Creative Play for Writers Retreat


Experience the creative potential of being playful.

Let creative play refresh your writing and take it to new and surprising places. Come with an open mind, shake up your senses and light up your imagination in this inspiring Yorkshire Dales setting.

What we mean by creative play

Creative play is a zone of imagination and flow where we become more spontaneous and react more instinctively. We stop thinking about thinking. We see familiar things with fresh eyes. We generate ideas and make new, unexpected connections.   

It’s playful play, not competitive play, so you can only get it right – there are no winners or losers.

What you’ll be doing:

  • Letting off steam in a mindful way.
  • Using your body, your voice, your senses, your imagination. Being in the moment. Being yourself.
  • Taking creative risks. Saying ‘yes, and’, instead of ‘yes, but.’ Trusting your instincts. Letting go of the need to get things ‘right’.
  • Following the fun and seeing where it takes you.

What we offer:

  • Resources and group games to refresh, inspire, provoke and transport.
  • A safe, welcoming space in which to play and create.
  • Our expertise, experience and support as writers and facilitators.

This retreat is for you if:

  • You want to try something different and have a willingness to free up your thinking.
  • You are ready to shake up your writing routines and have some time out for yourself.
  • You enjoy being with like-minded people and exploring your creativity.

What you’ll take away:

  • A better understanding of how play and a playful approach can enrich and inspire your creative process and practices.
  • Tips on how to keep being playful.
  • Ideas to shape and develop.


You'll be led by two experienced facilitators Mel Taylor and Jessica Penrose.

Mel has a background in education and outreach. Since 2013, she has been leading workshops and pursuing creative projects, including writing, comedy improv and clown training. 

Jessica has been involved in participatory arts for over 16 years – from setting up an arts centre to training artists to work with communities. She also now writes content for websites and other publications, as well as occasional forays into poetry.

Mel and Jessica set up Playful Being in 2013, and facilitate play workshops and interventions in the UK and Europe. As well as Settle Stories, creative partners have included Ilkley Literature Festival, Playful Leeds and Write On, Cambridge. Playful Being is part of an international play movement, contributing to the CounterPlay Festival in Denmark and Playin’ Siegen in Germany.

Where will the retreat take place?

Set amidst the stunning scenery of Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. The retreat will be based at Settle Stories new home, The Joinery, in the heart of Settle. Settle is accessible by train. By car, Settle is just off the A65 and is an hour from Bradford, and 1h 20m from Manchester, 50 mins from Lancaster.


Fri 10th - Sun 12th August 2018

Friday 6-7.30 pm, Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 9 am - 4pm


This is a non-residential retreat. A range of accommodation is available locally. You can find out more here.

Participant comments from previous Playful Being events:

'As a writer, I have found each session profoundly renewing, no less than revelatory!' Sarah, Hebden Bridge

'From the moment I walked into the room, I could sense that this workshop was going to be very different from other writing workshops I've been to. By the end, I felt different for having shed, for a short and precious time, the constraints of the usual.' - Liz, Ilkley

'The workshop allowed me to explore the unknown from a place of curiosity without judgement, and begin to reconnect with my voice.' Pernille, Otley



Friday, 10 August 2018 - 6:00pm
Until Sun 12th Aug 4pm
Events 2018
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