Planning Process Drama
Promotional video
Interactive workshop
• Review the planning steps and key
components of process drama…briefly
• Participate in a process drama based on the
First Fleet (selected parts).
• Review an example of a process drama
applying these planning steps
• Deconstruct the plan of the First Fleet and link
this back to the planning steps.
Great example
Year one maths…. View you tube clip.
Maths story land
What is process drama?
Descended from dramatic play…natural extension
of play
• The teacher acts as teacher, director, coplaywright and co-player with the students
• The narrative might change based on the
students ideas
• The teacher selects a range of dramatic
conventions to explore the key learning question
and the human context suggested by the
dramatic pre-text
The Twelve Steps
• Planning an introductory level process drama
• Clear central role for students to explore in the
experiential phase
• Important to consider the prior experiences of
students and the drama skills they require and
build these before commencing process drama.
Use drama games and short activities to build
student’s understanding of freeze frame, role
play, role circle and dramatic tension.
Lets look at the 12 Steps
Today we are exploring a basic process drama
structure with one key role. This is an
introductory level drama suitable for year 4.
More advanced dramas could explore multiple
roles and contexts.
I have developed a recipe/ method for the basic
central protagonist process drama……the twelve
planning steps.
1. Craft the focus question
Today’s drama
• Were the convicts who sailed on the first fleet
to Australia criminals or victims?
2. Select the dramatic frames
• Inside the
dramatic action
• On the edge of
the dramatic
• Outside the
dramatic action
1787 On board one of the
ships of the First Fleet. The
youngest convict ever
sentenced for
transportation. The
Preparing for the journey.
Building the boats planning
the trip. Loading the ships
with the convicts
In the present day. The
students as historians meet
a relative of one of the
convicts and they provide
information about the era.
3.Select or create a pre-text
Today’s pre-text
Can you imagine just for a moment that you are living in
another time and place. Over 200 years ago in 1787 in a
country called England. You are about to go on a long journey
to a new country that you know very little about on the other
side of the earth.
You are being sent to a start a new settlement in a place called
Botany Bay…in New South Wales it will take you over eight
months to sail over 24000 kilometres to sail by ship because it
is on the other side of the world. You are not alone…many
others were transported with you.. You have no choice….you
must go on this journey and you know that may never return
home again.
4. Build the participants’
understanding of the context
How many masts does the ship have?
What is the ship made of?
How many sails does the ship have
How is the ship powered?
What colour is the flag?
What colour are the sails?
Blanket Role – Mantle of the Expert
HISTORIAN Expert on life in LONDON 1780’s
Dr (Your real Name)______________________
Historian’s code: Seeking the truth through evidence
5. Choose a central role for the
participants to explore
• John Hudson youngest convict
• Normally this would be a fictional character
however given the time difference there is
enough distance in to not have the real
context impact on the drama…..therefore I
have used a real name.
Transport Ships
• The Alexander
The Charlotte
The Lady Penrhyn
The Friendship
The Prince of Wales
The Scarborough
6.Build belief in the central role
John Hudson Monologue
Postcards and the journey
A map of John’s Journey
The role circle
London 1783 – for many a city of poverty and
despair, food and shelter was scarce and
expensive, few had jobs and many were
forced to steal in order to feed themselves
and their families. The narrow dirty streets
were crowded with beggars, pickpockets and
all manner of desperate men, women and
children. John Hudson was a chimney sweep
fr0m Middlesex, was arrested while breaking
into a house for burglary and was sentence to
trial at the old bailey. The penalty for burglary
was death but because of his age, Hudson
sentence was reduced to seven years
transportation. John Hudson was 9 years old.
7.Provide opportunity to embody the
central role
• The role circle
8. Inject a tension for the central role
to confront
• Will John steal on the boat or not?
Using the elements of drama to make meaning…
The elements of drama the building blocks of drama
• The most essentially dramatic of all the
elements, TENSION is needed to turn this
human context into dramatic action. To keep
the audience and the participants interested
in the situation and the characters, there has
to be something significant at stake. The
tension can be provided in many ways.
The tension can be provided in many ways:
 the tension of the task: the urgency and
importance of what the characters have to do to
achieve their goals or deal with the situation
 dilemma, where the characters face difficult
 conflict, the clashes of interest, power or
personality between or among the characters, or
their misunderstandings.
Which tension will you include in your scene?
9. Explore the tension through
dramatic conventions
Today…. Find a partner
• One of you will take on the role of John
Hudson and either another convict or a guard.
It is your choice. Your short scene must have
10 lines of dialogue, start with a freeze frame
and convey to the rest of the class what John
decides to do. The scene must include
dramatic tension. Decide which tension.
10.Plan for a reflective activities
• Future predictions
• Writing in role….
11. Evaluate the plan
Use these great questions developed by John O’Toole to rethink the process drama plan:
The Context has the situation been clearly set up? Have the students has sufficient time to build
belief? To enrol themselves or understand the perspective of their characters in the situation?
The time scale and tempo – Are they appropriate? It is tempting to try and rush the drama. Drama
actually works better the slower you take it?
The focus/ framing – are we clearly working inside the dramatic action, or on the edge or on the
outside? This can add protection and distancing.
Dramatic tension- is the class going to be really gripped by the unfinished business, the
unanswered questions?
The place and the space – are the real life and fiction congruent? Are we trying to have a press
conference with the reporters sitting on the floor.
The language and the movement – is the language we are speaking appropriate in genre and
register? Are students having the opportunity to physicalize the situation and the gesture?
The mood and the dramatic symbols – are these adding to the significance?
Source; O'Toole, J. (2008). Process, dialogue and performance: The dramatic art of English teaching. In
M. Anderson, J. Hughes & J. Manuel (Eds.), Drama and English teaching: Imagination, action and
engagement. (pp. 2-13). Melbourne: Oxford.
12. Revise the plan….

The First Fleet: John`s Journey