This is still one of the most useful resources anyone ever gave me! It’s from Allana Taylor’s workshop at the 2009 Weaving our Stories Conference, and it’s a version of Heathcote’s 33 role conventions. Heathcote’s list is well known. What’s special about this handout is that Allana has colour coded the conventions in line with Jerome Bruner’s idea of ICONIC, SYMBOLIC & ENACTIVE / EXPRESSIVE learning.

Simply put, the handout helps teachers see some of the many different ways we can go into role – and put participants into role during a classroom drama experience (the list is not exhaustive – for example it doesn’t include digital possibilities for evoking roles – but it’s an amazing start)

Allana’s colour coding helps us further understand the different ways the roles are evoked. The green ones are physical representations (enacted through the body). The red ones are where the role is evoked (through artefacts symbols, images or drawings). The blue ones are where writing or other forms of language are used (symbolic).

When planning to teach in role, or put participants in role, it’s well worth having an explore through this list to see which role convention feels right for your purpose. As a rule of thumb, the more abstract the convention, the more distance it provides. So, if we are wanting to engage with something important, such as an atua, or a certain figure from history, we are more likely to choose an abstract role convention (red or blue) for this.

Thanks Allana, for a wonderful tool that has stood the test of time

Heathcote’s role conventions – in colour.
Allana Taylor, Weaving our Stories conference, 2009