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Paper and pens, one per participant.


Warm Up-

  • Find a space in the room.
  • Get yourself a pen and paper.
  • Sit down.
  • Close your eyes.

Exercise One:

  1. Thinking of a person you know very well – describe the hands of this person in as much detail as you can

Exercise Two:

  1. Thinking of a person you know very well – describe a thing this person is doing with their hands

Exercise Three:

  1. Imagine an incredible place – and write down a metaphor describing that place

Exercise Four:

  1. Imagine that you are walking into a room seeing the person you had imagined.
  1. Write down what you are saying to that person
  2. Write down the persons reply

Exercise Five:

  1. Quickly refine your poem – adding something you feel is missing or taking something out

Exercise Six:

  1. In groups of five – read out your poems to each other.

Exercise Seven:

  1. Discuss what it was like to write something personal and what did that add to your poem.
  2. Discuss what the addition of the metaphor did to your poem.
  3. Discuss what it was like not knowing the person your friends were talking about.

Choosing a Story-

Exercise Eight:

  1. In groups of five discuss what story you want to focus on.  Use your own story – or alternatively use the premise given by Ameera:

    A girl doesn’t listen to her mother and thus invites

    trouble into her life and the life of her grandmother.

Exercise Nine:

  1. Individually – write down the idea for a scene (using large letters). Don’t discuss with group members yet.

Story Structure-

Exercise Ten:

  1. In your group of five lay down the five different scenes on the floor and organize them in the most logical timeline order.

Exercise Eleven:

  1. In your group of five re-organize the sequence of the scenes and find which sequence you feel is most interesting.

Exercise Twelve:

  1. In your group of five5- fill in any gaps or bridges necessary, or scenes which are missing.
  2. Scrap scenes you no longer feel are fitting the story.
  3. Decide as a group – which scene is most essential for the story? Develop any additions to highlight that essential scene.

Exercise Thirteen:

  1. Rehearse your story
  2. Film your story with the following limitations:

          – one (1) continuous shot

          – one (1) minute duration

Exercise Fourteen:

  1. Share your filmed clip with another group
  2. Share feedback across groups


Ameera Patel is in the storytelling business and received recognition for this, being named one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 young South Africans in 2016. She is a Naledi award-winning actor as well as a writer, theatre-maker and writer.

She read for a BA in Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town in 2005 and in 2013 she received a distinction for her Masters in Creative Writing at Wits. Ameera is a playwright, known for the award-winning play Whistle Stop, Jungfrau and most recently The Mother’s Grimm, and the prequel to The Mother’s Grimm, in the form of a six-part filmed series, which premiered at the virtual National Arts Festival 2020 and was also presented at Vrystaat Kunstefees. Her novel Outside the Lines has recently been published locally as well as in Germany and North America. Ameera’s television writing credits include Golddiggers, Takalani Sesame, Isono: The Sin and she currently works as a scriptwriter for popular soap Scandal!.