The Paradise Garden: Drama and storytelling – Rhinegold Publishing

The Paradise Garden: Drama and storytelling


This scheme of work is based upon The Paradise Garden by Colin Thompson – a highly imaginative children’s story. Through vivid illustrations and descriptive text, it follows a young boy on his quest for inner peace to an exotic garden to seek solace and gain independence. The activities are mainly targeted towards students who have limited experience of drama as an art form, and little prior sense of how to communicate using different drama conventions. With barely any direct exposure to the words of the story, students are initially encouraged to explore around the text in response to the madcap and engaging opening image of Peter’s mind.

As the scheme progresses, teacher-in-role is used at key moments to convey the narrative to students and provide richer insight into the character of Peter. Throughout the scheme, one of the main intentions has been to allow students to physically, vocally and spatially externalise emotions, contrasting environments and atmospheres. There is considerable emphasis on the senses to stimulate thought and transport students into the exquisite garden that Peter comes to inhabit.

This scheme also aims to allow young people to examine personal, social and environmental issues within the familiar context of growing up. Contained within the work are tasks that encourage students to develop empathy for the character of Peter and identify with his plight. These include in-role writing activities that are designed to support the development of students’ literacy skills by offering a real sense of purpose and a clear sense of audience.

These lesson plans are designed to lend themselves to cross-curricular projects and presentations that could encompass themes such as the environment, pollination and numerous citizenship issues.

Learning objectives:

  • To use the stimulus of story to inform the direction and content of the drama
  • To explore the theme of escapism through the dramatisation of voice and body
  • To consider and explore human dilemma through the medium of story

Number of Lessons: 3

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