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Middle-earth drama

When our sixth-form drama group wanted to act out scenes from Lord of the Rings and realised they would need a large number of "little people" to play hobbits and orcs, they began to convert the Year 7 and 8 students into performers.

Many of them had never been near a stage before, let alone acted, but the older students used this to their own advantage, moulding and encouraging them with personal interest and through example.

This "vertical modelling" approach was a great success. The "little people" initially copied what the older students did, but later they added to the ideas presented.

As the project progressed the cast grew - there was a time when it seemed every young boy in the school wanted to be an orc.

Joan Hardy, head of drama, Belper School, Belper, Derbyshire

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