Openstorytellers are delighted to have received Heritage Lottery Funding for an exciting new project which will focus on researching and retelling the story of a young heiress who had severe learning disabilities, and was abducted by a fortune hunter in 18th century Bristol.
Openstorytellers’ group of storytellers and project managers who have learning disabilities will be researching the life of Fanny Fust, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, and telling her story. The group are particularly interested in how she was taken away against her will, and how her mother supported her to have the marriage annulled. The story raises many issues around capacity and consent that are still relevant to people with learning disabilities today and this project will enable conversations and raise awareness around these issues.
“We want people to change the way they think about people like us like we did with our ‘King of the Goblins’ story (at a storytelling Festival) we asked the audience questions and made them think. We want to show people that even though we have special needs we are the same as those who don’t.” – Tim, group member.
The project has many aims alongside the performance and telling of Fanny’s story. We plan to develop workshops based around the tale, that will explore the Mental Capacity Act and it’s application in people’s lives today. We will make an illustrated guide book to ‘Fanny’s 18th Century Bristol’ which will be distributed around museums and heritage locations in Bristol to enable people with learning disabilities to explore local history – this is going to be illustrated by Robin Meader Artist, who is a member of Openstorytellers and also a professional artist. The group are also going to develop a local history quiz based on their own research.
In order to get a feel for what life was like for Fanny, during the next year the group will be investigating all aspects of 18th century life, including the fashion, the food, the leisure pursuits, architecture and schooling. The group want to give Fanny a voice and plan to tell her story to a wide audience. “Our show and talk will inform, make people think and entertain the audiences.” Working with a steering group of professionals from Bristol University, the Open University, local museums and other heritage specialists, participants will gain a deeper insight into this previously under-researched part of their history, as well as learning valuable new communication skills to use to bring Fanny’s thought-provoking story to life.
Watch this space for forthcoming announcements about conferences, performances and workshops all based around Fanny’s story, and of course the Storytelling Company’s multi-sensory performance of ‘The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Fanny Fust’.
If you would like to lend a hand with the project – you may have an interest in 18th century history, fashion, storytelling, capacity and consent – or you may like to book the Storytelling Company for a performance – please do get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org