Fun duo to help Redbridge children tell their own stories at book festival

Wizard Stories founders Phil Keating and Gary Potter. Picture: Wizard Stories

Wizard Stories founders Phil Keating and Gary Potter. Picture: Wizard Stories - Credit: Wizard Stories

An exciting interactive storytelling company will be enthralling young bookworms at the borough’s first children’s literary festival.

Phil Keating and Gary Potter run Wizard Stories, a professional storytelling company popular nationwide, which gets children involved with the tale creatively.

The duo will be running three sessions at the first Redbridge Children’s Literary Festival, in the Kenneth More Theatre, Clements Road, Ilford, in late October.

Run by Lee Thompson, of Jack Productions, the festival features a week of interviews and events with children’s authors.

Phil told the Recorder Wizard Stories captures the imagination of children through interactive storytelling.

“We ask the children what type of story they would like, what happens in it, what characters it has,” he explained.

“Then, using improvisation techniques, we tell the story back to the children.”

Most Read

The pair will then pause the story at key moments, and ask the excited children what they think should happen next.

“If they are battling a demon or a dragon, what happens? Or do they manage to defeat the alien and destroy the spaceship?”

Despite the name, Phil and Gary don’t focus on Harry Potter or other famous wizards, but concoct stories about anything.

“Children always want to be scared,” Phil continued.

“So often we will do a scary story or a horror.”

Phil, who grew up in Goodmayes and now lives in Leyton, founded Wizard Stories with Gary in 2000.

After extensive careers in acting, appearing in theatre, film and on TV, the pair decided to try something slightly different, with the interactive storytelling company.

They now visit schools across the capital, and “have always been asked to go back”.

Phil explained interactive storytelling is great for confidence building and promoting reading from a young age.

The 50-year-old continued: “We work on stuff like encouraging British values and all types of things.

“Reading and enjoying reading are particularly important life skills.

“They are just as relevant today as they have been to children in the past.

“Those first few years of life are so important and reading can significantly improve a child’s life chances.”

Wizard Stories is performing at 1.30pm on October 24, 26 and 28 and tickets cost £3.50.

Visit for more details.