Storyteller, author, kindness campaigner, tree planter, dreamer
"Who is Bernadette Russell?"
I hear you cry. Well...
Thanks so much for stopping by- I am a proud champion of kindness, wonder, hope, joy and FUN! I write books and perform original 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 - but first things first (drum roll) I'm excited to announce my latest 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
If you would be interested in me doing a reading or event around the book or the theme of hope, please get in touch here
Other stuff I am up to
I've been working with People United on a project called "Blue Skies, Jetpacks, and Hope" (see below) with Sadie Cook and Gareth Brierley; with the Southbank Centre on an art-through- the-post booklet called "Journey To A Town Called Hope", and with the Museum of London on a storytelling podcast called "London Lives". I'm developing a series of new tree and urban wildlife stories right now... to be told outside, in the forest, by firelight..
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An Inside Look
"Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger."