What She Does…

Ursula crafts traditional stories with an impish wit and bags of expression that are founded on a life – long love of folklore and fairy tale. However, she also excels and specializes in writing and telling the tales of everyday; real and relevant life affirming stories that boldly confront the challenges bamboozling us all with savvy spirit, street wise sensitivity and a fist full of urban charm.

Ursula is at once poignant and as daft as a brush!
(Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival Directors, 2013)

Despite being a self confessed home-bird, Ursula’s stories have taken her to a range of (inter)national theatre and festival stages. These include: Belgium’s Alden Biesen International Storytelling Festival, Burnley Literature Festival, Burnley Mechanics Theatre, Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival, Denmark’s ‘Best Tellers’ Scene & International Word Festival, Dozens of Arts and Folk Festivals, Halifax Square Chapel for the Arts, The Leeds, Manchester and Rochdale Literature Festivals, The National Centre for Early Music and The UK’s International Storytelling Festival at the Edge. She has also been commissioned to write and share specific works for Adverse Camber, Hartlepool Folk Festival, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Haworth Bronte Parsonage Museum, Lancaster University’s Engineering Project,  Leeds Carriageworks Theatre, Opera North and The Manchester Jazz Festival.

Storytelling in Schools

In her capacity as a storyteller Ursula has hosted dozens of interactive sessions on themes ranging from The Shakespeare Schools Festival to Anger Management, Bullying, The Environment, Identity and World Book Week. She has facilitated workshops in educational institutes across the UK, either as an independent practitioner, or as an associate artist of Dream On Productions or The Settle Stories Team and is well known for her ability to engage Special Educational Needs and English as an Additional Language students as effectively as she does mainstream.


Ursula’s extensive repertoire enables her to tailor her stories to suit whatever theme a school is keen to explore and because she has fulfilled a number of Storyteller Residences over the last fifteen years she is more than familiar with the National Curriculum for every key stage; from Nursery right up to Post Graduate level.

Ursula’s school sessions are practical, interactive and fun, celebrating the oral storytelling tradition and allowing students of all abilities the freedom to create and develop their confidence. In a classroom environment Ursula’s story sessions are structured in 50 minute intervals. However, if access to a larger space is possible Ursula likes to offer her Young Story Makers Workshop to schools. This runs for 90 minutes and has proved highly effective (particularly with KS2 and KS3) in providing students with a simple story making structure that they can convert into their written work.

When Ursula Holden Gill steps on to the stage, your first impression is of a Victorian urchin with a somewhat impish twinkle in her eyes. However, you swiftly realize, that she is in fact, a one woman whirlwind, able to inhabit any number of characters at the drop of a usually invisible hat! Her shows are insightful and give much to think about. They are performed in a high octane style by a lady of great charm. 
(Gill Docherty, The Craven Herald for Settle Storytelling Festival, 2016)