Mantle of the expert weekend – October, 2013

Notes from Saturday morning:

The new curriculum:

Talking about drama
– Inside and outside the fiction
– co-constructed, so the children can influence

Into the fiction

Activity: 1. make up three things about yourself, two a true & one is not. Partner has to work out which is untrue.
2. Take the ‘lie’ of your partner and use it on a different partner.
Purpose: what we have to do as drama practitioners.
We all know that this is a fiction. Which is liberating. Translating it into the medium of drama, great liberator, but also with constraints. Kids are moving into a ‘make believe’ setting, where there is no ‘penalty’.
It requires us to be able to make up on the spot.

Secret Agents – animal welfare (‘framing’ or building a context)

Supposing we were going to represent just for a little while a team of secret agents.
Just think, what could this possibly give us as curriculum possibilities. Opening up possible landscapes.
Secret agents who care about animal life, welfare, well-being
Consider the difference between secret agents and secret agents ‘who’.
What does that bring to the table in terms of the curriculum?

Three forms of representation (Bruner)
Iconic (drawings)
Symbolic (language, written & spoken)
Enactive/expressive (through ‘dramatic’ action)

Step 1 adult in role (AIR) – representing someone who has been working for the team for a long time.
2. AIR sits
3. Class make a note: what might be true of this person
4. Class write on a piece of paper and place at the feet of AIR
5. Discussion – class classify & sort

Group 1
6. In groups, stand where the role is seeing something that disturbs them
7. One group represents a photograph others look and make observations
8. Teaching the form of art… Reading the form

Play (free form)
Dramatic action (the constraints of dramatic form)
Invested action (reading the moment for meaning & implications)

Group 2
9. “Can I ask the people on this side to find out as much as you, just find out a little bit more. I’m going to activate you to speak.”
10. “Is there anyone who has some information, could they just let us know.”
11. “Can I ask the people in the fiction, what kinds of questions were you asked?”

Group 3
12. “This time pleas try without using questions of interrogation.”
13. Focusing on the action, “I’m noticing this…”

Four projections of role:
1. Full role
2. Shadow role
3. Secondary role
4. Teaching in and out of role

– a highly disciplined approach. Look what the role generates, do more with less.
– we’re not asking permission. “Can we agree?”

1. “Imagine yourself in Henry VIII court, I’m going to ask you to represent a figure in our museum, and I’m going to ask you what you are made of.”
2. “I’m going to go round and ask you, ‘You are made of'”
3. “Please do a quick sketch and what you are made of, & a market value, what sort of price are you likely to fetch?”
4. “Hold them up”
5. Implications… “This must mean…”
6. “What questions does that raise for the museum curators?” More implications.

Saturday afternoon – WWF animal smuggling

The concept of frame and context – differentials between the two
-Frame: agents working undercover for the WWF to obtain accurate info concerning the trafficking of endangered species from around the world
-Context: police have intercepted various messages concerning the trafficking of various animals. We are to relay this our trusted informants, using a simple recognition system & await any information forthcoming.

“Come over hear, what do you make of these?”
– one regarding a large order of sea horses for the home aquarium industry, as well as other animals…

Think about the evidence, “what evidence have the police managed to get?”

– (what does the client want?) WWF want data to publish thru media outlets, to raise public awareness and raise donations to stop continuing damage to animals.

– invent a piece of evidence.

1. stand together
2. “so ladies and gentleman, we are fairly sure we have enough evidence, but we don’t want to end up with egg on our face…” Etc (speaking inside the fiction)
CONVENTION 1: The role(s) actually present.
3. “Do you want the judge?”
4. “Device with a partner, one sentence that will persuade this judge ”
5. The group co-construct the letter, through the sentences.
6. The AIR (judge) listens outside the fiction.
7. Come an stand over here (next to the board) – a list of what would persuade them. “Run thru the letter in your head, does it meet the criteria.”
8. “Judge could we ask you to run through the criteria…”
9. Group discuss whether the letter meets the criteria.
10. “If you have a question for the judge, now is the time to ask it.”
11. Give group chance to discuss what questions they might have.
12. Question the judge
13. Consider it from the view point of the judge.
14. Luke asks each person if they would sign it as the judge.
15. Exploring it from other potential points of view.

Dramatic imagination

Sunday morning

1. The skills of make believe, ‘as if’ – building authenticity
2. Representing others – ability to see it from other’s POV
3. There is always something going on – always tension, anticipation, challenge
4. It’s about something, disturbance, always something going on
5. The client applies a ‘press’
6. It happens now
7. It is open to discussion

Planning format
PPT: blank format PPP
PDF: Blank planning format PDF

Jack and the beanstalk



Leave a comment
  1. Gill Hulme October 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Amazing instant notes as we learn.

  2. Gill Hulme October 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Thank you Luke and Tim for such an excellent weekend of learning together. My head is swirling round with everything I have learned and how I can use it next week. I hope you both get a well deserved rest . Thank you. Gill

    • Tim Taylor October 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      Thank you Gill for your positive and thoughtful contributions and ideas.

  3. Simon Underhill October 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    A life changing weekend! Thank you Luke and Tim! There’s so much I now need to slowly, slowly try out. I’m ready for failure! Perseverance and gritted teeth are set for the rest of this term. Thank you for bringing me into the world of Mantle.

    • Tim Taylor October 7, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      Thank you Simon for all your energy and enthusiasm over the weekend.

  4. Melissa McBride October 7, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    A journey begins with but the first step!

    Thank you to all for a wonderful and challenging weekend. My team and I are excited to continue our Mantle journey back in London have heads full of wonderful ideas – now to give them a go in the classroom!

    If ever you find yourself in London, do come and visit us

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