Holly Stoppit
Photo by Joe Rosser / featuring Holly Stoppit facilitating during her Comic Storytelling workshop

The Well-Held Space: Creative Facilitation Training

Explore the theory and practice of creative facilitation, and develop the confidence, knowledge and skills to facilitate groups in a safe, responsive and playful way.

Holly Stoppit is a performance skills teacher, creative facilitator, director of devised theatre and dramatherapist. She is renowned and respected for her ability to hold safe, exploratory space where people are free to creatively express themselves and be seen, heard and accepted. She is delighted to share her ‘tips of the trade’ from her vast toolkit of group facilitation skills and experience. 

The Well-Held Space comes from Holly's desire to support other facilitators to ensure more people get to experience the life-changing nature of a well-held space.


More about the course

Holly has designed this brand new course in creative facilitation skills, drawing on a lifetime of experience and training (More about Holly's experience below).

The Well Held Space will take place over autumn 2021, over three weekends, spaced-out over three months. Holly will offer two versions of this course: 1.) a real life version in Bristol UK (Covid allowing*) AND 2.) an online via Zoom.

*The intention is to offer the REAL LIFE training within the Covid restrictions of the time and with mindfulness around personal boundaries. But if restrictions don’t allow this, the real life course will be moved online.

Who is it for?

The skills developed through this course will be useful to teachers, workshop leaders, therapists and facilitators working with people of all ages and abilities, across a range of disciplines, including visual art, drama, dance, circus, music, play, personal development, physical fitness and spirituality. 

Whether you're just starting out on your facilitation journey or are an experienced facilitator wanting to inject some new energy and insight into your craft, this course will have plenty of nourishment for you.

This course is designed to support two small groups of 12 adults to develop confidence, knowledge and experience in creative facilitation.

The Programme

The course programme will offer theory and practical exercises to explore creative facilitation. Throughout the course we'll be using a range of creative modalities including play, movement, voice work, art work, visualisation and writing. There will be guided personal reflections, peer feedback and group discussions.

This course has been developed as a considered three-month process with time for reflection and homework tasks in between the sessions, as well as an online forum for participants to share their thoughts and resources. Participants will be expected to attend all three weekends. 

The following is a proposed course structure. Please bear in mind that some parts of the programme may change as the course unfolds.

Weekend One – All About You

  • Creating a group agreement
  • Getting to know each other
  • What is facilitation?
  • Exploring your strengths and challenges as a facilitator
  • Introducing The Clearness Committee**
  • Clearness Committee #1
  • Closing

Weekend Two – All About Them

  • Exploring creative facilitation from the participant / client perspective
  • Considering the various stages of group / creative process and what input your participants / clients might need at each stage
  • Empowering facilitation – making invitations as opposed to demands - what happens when someone says “no” to an invitation?
  • Introducing Cards For Inclusion – exploring how to make your workshops inclusive and accessible from the initial design
  • Clearness Committee #2
  • Closing

Weekend Three – All About Facilitation

  • Practical investigations of creative facilitation supported by feedback and reflection
  • The content of this session will be designed in response to what happens in the first two weekends
  • Clearness Committee #3
  • Savouring, sewing seeds, closing

One-to-one Creative Consultancy with Holly

  • At the end of the course, each participant will receive an hour with Holly, one-to-one, focussing on their facilitation practice
  • This will take place on Zoom

**The Clearness Committee is a wonderful peer support system where small groups facilitate each other to access their own inner guides, using active listening and creative questioning. You’ll receive Clearness Committee training in the first weekend, then you’ll get to practice it throughout the rest of the course. It will support you to develop your facilitation skills as well as giving you a supported space to explore any issues related to creative facilitation. 


The courses are open to anyone who feels drawn to them. You do not need to have done any of Holly’s previous courses to apply.

Holly will be conducting short interviews with applicants to make sure they’re a good match for the courses. These interviews will take place on Zoom.

Both courses have a deadline - however we will be starting interviews & allocating places before that so places may fill up - we recommend you get your application in now. 

We actively welcome applications from BAME people, people with disabilities (the venue is wheelchair accessible, for any other access needs, please let us know on our application form and we will do our best to accommodate you) and anyone who identifies as marginalised (because of your gender, sexuality, neurobiology or anything else). We believe that representation matters and we are eager to support fledgling facilitators from the margins to build their confidence to hold space for others.

Holly Stoppit's facilitation story

Holly grew up in the circus, where she began facilitating circus and clowning workshops alongside her dad from the age of 6! In her early 20s she trained as a playworker and spent 5 years on various play projects around Bristol including The Bristol Playbus, Windmill Hill City Farm Adventure Playground and various afterschool clubs. She then moved into leading drama workshops for children and young people through The Egg Theatre in Bath, Characters Stage School in Bradford Upon Avon and Travelling Light in Bristol.

Throughout this time, Holly trained with many masters of clowning, fooling, improvisation, dance and meditation. She performed interactive devised comedy performance all over the UK with Ramshacklicious, the company she co-founded with her brother Jack, and with many other companies (including Nofit State Circus, Oily Cart, The Honk Project, The Invisible Circus)

Holly started facilitating clowning and improvisation workshops for adults in 2006 at The Invisible Circus HQ when they were based at the old Bridewell Police Station in Bristol. She moved over to The Bristol Folk House to offer her first ever 10-week clown course in 2008.

Following her fascination for the healing potential of creative process, in 2010 Holly began training as a dramatherapist at The South West School of Dramatherapy in Exeter. Through her training, she got to work with elders with dementia, children with behavioural issues, adults with learning difficulties and adults with mental health issues. Her dissertation, in which she coined the phrase ‘Clown-o-Therapy’, focussed on the potential mental health benefits of clown skills training.

Holly qualified with a Masters degree in Dramatherapy in 2013 and has been since integrating dramatherapy into her weekend, week-long and weekly workshops for adults (Introduction To Clowning weekend, Deepening Clown, Comic Storytelling, Fooling, The Inner Critic Inquiry, The Mindful Play Inquiry), devised autobiographical theatre facilitation (for many, many theatre companies and individuals including Liz Clarke, Emily Souter Johnson, Helen Duff, Ed Rapley, Open Attic, Chez Dunford) and creative consultancy (for individuals and groups). 

Holly's specialist areas are play, mental health, creative process, grief and comedy. 

To read Holly's top 10 tips for facilitation, click here.

To find out more about Holly's facilitation journey, click here.

To watch Holly's TEDx talk, click here.

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