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We used some drama elements in our “Breaking Down Barriers” project. This is an example of a drama session, using different conventions such as “freeze frame.”

The drama work focused on sharing stories

Drama and Storytelling

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Members of the project team worked with a class of children at Projeto Scholé in Matosinhos (Portugal), on a drama session based on the idea of Migration Stories.

First, we all shared some migration stories from our own family backgrounds.

Then, some members of the team each chose one of the stories, and agreed to represent someone in the story.

For example: Yi Ann (from Midland Actors Theatre) represented a woman who had to go on a long boat journey alone, from Argentina to Italy, while heavily pregnant.

We created “tableaux” or “freeze frames,” showing each of the people at a certain stage on their “journey.”

We created some objects, that would be significant in some way - indicating something about the person and their “journey”… . We added these to the “picture.”

Partners planning a workshop, at Projeto
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Then, the children from the school joined us for the session. They were invited to look at the “freeze frames” as if they were photographs; and they discussed: “What do we know about this person, just from the ‘photograph’?”

Then, we brought the “photographs” to life. The children were now able to ask the person some questions, to find out more about their life.

Finally, the children joined each of the actor-teachers, in creating a new “freeze frame” or group “photograph,” as if they were all travelling on the same journey together (on the boat, the train, etc.). (See the photo at the top of this page.)

In this work, we began by sharing stories as a group – and uncovered something of the richness of our collective heritage and memories.


We gave the children an active role in finding out about the stories, and piecing them together (like detectives) – not just hearing them. And then, we invited them to step, to some degree, into the “frame”: to imagine themselves as people making a long journey of migration.

The session was also a first meeting between two groups – one, a group of adults, and the other, a class of children. The drama was not just a learning experience for the children. It was a shared experience for both adults and children, breaking down the barriers between them.

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