A Storytelling Family

Since the first baby in the world first opened its tiny eyes, people have told stories. Stories are how we share knowledge with our children. Stories are how we explain where they fit in the world. Stories are how we share ourselves with others.

Storytelling is a fundamental part of being a family. We all love to tell stories with our family or friends. We laugh about that time when dad spilt yoghurt all over the car. We snuggle up in bed to listen again to our favourite book.

We are the Story Builders and we are a family. Hesther (sister), Alex (brother) and James (dad). We've been telling stories to each other and creating stories with each other for almost 30 years. We've put on shows together, made films together and each of us has our own unique skill in the art of storytelling.

Meet the Story Builders



Hesther says that she gets on so well with children because she herself is just a big four-year-old.

Hesther is an adventurer. She's been a nanny, a nursery assistant, and an aupair all over the world, including in a big castle and on a farm. She's also a certified fairy godmother with her own glittery dress. In a volunteer project in Mongolia, she encouraged youths to explore their own creativity through filmmaking, art, dance, photography.

She often acts at Kelburn where her credits include Violet Beauregarde the blueberry in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Forest, and the Snow Queen at Christmas time.

Hesther also has over a decade of filmmaking experience. She won the prize for Best Cinematography in the Edinburgh 48 Hour Film Project 2017, and worked on a Channel 4 show about model trains.

She is very caring and loves looking after children. They get along well because they both speak the same language.


Alex tried to write his first novel when he was 10 years old. But he got stuck... "How do you build a great story!?" he wondered.

And from that moment on, Alex has been on a quest to learn spectacular storytelling skills.

Alex is a public speaker, a writer, a filmmaker, a singer, a poet... and he also has a PhD in robotics! As an engineer, he's learned everything that's worth knowing about the art and science of storytelling.

As a teacher of presentation skills, he loves to see people's eyes light up when they understand a new concept for the first time. He has distilled all his learning down into a simple system that anyone can use to build spectacular stories.

For fun, Alex likes nothing better than to sing songs from Muppet films at the top of his voice while other people are trying to sleep.


James has four hats: his actor's hat, his musician's hat, his writer's hat, and the invisible hat that you can see in this photo.

As an actor, he has been on telly and has recorded over 100 talking books. He's also been in lots of pantos, usually playing Baron Hardup (even when he was quite young!).

As a musician, he has composed for theatre, playgroups, and for the CBeebies series Zingalong. He has a jazz band and sings his own songs all over Edinburgh (sometimes even when people are listening!)

As a writer, he has written scripts and music for BBC Children's Radio. He was the creator and voice of the dog Stirfry for the popular Hopscotch series.

James used to tell Hesther and Alex stories when they were young - and he always did all the voices. Now they all tell stories together!