A mighty tree has fallen – passing of Dorothy Heathcote

Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane –
“A mighty totora has fallen in the forest of Tane”


Many people will have already heard the sad news that the progenitor of Mantle of the Expert, Prof. Dorothy Heathcote passed away over the weekend. Dorothy’s contribution to drama education was of course immeasurable. We are all very fortunate to have lived and learned in her shadow. I know that Dorothy was very proud of the work that was happening in Mantle of the Expert in New Zealand and always took a keen interest in developments here.

Her passing serves as a reminder to keep planting the seeds and growing our own forest of Totora here in Aotearoa. I have been reflecting on how many people in NZ must have been touched by the power of her work. She visited here a number of times during the 70s and 80s and inspired a whole generation of teachers and policy makers. She was with us again via live link at the Weaving Our Stories conference in 2009 and the stunning address she gave on that day seems to take on extra import in light of her passing.

Dorothy’s amazing life story is captured beautifully in the attached obituary which was supplied by her family. Your comments are invited (either here, or on the Drama NZ website) and will be relayed to the Heathcote family.

Dorothy Heathcote Obituary


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