"It’s not your ordinary lesson, is it!"


Innovative, enquiry-based methods of teaching across the curriculum


Dorothy Heathcote Now

An international conference to mark the 10th anniversary of Dorothy Heathcote’s death


8-10 October 2021

Dorothy Heathcote was ahead of her time. Her work continues to provide models, inspiration, and challenges. Her vision of a revolution in the way we think about education seems even more urgent now than ever.

This conference will combine talks and practical workshops. It will look at the different methods she created – process drama, Mantle of the Expert, Commission Model and Rolling Role – and the connections between them.

Speakers/presenters include: Cecily O’Neill, Luke Abbott and Brian Edmiston

Coinciding with the conference, the National Association for the Teaching of Drama will publish a special “Dorothy Heathcote” issue of the Journal for Drama in Education.

The conference is organised by Midland Actors Theatre and Birmingham City University (BCU). It will be held at BCU, or online.

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For further details about the conference, contact: david@mantlenetwork.com  /  00 44 7946 006511


To register, go to: https://dorothyheathcotenow.eventbrite.co.uk

We have not set the conference fees at this stage, because we do not know if the event will be held "live" (at BCU) or online. A decision on this will be made nearer to the date and will depend on the situation at the time. You can still register now for free, to make sure of your place. We will invoice you later, when we know the form the conference will take. You will be able to decide at that time whether you want to go ahead with your booking, or cancel it.

The conference is presented in association with Woodrow First School, the Mantle Network, and the Department of Canadian, Intermedial and Postcolonial Studies (University of Lodz). Midland Actors Theatre is currently lead partner on two Erasmus Plus projects, on the Commission Model and Rolling Role. 

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Dorothy Heathcote outlined four “contexts” or “models” for active learning, using drama-based methods – with the aim of forging links between schooling and society. They are:

Model 1: Drama used to explore people, circumstances and events

Model 2: Mantle of the Expert … where children / students are asked to think of themselves as an “expert” team of some kind

Model 3: Rolling Role … a group of teachers develop a shared programme of work, based around a fictional context

Model 4: The Commission Model … where staff and students respond to a “real life” commission from the community

This website is dedicated to these four models. It provides teachers and practitioners with tools to use them in their own practice.

If you follow the links, you will find sections on:

The Core Principles of Dorothy's work, including: "now" time, "bondings" and "stewardship"

Drama for Learning

The "building blocks" of drama work, including "sign," "frame" and the "conventions"

A Guide to Mantle of the Expert

A guide to the Mantle system, including training videos with Luke Abbott. There are also examples of schemes of work created by partners across Europe, as part of an Erasmus+ project


The Commission Model

A practical guide to the Commission Model. 

Rolling Role

A practical guide to the Rolling Role system. 

This website is the home of the Mantle Network, which exists to support teachers and practitioners.


It offers special events, projects in schools, and coaching and mentoring.

Click here to find out more about the Network, and the projects we have done in schools. To contact us, click here

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