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Not a drop of water in sight! The Story Pirates inspiring kids to create stories

The Story Pirates visited some elementary schools in Santa Barbara County as part of UCSB’s Arts and Lectures Art Adventures Program
The Story Pirates visited some elementary schools in Santa Barbara County as part of UCSB’s Arts and Lectures Art Adventures Program

Some elementary school students in Santa Barbara County had the chance to write the story themselves when they were paid a visit by the people behind an award-winning podcast.

There’s not a drop of ocean in sight but these students at Brandon Elementary in Goleta are being entertained by Pirates - not the kind with an eye patch and a parrot, but the Story Pirates.

"We bring the kids into the story creation zone, where we use their ideas to create a story on the spot. And then we have actors who act it all out and bring it to life in front of their eyes," explains Greg Barnett from the Story Pirates.

He says it's a bit like a "child friendly Saturday Night Live."

The Story Pirates improvised a story written by the students as they went along
Caroline Feraday
/
KCLU
The Story Pirates improvised a story written by the students as they went along

The Story Pirates are best known for their flagship podcast which has more than 70 million downloads, but here in person, the actors in the show create a fast-paced and fully-improvised show - with hilarious results!

"The hope is kind of that they get excited about creating and writing stories, and so when they go back to the classroom or when they go home, these ideas have sparked something in them to sit down and write it out," said Barnett.

"Kids' suggestions are always so weird. I mean, we get everything from singing cupcakes and unicorns, dragons to kind of typical stuff. One time we asked a kid a mode of transportation - he was trying to get from the bottom of a tree to the top of a tree, and he said, 'Okay, well, the character stops existing at the bottom of the tree and starts existing again at the top of the tree'. And it really it just was like, so funny to me because it was so out of nowhere. And yeah, I mean, so many of the ideas are so unexpected and you just never know what they're going to say," said Barnett.

The Show is part of the UCSB Arts and Lectures Art Adventures Program. Jenna Hamilton-Rolle is the Director of Education and Community Engagement for the program.

"The Story Pirates are a traveling arts organization that travels throughout the United States, reminding students that they are all creative geniuses," said Hamilton-Rolle.

And the verdict on the experience? 8-year-old student Mason gives it a big thumbs up.

"They're super funny. And I just like watching them make that stories," he said.

And these students can set sail on their own journeys to become the story-tellers of tomorrow.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 5 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.