivering storytelling and kindness workshops for schools in U.K and U.S.

“ Bernadette is an authentic, caring and professional storyteller who is excellent at reading the room and knowing how to interact with the children in a modern and engaging way. She is patient and supportive of the children's contributions and creates a feeling of curiosity and magic. Even all the adults were totally engaged in her stories!

I also very much enjoyed the story of the wishing tree and the grumpy man as it really got the children present and engaged “ Catherine Embleton, director, Art Imaginarium


Storytelling and kindness workshops for children

Kindness is Magic


I run White Rabbit arts organisation with Gareth Brierley and together we have made shows with and for the Royal Albert Hall, National Theatre “Watch This Space”, LIFT Festival, Southbank Centre, Birmingham Rep, Thames Festival, Royal Festival Hall, Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, Wandsworth Arts Festival, Spitalfields Music Festival, Islington WORD2012 Festival, SICK festival, BFI amongst many others. Our has toured nationally and internationally. We’re currently creating a new storytelling walking tour for Revelations in Ashford.

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Education and workshops

I run theatre, storytelling and creative writing workshops for adults and children both here and in the U.S. I have previously worked for many places including  Brighton College, Roehampton University, ALRA, Deptford Lounge, Birmingham Rep, and the ARC Stockton, as well as many schools and colleges.

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I have directed many education projects (with the People Show) , and cabaret shows (with The Cheek of It!). Most recently I directed The Death Show, due to tour 2018 after premiering at Brimingham Rep.

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Work with seniors

For the last few years I have been one of the team of artists working with seniors on the Meet Me At The Albany project at the Albany Theatre in Deptford. I have created podcasts, storytelling shows, poetry and installations with the seniors there and in sheltered housing throughout Lewisham. I have also delivered workshops for Phoenix Housing Association and shows for The Posh Club (Duckies) as well as creating my own pop up tea parties for sheltered housing.  I am currently working on a intergenerational project at The Royal Albert Hall, creating a performance inspired by the history of the hall.

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Other work with children and young people

I deliver interactive talks and workshops encouraging kindness in children and young people, based on my children activity books “Do Nice Be Kind Spread Happy” and “Be The Change Make It Happen”. I also deliver sotrytelling shows for children of all ages.
I have directed and delivered theatre workshops with children and young people at the Unicorn Theatre, the youth theatre at Birmingham Rep, the summer school at the Albany Theare Deptford, Roehampton University, Wimbledon University, ALRA and Brighton College A level and undergraduate degree students.

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I’ve created a series of interactive installations, including “Dear Stranger” and “Coat Tales” for the Southbank Centre, “The Tree of Light” for The Lighthouse Poole and most recently “Sign of The Times” (with artist Rob Kennedy) for 2 Degrees Festival (arts admin) and Troublemakers Festival (Volcano Theatre Swansea). All the installations are suitable for all ages and encourage creative writing in a visual arts context.

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An Inside Look

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"Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger."

Ben Okri


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