Hooves and Tales

Watch Hooves and Tales, our story inspired by Roundhouse Birmingham. The story is told in audio-visual sound, song and fabulous lantern artwork by pupils from the Marywood Centre (part of City of Birmingham School), The Pines and St George’s CE Primary school, Ladywood.

And click here to download the Hooves and Tales activity leaflet with loads of ideas for getting busy and creative.


Roundhouse Birmingham, seen from above. You can see the canals behind the stables

It all started at Roundhouse Birmingham built in 1874 as stables for working horses. We walked under the tunnel, over the cobbles, to see the canals behind.

Under the Roundhouse tunnel to see the canal

Then indoors for a lantern-lit storytelling performance of Vasilisa. We retold a traditional tale of a girl who lived and worked with her family on the canal boats, at a time long ago when boats had no engines, and were pulled by working horses instead.

Storytelling by lantern light at Roundhouse Birmingham

Magical storytelling and live music, lit by paper bag lanterns…

… with horse masks – the magical horses of dawn, noon and night

… and riddles, and all sorts of story magic.



and then pupils from Marywood Centre, The Pines and St George’s CE schools got busy.

They retold the story and recorded their words, wrote and recorded song lyrics, and drew beautiful lantern artwork.

Lantern artwork

Here are some of the fantastic riddle poems written by Marywood pupils. Can you work out the answers?

Eyes like marbles, legs like sledgehammers
tail like a snake, nostrils like tunnels,
head as big as bricks,
cheeks as big as meatballs, ears big like a rabbit’s
legs strong as metal
jumpy like an athlete.

This diagram shows how we went about writing some of the riddles

White spots glistening in empty purple sky.
A giant reflective sphere
before and after the sun.
Pitch black ground reflects the dark.
It’s your comfort.

Green-silver liquid still between the pavement and bushes
carrying fish, people, rock
and coal to make fire and warmth,
cargoes and loads
pulled with a clip-clop
along the green liquid

A ray that fights a way in the dark
A speck of the sun itself
An enemy of the panther’s black fur,
it’s a flame trapped to show the way
A buddy to all those who fear they could disappear,
a small sun that never goes out.

A family of different nations
beauty that propels itself toward the clouds
small dragons but pure of all selfishness
A beautiful elegant flier
A protector of young
A rainbow of many colours
A sensible, co-ordinated group
A body of individuals flying as one.

Round walls of old orange-brown-red bricks,
indoors a place for horses to dream
in the dark of carrots and freedom.
Beneath, a tunnel leading to the sky
and a watery road of the horses’ work
one side to another.
– Collective piece

After work all day,
they spend the night standing on the golden grass
The hard solid cover above them,
A barrier but not for jumping,
and a pool to drink from.

Pupils have been busy making project journals to earn their Discover level Arts Award certificates. Great work!

Pages in the making for a project journal big book at Marywood