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Reading Gavin Bolton: a biography for education Jardine, Laurie 1994

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READING GAVIN BOLTON:A BIOGRAPHY FOR EDUCATIONbyLAURIE JARDINEB.Ed., The University of Alberta, 1979MA., The University of British Columbia, 1991A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTUE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIASeptember 15, 1995Laurie Jardine, 1995In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Ubraiy shall make Itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)___________________________Department of rnivw c-,aWCicu-LutThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate_____________DE.6 (2188)ABSTRACTThis biography of internationally recognized drama educator Gavin Bolton hastwo purposes. Its primary concern is to illuminate the life of a man whosecontribution to education and drama has extended over nearly half a century. Apioneer of drama education theory and practice, Bolton has inspired teachersand students towards a deeper understanding of the potential for drama in theclassroom. However, this study is not focused solely on Bolton’s work. It seeksto provide the personal, social, emotional, cultural, and historical contextsthrough which his work can be interrogated.The other significance of this study is its exploration of the potential ofcontemporary biography as a research tool in education. Currently in anexciting state of flux, biography is moving toward creating new spaces forknowledge. Feminist and postmodern scholars argue for a different way oftelling life stories, a complex approach that blends and interrupts the fragmentsof a life. Biography is no mere accounting of accomplishments. It must offer aricher taste of the many selves occupied by its subject - a wider range of thesubjects meaningful encounters, significant life events and emotional textures.A biographical approach to understanding the experience of teachers hasconsequences for many aspects of the profession. Biography presents a deeplypersonal opportunity to explore pedagogical models, honour valuablecontributions to education, inspire self-reflection in the reader and promotedialogue. I believe that biography can enrich and expand the direction ofeducational research by creating a new space of inquiry.11TABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTIONCHAPTER ICHAPTERCHAPTER12, 199513, 199514, 1995MeditationDrama Works: Towards anInterval - March 15, 1995Crewe: Then and ThereInterval - March 16, 1995MeditationGateshead: NowInterval - March 17, 1995Meditation11• . 111• Vviviiviiiixxvii303445• 48566164659092103105106123124ABSTRACTTABLE OF CONTENTSTABLE OF FIGURESACKNOWLEDGEMENTDEDICATIONAUTHOR’S NOTEPREFACEMeditation .Interval - MarchThe MidlandsInterval - MarchII Early DurhamIII Middle DurhamInterval - MarchUnderstandingCHAPTER IVCHAPTER VCHAPTER VI111CHAPTER VII A Place of Pedagogy 125Interval - March 21, 1995 133CHAPTER VIII Geo/Graphic: An International Profile 134Interval- April 15, 1995 142CHAPTER IX A Future Story 143Interval - May 11, 1995 156Meditation 158CHAPTER X Retrospective 159WORKS CONSULTED 168APPENDIX A: Chronology 173APPENDIX B: A Bolton Bibliography 176APPENDIX C: Tracing Footsteps: Excerpts 180APPENDIX D: In(ter)vention 191ivTABLE OF FIGURESFigure 1. Opening Night. 33Figure 2. Festival of Britain . . .. 44Figure 3. A Portrait. 92Figure 4. Newlyweds 101Figure 5. Work is Play 106Figure 6. Friends and Colleagues 126Figure 7. At Home Now 143VACKNOWLEDGEMENTMy special thanks to Gavin Bolton and Cynthia Bolton for trustingly openingwindows on their lives, storied together and alone.I am grateful to those whose own explorations and risks in life and scholarshiphave encouraged me to take some of my own, especially Carl Leggo andPatrick Verriour.My appreciation also goes to dissertation committee members Victor Froeseand Peter Loeffler.And, because who we are is reflected in where and to whom we anchor: mythanks to Albert, Eric and Pauline for keeping our ship afloat while I steered usinto uncharted water.viDEDICATIONTo my mother, Arlene, for her strength and love and to her mother,my Granny, Josephine Bodner, who always said:“In this life, you need education.”viiA Note from the AuthorMy sincere thanks for the warm and generous responses I received during myresearch go to: John Allen, Susan Baum, Alan Cohen, Chris Day, DavidDavis, Mike Fleming, Catherine Fallis, John Fines, Malcolm Garnett, DavidGriffiths, Anita Grunbaum, Dorothy Heathcote, David Hornbrook, Kathy Joyce,Marie Langley, Carol Malczewski, North Morgan, Cecily O’Neill, JohnO’Toole, Esther van Ryswyk, Juliana Saxton, Shifra Schonmann, and CaroleTarlington.viiiPREFACEI began taking steps toward writing the biography of Gavin Bolton when I wasabout three years old. Once I had control of my vocabulary and knew I couldrecite or sing my way into the hearts of any family ‘audience’ that happened tobe present, I had the key to making and being in an ‘as if world. It didn’tmatter if no one else really listened; I was temporarily playing as someone else,exploring a world which I knew and did not yet know. I followed my impulseto play act by organizing neighbourhood theatrical events, and then, in schoolby trying out for school plays. My interest in theatre grew into a career ofteaching secondary school drama. Then, after fifteen years, I discovered thatwhile I still loved drama, I had no idea what I was teaching. I was bored,disillusioned and frustrated with my students and my work. I went back toschool in search of a new way of knowing drama and education.I met Gavin Bolton in the summer of 1990, at a summer course for graduatestudents at the University of British Columbia. Those six weeks altered myunderstanding of pedagogy, classroom drama and education in general. So, itwould be completely unrealistic to begin this biography without acknowledgingat the outset the regard in which I hold Gavin Bolton.Nevertheless, writing a biography brings responsibilities. In (re)presenting thelife stories of Gavin Bolton, I believe that I have exercised my responsibilitieswith care, retaining a critical eye and an interrogative perspective. A biographerholds a position of intimate trust, and when the subject is alive it is a weightyixbut exquisite burden. I have relied heavily on Gavin’s voice and ‘presenc&throughout this process of ‘biographying’. The artistic choices I have made increating the text reflect the Gavin Bolton I see and am privileged to know.Autolbio/graphic orThe Biographer’s Autobiography in the BiographyJuly 2719892:00 pmI wait in the hot summer sun.Stone Bench outside Department Office.Nervous stomach.Rumpled professor now discussing my possible academic program.I am embarking on a Masters’ Degree in Language Education (but really inDrama Education). My first taste of the hidden curriculum.Professor’s third cigarette in twenty minutes.Says he, “You really ought to take Gavin Bolton’s course next summer, youknow.”Say I, “Who’s Gavin Bolton?”July 319908:00 amFirst summer course in fifteen years.I’m a little resentful - best summer on record they say.I don’t know anyone here...And what are we doing in the Commerce building?Smallish man near the window. No, I mean slight and average height. Couldn’tbe. He’s so inconspicuous. I thought he’d be more flamboyant, imposingsomehow. Yet, there’s something in the way he scans this collection ofstrangers that commands attention.A few more stragglers enter. Not a word yet.x8:10 am“Shall we begin? My name is Gavin Bolton.”Bolton Snapshots from ENED 508Summer1990Serious. Pondering a student remark. Stillness. Straight-faced.Prompt and efficient and tidy.Day four: breezy, wind-blown look. He’s been swimming in the outdoor poolbefore our 8 am class. Tan is deepening. Now wearing sandals.We cluster around the table in Edibles.He sits in the middle of all ten of us.Listens intentlySays littleSmiles charminglyNods encouragementChecks watch.Breaks rarely exceed the allotted time.LectureDiscussionApplicationReflectionReflectionReflectionOur small class goes out boating. Sails up. Gentle breeze on English Bay. He issilent; sitting alone at the bow. The wind quickens. He smiles; then grins.Week Five: eyes twinkle. Mischief. Tease. “You’ll never guess what happenedwhile I was at Wreck Beach yesterday afternoon”!xiIndicationsThe preceding pages have already signalled a difference in this approach tobiography. My choices as a biographer have been informed by seeking toexplore a postmodern, feminist perspective. Viewed in this way, biography asresearch can be seen to embrace certain features. The postmodem text is notchaotic, unstructured or careless. It is more accurately - shaped, crafted andintentional. There are many concerns which will indicate the form such a textmay eventually take. Each postmodern text will make different demands on thereader. Some of the characteristics I have uncovered in my process are listedhere, not as definitive landmarks, but as recognizable features in writing thisbiography. A postmodern, feminist biography will likely be concerned with:- evoking images rather than capturing truths- seeking to disrupt expectations of the life story- inviting and challenging the reader to be fully engaged, rather thanpassively present- provoking and promoting dialogue- leaving textual space that is unfilled- seeking a non-linear structure- appearing as a consciously artful, creative project- moving the reader, subject and writer in new directions- asking more questions than are explored- opening up areas that have been traditionally silenced in biography, todo with: domestic relationships, sexuality, subjectivity and voice- commenting implicitly on the role of the authorThis is but a partial list of possibilities that may emerge from a postmodern,xiifeminist view of biographical research. In this case, the structure of the projectbecame clear to me in a single moment of insight; a reflection of the organic,intuitive nature of this approach.The moment I am about to describe came precisely when I was ready toexamine the context in which I would write the life of Gavin Bolton. It wasunexpected, yet I recognized how it was a fusing of thoughts I had beenexploring for several years with some degree of discomfort. I also knew,immediately after this instant, that form and content would follow.In Arctic (Air)SpaceI gaze aimlessly through a small window.Miles below stretches vast whitenessblanklimitlessarrestingfrighteningfreeingI look and see nothing and close my eyes.Wait.I am compelled to look again.Disoriented by the sheer endlessness of whiteAt first I think - No Boundaries-But I know better. Even the Arctic has edges.Where nothing appeared before,cracks and fissures emergecontours create diversity.(how do people and polar bears move across this frozen massbroken by its mini-rivers; ice-cold spider veins makingconnections difficult?)My eye searches for mountains, valleys, ice sculpture- shape.xiiiThe landscape shifts as the flight proceeds.I hope to see (but never do)the human signs. Where are the human signs?And then I see:Twillwrite the human signs in the story and leave an open horizon.I am comfortable and flying over the Arctic circle, returning to Vancouver froma week-long visit to England. There is an empty seat beside me - rare luck onan international flight. In my hand are the six photographs I have managed tobring away with me from Newcastle. I am to write the biography of the man Isee in these few pictures. Where to start? I am really searching, grasping... muststay relaxed, open to the possibilities. I consider the options. A traditionalbiography would start with his birth, take him through school, the beginningsof a brilliant career, major contributions to his field, etc.,etc., etc.I am not interested in a traditional form. I seek a difference in thisrepresentation which has no precedent. My vision of a postmodern, feministbiography has yet to appear. Still, I have a clear, but unscripted direction. Thebiography is an improvisation, I must move from moment to moment as itoccurs. I play with the images of Gavin Bolton that exist in the photos. Whereis the human focus?What was happening for Gavin when these pictures were recorded? Why havethese particular photos been spared from disposal? What meaning do they holdfor Gavin? I have to trust that sensitivity to the images will come to me,xivperhaps not all at once. After all, I would not expect instant familiarity in othersituations or relationships. When I first looked out at the stark, blank landscapebelow me, I saw little. Then, features began to reveal themselves to me thelonger I sat gazing, not scrutinizing, but allowing the force of the space toaffect me. So too, I decide, the images of Gavin Bolton will begin to shapethemselves into a readable pattern. Rather than imposing the form onto thesubject, hoping to fit the pieces together to arrive at the conclusion, I will “bethe piano, not the pianist” (Swan, 1994). Whatever emerges in this telling ofBolton will happen because I will read him in some way, from some angle.The challenge will be in trusting that the personal landscape will eventuallyappear, even if I can’t yet see it.Not surprisingly, I linger over the picture of Gavin that brings me closest to myown experience as a drama teacher. He stands with a group of students,encircled by their joy and energy. There is a tangible, human connectionbetween them; the bonding of shared experience. I know this feeling. I havehad it with my own students. This is where I can begin. This is a Gavin BoltonI recognize.I start to write the biography when I reconcile my presence in it, my voicealongside Gavin’s story. I tear open my ticket envelope and scribble furiouslyover it, pinning the words of my first chapter to paper. Then, I see the excerptsfrom my journal as the structural vehicle, the convention, by which I can travelbetween past and present, speaking at once reflectively and dialogically. Theseare the INTERVALS in the text which create time to pause for the writer andxvthe reader. The MEDITATIONS or [Reflections for Readersi offer thequestions I am most intrigued by in my multiple roles as writer, woman,educator, learner. These structural devices invite the reader to be an activeparticipant in this reading of Gavin Bolton. Furthermore, the form that leads thereader through the life story encourages a different way of reading andinteracting with the text.The rest of the biography expanded from this moment. I understand that nosingle interpretation of a life will be satisfactory, and every interpretation willadd to the dialogues of drama education, biography and Gavin Bolton.xviMEDITATION[Reflections for Readers]WRITING. LIVING. LEARNING.What is the ongoing meaning of biography?What becomes of the biographied life and life story?How does the subject emerge post-biography?What is happening to the subject through the process?How is the writer affected by the process?Is the subject shaped in any way by the biography?How does the biographer emerge post-biography?What is the nature of the relationship between biographer and subject when theprocess is collaborative?xviiINTRODUCTIONThis introduction reveals details of my thinking and planning towards thebiography; the literature I examined in order to find my way into the theoreticalfoundations that support the work, and my reactions to the ongoing process ofwriting a life. The autobiographical nature of the introduction is symptomaticof one of the problems of writing a life, an account of the authorial lifeappears, whether consciously or not, through the choices that are made in termsof material, construction and conceptualization.By explaining the production of this biography, I have made a consciousdecision to document my role in it. This is important to the study because oneof its purposes is to explore the use of biography as a tool for educationalresearch. The importance of this, as Liz Stanley (1992) argues, is “to enablemore people than just one - the biographer - to engage with the biographicalinvestigative or research process” (p.118). If biography is going to become auseful tool for researchers, it needs greater exposure and discussion. I feel thatmy perspective as a teacher/researcher is integral to the way this biography hasunfolded. The implications of the approach I have taken to writing the actualbiography are discussed in this introduction which is structured in three parts:Beginnings, Passages and Portals.In the first section, Beginnings, I look at biography as a genre. This, in itselfis worthy of an entire thesis, for biography has undergone a tremendousmetamorphosis over the last decade. Indeed it continues to be (re)shaped and1(re)conceptualized as a field. As a method of research it has gained enthusiasticattention from a number of quarters, for it provides a compellingly humancontext in which to examine a wide variety of topics: the social, historical,cultural, emotional, and personal fabric of a particular person at a particulartime. Because it is, by nature, a narrative inquiry, biography appeals to theprimitive and constant desire in human beings to live in a storied world. Thus,it has the potential to make significant contributions to a wide audience.Nevertheless, the ways in which we tell the stories of our lives is changing incomplexity and intention. We now seek to include the more intimate andrelation-based details that contribute to our personal fabric, and choose not tosilence areas which were once considered either untouchable or uninteresting.I also explore in this first section my own journey into the role of biographer.My intuitive conviction that biography was the ‘right’ vehicle for examining thelife of Gavin Bolton was quickly confirmed as I ‘began the study. However,first I had to learn what I meant by biography, and how that differed fromprevious conceptualizations of biography. In addition, I had to leave myexpectations aside and accept that I was a stranger to this process of storyingsomeone else’s life. I needed to envision a company of participants who wouldbe with me along the way: biographer, readers and subject’.The second section of this introduction, Passages, examines the two underlyingassumptions which inform this text: feminism and postmodernism. From the1 My use of the label ‘subject’ is intended only as a clear term of reference. I do not wishto offend readers or diminish the role of Gavin Bolton in any way by using this convention.2outset, I had a clear understanding that what I was attempting to do was goingto result in a biography that would not only look different to the reader, butwould express the narrative of the life in a way that would also feel differentfrom a traditional biography. As the writing unfolded, the approach seemedincreasingly suited to the nature of the man, Gavin Bolton, and to the subjectarea, drama in education.The open-ended, disruptive, and unsettling nature of postmodemist notions todo with text, self and truth are integral to the study of biography. How do wepresume to write (an)othe?s life? How can a life be (re)presented textually?Who, in fact, are we writing about when we commit words to paper? Keepingthese thoughts in mind had an enormous influence on the development of mythinking and expression when I began to write about Bolton. Recentdevelopments in feminist biographical theory, particularly in relation to voice,subjectivity, identity, subject/writer relationships, and narrative strategies offerintriguing challenges to life writers and readers. My passage into theseconcerns meant a shift in my conceptualization of the project. The last part ofthis section outlines the methodology of the study.In the final section of the introduction, Portals, I concentrate on the potentialof biography as educational research. In the most profound way, biographyallows the reader a degree of intimacy with the subject in the briefest possibletime. In educational settings, teachers still live within a relatively isolatedenvironment where deep understanding of the work of colleagues is rarelyachieved because of constraints imposed by time, workload, and extracurricular3demands. However, meaningful connections need to be made, particularly intimes when rapid change and public scrutiny impose heavy responsibilities onthe profession. Biography is a portal into other worlds, other educators, otherjourneys.Beginnings“Ambiguity is the warp of life, not something to be eliminated.”Bateson (1994)Had I begun this thesis fifteen or even ten years ago, it would have been mucheasier to determine the nature of the biographer’s work. Indeed, it would havebeen simple, knowing that I was going to write the biography of a white,Anglo, middle-class male. My objective would have been to present hisconsiderable accomplishments as a feat of dedication and hard work: thesingular effort of an ambitious scholar. At the same time, a significanthistorical contribution could be made to the archives of drama education by acritique of the subject’s work over forty years. The narrative would be pleasingto the readers, who would likely be reading it to affirm what they already knewabout the subject anyway. A satisfactory beginning, middle and end for the textcould be fashioned, for the subject has conveniently retired from public life(which is surely the end?). And of course, nothing really personal would needto be included because the importance, after all, lay in the work.How happy I am that my relationship with biography is beginning at its newgenesis. The demands now inherent in the writing of biography place the writerin a highly creative, artful and unconventional role. The traditional4chronological form of biography, documenting a predictable birth, work, deathcycle has been in a rapid state of flux. It is no longer satisfactory to tell a lifestory out of context, separated from the larger human realities andenvironments that have helped to shape the life. And, as I discovered in writingGavin Bolton’s life, choosing only a single context for that life would havebeen diminishing and false. Many different contexts have been woven togetherthrough the subj ect’s experiences. In her analysis of process in feministbiography, Liz Stanley (1992) states, “biography is not only a narrative; it isalso and equally self-evidently based on investigation, on inquiry, and on aprocess of selection in and out of not only the facts but the salient facts”(p.121). The biographer enters the already created past as an outsider, andemerges as co-author with the subject, and any sources of text or personalnarrative about the subject, in order to recreate a new version of that life forreaders.A biography is an interesting space: neither fact nor fiction; complete norincomplete; truthful nor untruthful. At the core of a biography is the story ofone individual, but, in reality, the stories told are about the many differentselves that have been written by that individual’s experiences. No single versionof a life story is ‘right’; in biography there is great latitude for interpretation.However, I knew none of this when I started looking into the mysteries andmagic of a life belonging to someone else. Initially, I felt my responsibilitywould be to collect the ‘facts’ as they were known (by whom was unclear) andto tell the story as it was told to me. My expectations were uncomplicated. I5wanted to learn about the development of drama in education through GavinBolton’s eyes, and to understand how he saw his role in its growth as a schoolsubject. I wanted to find out more about the way he conceived drama strategiesand other teacher-related concerns. I wanted to know the story of his life. AndI thought it was that simple.I soon discovered that in education’s present context I would be exploring alandscape of diverse contours by approaching a biographical subject aseducational research. William Doll (1993) describes the shifting paradigms ofeducation which deal with such nonlinear concepts as “self-organization,indeterminacy, stability across and through instability, order emergingspontaneously from chaos, and the creative making of meaning” (p.1 58). Theseconcepts would become guideposts shaping my understanding as I followed thebends and pathways of the research.As a teacher it was quite clear to me which parts of Gavin’s work would beconsidered important. A biography would have to deal with his skill as aclassroom practitioner; the substantial corpus of theory he has written; his yearstraining teachers at Durham University; his overall contribution to thedevelopment of drama in education; and his personality, appearance andgeneral character. Of course, I would have to consult others about him andrefer to his writing as well as interview the man himself. Naively assuming thatbiography was just about someone else’s stories, I was unprepared for theheightened awareness and interest I would develop towards other life storiesand my own.6In a fortunate coincidence of time and space, my opportunity to connect withmy subject in person was facilitated by his return to the University of BritishColumbia as a Noted Scholar for the summer term of 1994. Although he wouldbe teaching every day, there would be time for interviews and informalmeetings throughout his stay on campus. I took his presence and willingness toparticipate for granted. I just assumed that all would serendipitously fall intoplace, that I would get the information I needed from him to begin writing thenarrative, Despite my lack of ease (I was nervous, in awe of my subject andrather too businesslike, I think), Gavin was generous, cooperative and flexible.I did manage to collect a considerable volume of transcribed material from ourdiscussions that summer. I did not, at the time, fully grasp that it was highlyuncommon for a biographer to have such unique access to the subject’s life.Biographers whose subjects are no longer living must rely on accounts that arefurther and further removed from the subject. Diaries, letters, and third handretellings are valuable but different, more distant sources. It wasn’t until I hadreached a point further along in the study that it suddenly struck me that I wasin fact working collaboratively with an expert on the subject? I was beginningto discover possibilities for the direction of my research.An excerpt from my research journal shortly before Gavin arrived to teach hiscourse in 1994 illustrates my apprehension:June 23, 1994.begin listing questions for GB. This feels at once exciting andintimidating. Who am I to start probing into his personal life? But Iwant to know, need to know, I guess, all kinds of ‘things’ about him.. .1really fear missing important elements... what if I don’t say somethingthat everyone who knows him knows about? (better to say what they7don’t know). Can [ use open-ended questions? What will he say??? Ihave permission to dig into the mystery of another person’s life!Treasure...Although I worried about my skills as an interviewer, envying the interrogativeagility of a friend who was just graduating from the department of CounsellingPsychology, I knew I had at least the basic requirements as defined bySeidman(1991): “The truly effective question flows from the interviewer’sconcentrated listening, engaged interest in what is being said, and purpose inmoving forward” (p.70). The knowledge I was pursuing in the form of narrativewas leading me into some exciting territory. It was obvious that I was notalone on the journey; as Josselson and Leiblich (1993) point out, the wordnarrative has “invaded every field” (p.x); a response, I believe, to the increasingneed to share the human experience on more fertile ground. I began to think ofbiography as a geographic notion, a site of discourse, a dwelling place formultiple new images of a person to occupy. The images would be new becausetheir creation would be from my external perspective; it would be arepresentation of the ideas, symbols, thoughts, impressions, instincts, andimagination woven as a tapestry of Gavin Bolton. The place of the biographyitself would be a meeting ground for those who knew something of GavinBolton, and those who did not. I would be bringing together diverse groups ofpeople to explore the life stories of one educator, touching, in the process, onhistorical, interrelational, educational and social concerns. Whatever ties wecould find in common would be woven through the text.8Passages...Two important social constructs infuse the state of contemporary biography.One is feminism and the other is postmodernism. It is hard to say which of thetwo has had greater impact, and perhaps that is unimportant, as long as bothare acknowledged. The two twentieth-century developments intersect in asurprising number of places. Both are reactions against a regime of acceptedordinariness, taken-for-grantedness and sameness. Both question the right ofcertain groups to hold power over others. Both have strong messages regardingthe place of individuals as selves in society. Both invite a lack of closure and acelebration of ambiguity. Both insist on a dialogic approach to interaction. Bothemphasize different ways of knowing. In the following pages, I will explore myunderstanding(s) of feminism and postmodernism as they have underscored mythinking and planning of Gavin Bolton’s biography. Each brings its ownlimitations and challenges for the writer, the subject and the reader ofbiography....Of Text and SelfMy discovery of the drama of theatre, personal learning and textuality ispresented in the brief account to follow as a way of examining the overlappingcontexts of self and narrative:L.J: Every Thursday evening, I meet with a small group of people who,like me, are fascinated by and passionately committed to theatre. Weexplore scenes and monologues, striving to find a truthfulness in ourinteractions that belies the instant intimacy we must face as actors. Oneof the exercises in which we have all participated, produces a curious9and revealing sensation in each person who experiences it. We areasked to prepare two monologues: one, a scripted piece, written bysomeone else; the other a true story from our own experience. Then wepresent the stories to each other with the objective being that thetruthful story and the fictional story are indistinguishable. Often, it isdifficult to tell. Sometimes we get the stories reversed when we try toguess. What we discover is that the emotions and desire are true, even ifthe text is not. We also discover we are compelled by hQ and thetext is revealed not what is revealed.The postmodern era which has pervaded all manner of cultural agendas in thelast quarter century is disconcertingly present and not present. For some criticsthe postmodern age has passed; for others, it continues to infuse contemporarythinking. As Middlebrook (1990) states, “in usage it has become a handy labelfor whatever disturbs our expectations by disrupting and recombiningtraditional elements, achieving effects of discontinuity” (p.1 55). Since themeanings of long-held human assumptions about truth, self and language havebecome blurred, there is an urgent need for a new approach to biography.There are underlying principles of postmodemism to do with the way in whichtext is interpreted that are uncomfortable because they are provocative. Keep inmind that the context for discussing postmodemism here is the realm ofbiography. Critical to reading biography in a postmodem world is a perspectiveon authorship, namely: does it matter who the author is? who the author writesabout? how the writer writes? How important is the role of the author in thefinal product? The author is no longer ‘the’ authority, but maintains an activecreative position as ‘an’ authority. This has significant implications forbiography, where ultimately, the writer must sift selectively through theprecious collection of gathered material. The myriad decisions about inclusionof voices other than the author’s own is a constant reminder to the biographer10that the biography is not being written alone; without the voice of the subjectand others whose lives have intersected the subject’s, the text would remain flatand dull. Biography is collaborative text-making; a process dependent on awide range of sources and insights.It is the author who chooses the order and form of the life’s (re)presentation.The author engages with the presence of the subject in the way that fits theauthor’s experience. For example, in this biography of Gavin Bolton, myauthorial perspective has most often, I feel, been that of the teacher, and theemphasis has fallen towards the aspects of his life that seem relevant to me asan educator. Yet, I write from many different subject positions, includingteacher. I am also woman, student, researcher, mother of a two-year old, wife,person from a different generation, with others not yet named. This is quite adifferent perspective from one which might be taken by someone whoseprimary interest is, for example, solely philosophy. To a degree, the author’schoice of structure reveals authorial focus and autobiographical detail, and thisin turn, affects the reader’s interpretation of the subject. Certainly therelationship between the subject and author is one of importance, and part of apostmodem text is the dialogic relationship which informs the writing. In thetextual telling of a life the author has the final responsibility for determiningthe balance between historicizing or contextualizing the life; for inviting thereader and subject to participate; or for limiting the potential for dialoguebetween them.Finding sites for dialogue between the three principals is not an easy task and11opens up both stylistic and conceptual questions. Should the narrative be told inthe unbroken voice of the author? Who will speak of for and to the subject?How can the subject’s voice enter the text? Can spaces be created to welcomethe active participation of the reader? Overemphasis given to one form or styleor idea may perhaps risk excluding an important opportunity for exchange. Mygreatest concern in this biography is to emphasize that there is room inbiography for all participants. The relationship is a demanding one whichrequires flexibility, an agreement to enter willingly into the event, trust betweenmembers. A warning might also be attached here, for expectations held tootightly at the outset might be disturbed by the difference(s) I have explored inthe body of the text.The complex notion of intertextuality is amplified when applied to abiographical text. If we consider text to mean all events2, then a biography isnot only the textual representation of the remembered events of a person’s lifeas remembered by that person, it also includes the retelling of the events asremembered by others, and then the retelling of the events as interpreted by theauthor and a further reinterpretation of the events by the reader. ConsiderGergen’s (1994) observation: “that which counts as legitimate memory of theself is not a set of random images scattered over personal consciousness, but aculturally fashioned production. To remember oneself is to join in a publicritual” (p.94). Beyond that, the biography enters into a textual relationship withall other texts which relate to the subject and thus into a wider discourse2 This definition of text appears in Rosneaus Glossary of Post-Modern Terms (1992): text -all phenomenon, all events. Post-modernists consider everything a text.12community interested in the life events and interpretations of the subject. Theseendless combinations of interconnectedness require a certain frame of mind inthe reader and the writer. There must be a willingness to forego allegiances toboundaries of time and space; to belief in absolutes and to the pursuit ofagreement between perceived contradictions and the lived experience.The genre of biography has traditionally sought answers rather than multiplereadings. In the past, a reader trusted that the biographer had ‘done the research’finding out all there might be of interest, arriving at the ‘definitive’ word on thesubject, which could then be absorbed passively by the reader. A postmodernreader, then, does not rely on assumption. It is not adequate to approach a lifetext with expectations of completion in the life of the subject, even if thesubject does not happen to be alive. As O’Brien (1993) notes, it is time to start“going beyond the epitaph” in an effort to include ever-widening questionsabout the life text. Part of the key to grasping the nature of this limitlesstextuality lies in quest(ion)ing.A postmodern approach to biography invites the writer to begin from a positionof questioning which will inform the richness of the textual relationships tofollow. Whose story needs to be told? How can the story be told? Why shouldI tell one part of the story and not another? Who might read this story? Howwill it be read? What might a reader feel or think or wonder about on readingthis? What questions remain unasked?In a collection of essays on life writing, Kadar (1993) argues that, “the life13writer does not pretend to be absent from the text” and seeks to move both selfand reader into different dimensions of understanding. In this way, the reader isengaged on many levels: with the text of the subject’s narrative, the creativetext of the author; and the connections between those two texts and the reader’sown lived experience. Kadar explains that life writing is:a way of looking at all texts.. .in a way that allows our own prejudicesto shine through, in a way that admits a level of feeling in the ‘subject’inhabited by the author, the narrator and the reader. The reader whofeels the most welcomed is the reader most likely to succeed at reading.(p.x)It seems to be a special kind of reading that Kadar implies, a reading whichprovokes questions, challenges and reflection. The reader holds a moreempowered position in a postmodern world. The authoritative omnipotenceformerly granted to authors has vanished. The critical reader is an activepartner with the author in the intertextual dance.The personal anecdote about my Thursday night acting class that appearedearlier suggests important aspects about the way in which we are able to readtext. Actors find ways to blend elements of themselves into the nuances ofcharacters, and this becomes intriguing if applied to the act of reading,particularly reading biography. It is clear, as can be seen in the example, thatreading is a highly subjective act, some of the ‘true’ texts being read as ‘false’and vice versa by the spectators. Observers/readers are willing to extend theirwillingness to believe in an event if they perceive an element of truthfulness inwhat they are reading. In other words, a biographical text will not necessarilybe ‘true’ to the actual events but can be truthful likenesses or (re)presentationsof them, and still be pleasurable and of value to the reader. It is precisely this14degree of ambiguity which frees the writer and the reader to perceive theportrayal of the subject as a patchwork process3 rather than a finished product,no composite of a unified self but a collection of the subject’s multiple selvesseen over time and in space(s) opened up and arranged by the author.There can be no single self portrayed in the biography, since no single ‘true’self exists. Just as none of the actors in my class could produce an identicalperformance of the two selections, the biographer cannot presume to repeat theevents of a lifetime as a picture of a whole self. A postmodern biographer mustcontest notions of a unified self at all turns, playing in the spaces madepossible by contradictions, creating possibilities for readings from manydifferent positions in the text. Ideally, it would be possible for the reader, thesubject and the biographer to occupy a range of subject positions to enhancetheir interpretation of the text. It is only possible for the biographer to build animage of a life: a depiction of the subject’s lived experience that can beexamined by a reader that momentarily co-exists in a new space, a ‘non-ordinary reality’4 that is neither completely real nor completely imagined.Even attempts to gather material about a subject for future inclusion inbiography is an exercise in fictionalization by all parties. The reason for this isthat the human memory designs its own past to fit the present self-construction.The ‘pastiche’ of postmodernism“ I attribute this evocative phrase to Vancouver, B.C. director and acting teacher ScottSwan, whose approach to the intertextual relationships of the theatre experience has longembodied a postmodem approach.15I appreciate E.S.Reed’s (1994) definition of memory: “autobiographical memoryis the me-experiencing-now becoming aware of a prior-me-experiencing its(prior) environment” (p.283). We need to be able to satisfy current thinkingabout our(selves) with images from the past that seem cohesive.The subject’s memory of events is as susceptible to imaginary events as thewriter’s, and neither is in a position to dispute the accuracy of recall or denythe invention of detail. This is what makes biography a rich, human experience.There is no one right way to tell a story, no single life to create, no absolutepattern to (re)create, no ultimate ‘answer’ to be sought. In its very humanness,biography envisions the possibilities of a life; through a kaleidoscope of timeand space.***FocusThe momentum that continues to fire feminist auto/biographical studies willhave a lasting impact on the genre of biography. With the writing of women’slives into the space(s) of present and historical contexts, the shape of biographyis unalterably changed. Breaking away from the conventions of the chroniclesof ‘significant’ male subjects written by other men, feminist theorists haveraised the stakes for writers and readers of biography.Concerned initially with finding the ‘lost’ women of literature and history,women scholars have called into question the relatively exclusive domain ofmen in biography. Alongside the gender issue, important concerns are raisedregarding identity; subjectivity; subject/writer relationship; narrative strategies;and voice. In her recent book Telling Women Lives, Wagner-Martin (1994)identifies the conceptualization of a biography as a problem far more difficultthan the choice of language or organization. Guarding againstoversimplification, she opposes any kind of biography which would imply thatthe subject’s life was a pattern which could be presented as an uncomplicatedwhole.The need to address the omission of women from the pages of biography (andhistory) has given women interested in biography a problematic agenda.Historians, social scientists, psychologists and literary scholars can identifyissues specific to their own fields which influence the perceived and actualposition of women. It is the hopeful, emboldened and expansive view thatfeminist scholars bring to the issues that can benefit all biographers.In feminist biography, there is a striking shift of emphasis away frompresenting a life in an encapsulated form, to one in which the subject’sexperience is kaleidoscopic. Feminist biographers would have a narrative whichaims to move the subject, the reader and the writer into new directions, both intheir understanding of the biographied subject and themselves. To achieve thatgoal the voice of the writer becomes a collaborative and questing partner inreflecting on the life. Even where the subject is no longer living, the authorseems to have seen the subject as living. Anna Kuhn (1990), describing anaspect of Christa Wolf s biography Christa T. states:The author/narrator (Wolf) sees Christa T. not as an object of17investigation, to be mastered and shaped at will, but rather as livingmaterial, as capable of changing the writer as the writer is capable ofchanging her. (p.17)Reconceptualizing biography opens up a vast field of questions. All Sides of theSubject (Iles, T., Ed. 1992) tackles some of these through a collection of essaysby women biographers. There is evidence throughout the book of the consciousrelationship that develops between the writer and the subject, much more apersonal human encounter, than a simple accumulation of facts would permit.It is also a significant recognition by the contributors that discussions aroundmethodology must be as important to feminist scholars as the literary product.Very few references are made to the application of feminist biographicaltheories to biographies of men. In one case, however (Alpem, Antler, Perry andScobie, 1990), there is a brief comment on how an increased awareness ofgender issues might influence male biography. In the past, men’s biographieshave largely ignored how the domestic situation might inform the life of thesubject. In a reaction against biography which fails to acknowledge such areas,Alpern, et al. suggest:A heightened gender consciousness would help biographers explore theconstraints by which society forces men into certain molds of behaviour.It would not ignore, or dismiss as irrelevant, a man’s private life or thenature of his family and work relations with individuals of both sexes.Finally, a gender consciousness in men’s biographies would lead to agreater recognition of the tensions men often feel, but seldom publiclyacknowledge, between their private and public selves. In summary, therecan and ought to be ‘feminist’ biographies of men that involve anawareness of gender constraints and issues in all aspects of men’s lives.(p.8).Of course both women and men deserve the intimate attention of a biographerwhose interest in their subject goes beyond the obvious.18Soon after beginning the research I realized that I had taken on an interestingchallenge exploring the edges of biography, as a woman writing a biographyabout a living male subject from a feminist perspective with a postmodemawareness. At every step of my planning this odd inconsistency seemedpresent. When the idea was embryonic my impulse was to limit the study toinclude only the stories that could be seen to bear meaning on the work of thesubject. Shortly thereafter, I knew that I couldn’t discuss the contributions ofGavin Bolton to the field of drama education without situating the study withinthe larger personal context of his life. It would have been of little use todiscuss his theoretical developments and ignore the intrinsic motivation thathad allowed the ideas to germinate; specifically factors which included hissocial relationships.I had to search for a framework that would be flexible enough to accommodatemy need for a collaborative, open-ended, intuitive, and creative process and ascholarly, rigorous, effective research method. In Kathleen Weiler’s (1988) bookI discovered a thematic grounding for my immersion into research. Aiming fora research model that is characterized by emphasis on a keen awareness ofgender issues and action, Weiler offers a useful list of goals which seemed tobring the goals of feminism and drama education closely into focus. The listwhich triggered the connection for me considers feminist educationalobjectives:- critique and analysis of texts and social relationships- a political commitment to building a better society- commitment to human values19- commitment to raising issues, questioning social values and ideology- looking for a change in consciousness- the classroom as a place where knowledge is interrogated- consciousness of being a role model- consciousness of the issues of role and genderThe list resonated loudly with my conception of drama education and was thusa useful foundation on which to build my image of a feminist biography abouta male drama educator.My first instincts about the process of data collection were rough and clumsy atbest. Whereas I had notions of long lists of questions to ask my subject, it soonbecame apparent that a more productive approach would follow an open-endedmodel of interviewing. In Dan McAdams’ (1993) guidelines for developing apersonal myth, (in other words, recreating a personal narrative), I found astructure which suited my intent to follow an open-ended interviewing process.The process described by McAdams fit my purposes neatly: 1) it assumed acollaborative relationship between interviewer and interviewee; 2) it covered awide scope of personal perspectives from birth to the future; 3) it examinedmany aspects of lived experience - spiritual, philosophical, moral; and 4) itprovoked critical thought about difficult memories in a comfortable framework.In addition, as useful as I found the structure to begin my interview planning, itproved to be exceptionally useful for Gavin, as the self-reflexivity demanded bya collaborative approach to biography requires a high degree of self-disclosureon the subject’s part. Although a relatively private person, his discomfort waseased by this process. I had found my way in.20EventsThis short section is intended to serve as an overview to the methodology ofthe study. It is brief because I have infused the whole text with more explicitdescriptions including not only the methodology, but my reactions to theexperience of applying it throughout the project.June, 1993: Gavin authorizes me to proceed with the biography. I ruminatehappily on this until September; I do not yet have any idea what it means towrite biography. I begin the study by acquiring the Bolton papers. This processtakes approximately six months, as journals have expired, changed names orcan only be traced with some difficulty. After reading the articles pertaining toand written by Bolton, I immerse myself in feminist and postmodern theory inthe areas of education and biography. The next step was determining asatisfactory interview structure in preparation for Gavin Bolton’s arrival at theUniversity of British Columbia, July, 1994.July 25- August 12, 1994: The research interviews are conducted over aperiod of three weeks. We meet every other day for approximately two hours.All interviews but one are held on campus. The second day, we meet on thebeach at Spanish Banks. I worry constantly about the wind in the microphone(although it was fine in the end); the uncomfortable logs we sit on; and thenoise from all the others around us. I decide to abandon exotic locales forpeace of mind; the interviewing requires all my concentration anyway. Over thethree weeks, I collect seventeen hours of taped interviews, which I immediately21transcribe after each interview. I don’t worry about formatting, I want only aworking copy at this stage. It is important to hear the tapes again each timebefore I meet with Gavin so that if there are issues I want to follow up, I donot miss the opportunity in subsequent interviews. He returns to England at theend of the course.Late September, 1994: I send letters to a selected group of people who arenow or have been colleagues, friends, students, or critics of Gavin. Over thenext seven months, I receive correspondence from over ninety per cent of myinitial contacts. Once I receive responses to the letters I begin to sense thedirection of the thesis. Also during this time, I return to work on thetranscripts, correcting typing, syntactical and transcriptional errors, as well asformatting the interviews for easy reading. This proves to be of great benefit tome later: I will spend hours poring over the transcripts and making notes in theample margins. More importantly, it is an opportunity to listen again to Gavin’svoice. It sets the atmosphere for me to begin work on the writing of thebiography.January, 1995: 1 realize that I will need to see Gavin in his ownenvironment. Something is missing. I feel the enormous geographic distancebetween us is interfering with my ability to conceptualize the work. I contactGavin and, upon his invitation, make arrangements to visit England in March.During February, I come to a complete block in the writing. I cannot moveforward, and I feel frustrated and anxious. I am advised to let it go until after Ireturn from my trip; just to read and think in the interim. It is sound advice. By22the time I leave for England, I am refreshed and clear, ready to enter into thisnew phase of the research.March, 1995: During the five days I spend with Gavin and Cynthia Bolton inEngland, I hold formal interviews with six people whose knowledge of Gavinranges through at least six aspects of his life. In addition, Gavin and I meeteveryday for two or more hours of discussion. The whole trip enhances myperspective in ways that would have been otherwise impossible. The finalshape of the thesis is envisioned on the airplane somewhere over the Arctic ice.Upon returning to Vancouver, the writing flows rapidly. I expect to meet mydeadline.PortalsFar from encouraging our ability to think creatively about discoveringtruths in personal narratives, our academic disciplines have more oftendiscouraged us from taking people’s life stories seriously. (p. 263)Personal Narratives GroupAs I stepped cautiously into the shifting landscape of writing and thinkingbiographically about someone else, my desire to know my own world in suchterms increased. The interactions I overheard between people and conversationsI had with others developed an added dimension of past, present and futuretime. I became aware of focusing on the ‘I’ of the other much more consciouslythan before, seeking clues to subtly revealed information that emergedvoluntarily. Biography is what makes us interesting to each other. We areattracted by the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ more than the ‘what’. We thirst for theintricacies of other people’s circumstances and decision-making patterns. Like23detectives we seek the resulting pattern in the overall design of the life fabric;hoping for clues to the blueprint. Each life signals things that are at oncerevealing and mystifying; intriguing because of those patterns we can discern,but which ultimately remain elusive.Biography connects us to the humanity of other(s). It provides a window forcontact with a world often frantic and detached. To read biography is to sensea larger belonging, a resonance, a thread of connection to a time, place andexperience beyond our own but curiously familiar. Groag-Bell andYalom(l 990) remark:The impersonality, fragmentation, and alienation of the postmodernworld seem less overwhelming as we follow the vicissitudes of a realperson- a brother or sister creature from whom we grasp vicariousvalidation of our own lives. (p.1)A biography pulls together pieces from an infinite collection of sources tocompose a patterned record that is recognizable as the life of the individualbeing explored. A life told well is a blend of senses, insights, fiction and fact.A definition of biography from the Microsoft information software program‘Encarta’ suggests, “it deals with the intimate, inconsistent textures ofpersonality and experience.” No biographer can hope to tell a whole story. Theretelling will be shaped, to a degree, by the biographer’s interests, insights andblind spots.The ideal biography renders a sense of the subject, but is by nature an artisticendeavour. The structuring and conceptualization of the life story is essentiallyintuitive, a matter of finding the form that will amplify and illuminate the24various purposes and perspectives of the biographer. The form might echo, forexample, the relationship between subject and biographer; or perhaps it mightcapture an element of the subject that is reiterated in the text; it might wellsuggest to the reader what kind of reading will need to be done in order tointeract with the particular text.My stylistic approach to this text was inspired by the trip I took to England inMarch, 1995, to complete my data collection. I spent five days with Gavin andCynthia Bolton at their home in Newcastle. The journal notes I kept during thattime appear in this text as INTERVALS. Utilizing them in this way seemed themost direct way in which to capture the sides of Gavin that I experienced inthat context. But, I had no idea at the time I wrote the journals that they wouldappear in this manner. The short narrative that follows is taken from myresearch journal. It exemplifies to a small degree the kind of emotional turmoilthat a biographer can experience in the process of charting a direction for thework.February 20, 1995 - 10:40 amI have just finished composing a letter to Gavin regarding my visit in March. Itincludes my travel itinerary, some preliminary attempts at scheduling, and atentative list of interview topics. I try to achieve a balance between myintentions as researcher and guest, finding it awkward.I suffer momentary, but real panic about the upcoming phase of the research.The phone rings.It’s Gavin.“Hello, Laurie? It’s Gavin. How are you? Have you received a letter from merecently? There are just a frw dfferent things Pd like to add to it.” He pauses.I can’t believe this could possibly happen ... if I include this in my thesissomeone will think this is certainly a fictional section! How did he know Ineeded to talk to him?25“Fine...I’m fine. Yes, I got the letter yesterday.”I know I sound breathless; my heart is pounding. Why?“Good. Well you can meet with Dorothy on Monday morning, it’c all set up.Then would you like to meet with someone who’s involved in the work I’mdoing now, with Victim Support? . . .Fine, then that will be Monday afternoon.And the woman I mentioned who is now an invalid? ... Yes? Good I know itwill mean a great deal to her. And my friend Allen Cohen? And MikeFleming?“It sounds terrific, Gavin. Please go ahead and arrange things however it suitsyou best.”‘4nd will you need writing up time?”“Not too much, I’ll rely on my tape recorder and do the transcripts when Ireturn.”I blurt out, “I’m so excited...see you in two weeks!”“Yes. That right. Well, bye for now.”Gavin abruptly ends the conversation, leaving me feeling puzzled. He obviouslyphoned because he’s been thinking about and planning my visit. He seems veryinterested in the process, and yet he’s just, rather curtly, left me feeling ratherdeflated.“Goodbye.”So what could be bothering me? And then I realize, having just heard hisvoice, Gavin is more than the person I know. After the trip, I will no longerknow him just through the lens of student, researcher, or teacher. I am going toEngland to expand my knowledge of the Gavin(s) that exist. I will come toknow him differently. I will see whether he is a morning or night person. I willsee where he lives; how he eats; how he relaxes; how he drives. How he iswith his wife, How he interacts with the public and his friends. How he nowreacts to me.26And I will have to decide on how these things that I see will come to matter tomy work.Suddenly it strikes me that I am privileged with a look at Gavin’s life that hasnever been entrusted to anyone else. In a very real way, he is collaborating inthe process. My side of the collaboration is to find a shape for the impressionsthat I gather; to illuminate and interrogate this life; to open space forconnections between subject, reader and biographer. I must and will askdifficult questions. I must remain aware of the responsibilities of thebiographer: to be open to seeing and hearing; to create a work that is bothcritical and fair; to be aware of the obligations of scholarship; process; literarylicense.Now I understand that the act of (re)writing the life story of another bringswith it a dimension of human connection that goes far beyond the page. I, too,am shaped and changed by this experience.This recognition is the important connection between biography and educationalresearch. Meaning emerges for the reader when the writing invites personalreflection and encourages questions. By seeing the subject as a complexconstruction, fully ensconced in multiple relationships and images of self, thetendency to oversimplify a life is reduced. The lives of educators have longbeen seen as existing exclusively within the classrooms. Teachers have beenseen primarily as representing the authority of administrative and governmentalbodies. Grumet (1988) asserts that a more aesthetic, intimate approach is27needed in contemporary education. The personal significance of ‘the teacher’ asan influence both in and out of the classroom has been suppressed in theresearch. Until quite recently, the idea of teacher as researcher was consideredunsound, and remains so in some circles. Biography is both intimate andaesthetic. It (re)places the personal in the public and can challenge distinctionsbetween the private and public spheres.Although biography is a subjective endeavour, it is also a valuable researchtool. New models of research can prepare fresh ground for thinking andexpressing views on education. Bateson (1994) identifies “a groundswellagainst educators of all kinds.. .not because they are not doing their jobs - it isbecause we have no adequate understanding of what that job is in the kind ofsociety we are becoming” (p. 212). An opportunity exists to merge the personaland professional lives of educators more fluently; with a greater sense of howthe personal infuses pedagogy.Lives of educators can be storied to help other teachers connect meaningfullyto both personal and professional concerns. Bateson (1994) believes that “ifonly to offer an alternative, we need to tell the other stories, the stories ofshifting identities and interrupted paths, and to celebrate the triumphs ofadaptation” (p. 83). Ironically, Gavin Bolton has been careful to keep separatehis personal and professional selves, and the irony is heightened because as adrama teacher, demanding constant reflexivity from students and self, thepossibility of separation might seem remote.28My awareness of my teaching self has been altered and sharpened simply byknowing more about the nature of biography. I am more able to hear themoment when a significant story is being told; more sensitive to the importanceof life stories; more revealing of details from my own life. I know now, that itis unimportant, even misleading, to ‘begin at the beginning’ and ‘end at the end’.The beginning occurs long before our own arrival in the world and does notend in death. Therefore, I hope that the reader can see this text as ripples in apool: overlapping, fluid and ever-widening.29(The first six intervals are excerpts from the journal which I keptduring my visit to Gateshead, England from March 12 to March17th, 1995.The remainder were written in British Columbia].INTERVAL 1GatesheadSunday, March 12, 1995I step down from the bus after a five hour journey from London. The bus isearly and I am relieved, wanting a moment to get my bearings, maybe brushmy teeth and comb my hair before meeting Gavin again. No such luck. In thesecond that it takes me to turn toward the unloaded luggage as it is beingheaved from the bus, I am hugged and greeted by Gavin, who has arrivedearly, too. I retrieve my bag from the sidewalk; Gavin insists on carrying it tothe car. I have a first reaction of how strange it is to see him in this context; Iam happy to see how well he looks - more well-rested and healthier somehowthan he appeared last summer in Vancouver. Before we have left the busterminal parking lot, Gavin has explained the agenda for the rest of the day,which includes a dinner party and theatre outing. We will have time for tea, tochange and be ready for guests at five o’clock. After this is reported, Gavintells me that there is a printed copy of the itinerary for the week awaiting meon the dresser in my room, as well as a sealed envelope, which I am to readdirectly. (The letter is from a client Gavin sees in his volunteer work forVictim Support, who has agreed to meet with me for an interview).Sitting nervously in the passenger seat of the car on the ‘wrong’ side, (wrong30for a Canadian!), I begin my observation of Gavin ‘at home’. We both talk atonce, then relax as Gavin drives. He is a not a careless driver, but not cautiouseither, almost ‘lucky’ and I find myself a bit edgy as the late afternoon sunblinds us and Gavin fumbles for his sunglasses as he drives. Despite the sun,he has the car heater on HIGH, but he doesn’t seem to notice. We are both alittle tongue-tied; it dawns on me that this week has significance for Gavin aswell. Then, talking becomes easier. I am conscious of my dual role as guestand researcher. How can I appear to just be enjoying myself?On our arrival at the house, Gavin’s wife, Cynthia, and the dog, Benji, meet usat the door. I am warmly welcomed. Tea is ready and we go to the lounge fora short pre-dinner chat. But everything is on a schedule, as I was informed inthe car, and Gavin is acutely conscious of the time. He makes sure the eventsare orchestrated as planned. He signals that it is time to change and prepare fordinner as the guests will arrive any moment, and of course, we mustn’t lingeras the theatre performance starts at 7:15 pm, not the North American eighto’clock.The guests arrive. A tour of the newly designed garden is conducted byCynthia. Then dinner is served, a truly English cold supper - the kind we readabout in ‘Good Housekeeping’ magazines. Entirely prepared by Cynthia, whoseculinary talents I would enjoy all week, the buffet includes: devilled eggs, atossed green salad, smoked salmon, quiche Lorraine, gherkins, cold poachedchicken with mayonnaise on a bed of lettuce, rolls and butter. Gavin busieshimself carrying dishes to and fro, pours the wine, fusses a little over everyone31and is generally charming, making little jokes and setting a jovial tone. He‘nudges’ the events of the evening on and I get the feeling that these closefriends are quite used to his gentle ‘directing’. I have heard from friends inCanada that Gavin has a passion for desserts, that Cynthia must often maketwo, and indeed, we conclude the meal with poached pears in red wine pçisponge cake with strawberries and cream. Gavin abruptly notes the time and wedepart for the theatre for a pre-show coffee. I start to relax and develop apattern of having one eye on Gavin and the other on the situation.The evening is a success. As we leave the theatre, Gavin is greeted by severalother patrons, likely former colleagues, I think; but his response is just thebriefest acknowledgement, a quick nod and smile. He is not inclined to smalltalk.Our little company returns to the Bolton’s to finish the evening with coffee,cheese and biscuits, and a critical review of the Shakespearean ‘Revue’ we’vejust seen. The guests depart, Benji gets let out, the doors to each room areclosed, the security alarm is set, and lights are turned off. I try to gather myimpressions of the day, the people and the place before I let go of the intensitywith which I have tried to absorb everything. Just being here has relieved muchof my curiosity. There is nothing like seeing someone at home, relaxed and inhis bedroom slippers’3233.4Opening Night of Dark BrownGavin Bolton surrounded by Youth Theatre company.Nuneaton; mid-1950’s.Chapter ITHE MIDLANDSThe bulb flashes. The press photo catches a small enthusiastic group clusteredin the green room just before the curtain rises. In the midst of them is theirdirector a thin 25-year old secondary school English teacher who has led themthrough many weeks of exacting but amiable rehearsal. Now, on the openingnight of Dark Brown, he shares in this last minute gathering of the company,satisfied that the work is solid and entertaining. He holds the group in his gazemomentarily, eager that they should reflect on their accomplishments asindividuals and a group, before releasing them into the arena of audience andperformance.***Gavin says that the years represented by moments like this were, to someextent, the happiest of his career. Two factors motivated Gavin to apply for ateaching position at a secondary school: 1) he wanted to do more drama thanhe had had the opportunity to do as an elementary teacher; and 2) he andCynthia were anxious to get away from Crewe, and out from under his parents’roof, where they had lived in their first year of marriage. The secondary schoolpositions he held in the Midlands allowed him to bring together the elements ofteaching that have always remained significant in his approach: a high degreeof contact with students, opportunities to explore the theatre, a strong sense ofcommunity, the amount of happiness such work brings to many people.Although the teaching assignments were predominantly English, includingmathematics and some drama, Gavin found ways to incorporate his increasing34interest in school drama by organising a youth theatre group, which met in theevenings at the school.The Gavin depicted in this photo is Gavin at the height of his ‘Good Director’phase. Once this phase passes, Gavin begins to move further and further awayfrom the epicentre of interaction; finding ways to increase the engagement ofstudents with their own experiences, rather than simply following the teacher-directed agenda that script production emphasizes. His style begins to movetoward empowerment and critical self-reflexivity. As he begins to distancehimself to gain a broader perspective, the nature of the work becomesincreasingly intuitive as Gavin seeks new ways of expressing the dramaticevent.The thrill of entering, and often winning, drama competitions inspired Gavin’sapproach to teaching. Prompted by success to develop his skills as a director hefound himself registering for extra classes, even taking a sabbatical in 1956 togo on a British Drama League directing course. All the while, his impression ofhis own style was that of the ‘Good Director’, and with characteristic self-confidence, he considered his approach highly satisfactory. During the ‘50’s,Peter Slade invited Gavin to bring his youth theatre group to Birmingham tojoin in with his classes, and in this way, Gavin came to know about Slade’swork. Gavin was flattered by the attention shown him by Slade (a ‘guru’ ofanother generation), but it was a fleeting infatuation. Undeniably, Slade’s workinfluenced Gavin; however, it did not have the deeper resonance Gavin laterfound in Dorothy Heathcote’s work. Thus, Peter Slade remained a mentor only35in passing. Yet, Gavin recalls:G.B:I was very impressed and it was the time in my classroom teachingof drama I tried andfailed abysmally to carry out his kind of teaching.5Paradoxically, the looser, more individualistic approach of Slade’s clashed withBolton’s rather strict disciplinarian style, a discrepancy which he somehowignored, although he tried to carry the two in tandem without conflict.G.B: And the head was homfied!. My classroom had become noisy andhis, the principal room was next door, and he used to come and lookthrough the little window in the door and get very agitated. One day hecame in and saic, ‘Mr.Bolton, WHAT are you doing?” And I was soarrogant that I just assumed that HE needed to be educated! That whatI was doing was helping these fourteen year olds to express themselves.The fact that everything always used to end up in a fight (shaking head)didn’t bother me!Convinced he was ‘on to something’, Bolton was supremely confident in theconcept of drama education as being valuable, even though he was uncertain ofa tangible methodology. He needed that self-assured conviction to propel himthrough the split that separated Gavin the man and Gavin the teacher. Heinstinctively began seeing connective threads, but was not yet capable ofmaking sense of what it might be that an educational drama for the classroomand the new techniques he was acquiring might have in common. That Gavindidn’t recognize the split focus in the disparate methods was symptomatic ofthe lack of clearly articulated approaches to classroom drama. No one had yetformulated an accessible theory to identify elements of classroom drama. Norhad a useful way of seeing links between theatre skills and the ‘new’ creativedrama, a la Slade, been invented. Later, as Gavin struggled to articulate aUnless otherwise specified, all quotations in Gavin’s own voice appear throughout thetext in italics, (preceded by G.B.) and are extracted from personal interviews, conversations orcorrespondence with me.36theory of drama education he met with resistance from other drama colleagues.It seemed as though committing drama practice to paper, although an essentialcomponent in the maturity of the field, altered its quality in some way. Thenecessity for a working vocabulary became apparent to Gavin, but he wasalready starting to work and think about drama in a different way. It wasn’teasy for a newcomer to gain a hearing from within the ranks of the alreadyestablished ‘authorities’. After publishing an article or two, Gavin remembersmeeting Peter Slade at a conference:and he refused to speak to me, but I never allow anyone to refuse tospeak to me so I followed him and said “How are you, Peter? “. And heturned around and said to me, “I observed children for eighteen yearsbefore I dared put one word on paper... “. He obviously saw me as anupstart! Then he came around and we’re quite close friends in ourdotage.Determining an effective methodology which would incorporate theatre and‘creative’ drama blending the critical elements of each towards learningobjectives continues to be an unsolved quest even today. Lack of a commonvocabulary still creates unnecessary misunderstanding amongst practitioners.Gavin’s long exploration into the complexities of a sound pedagogy forclassroom drama took him on a circuitous route through challenging terrain. Itwas as if he mapped out his route by instinct, feeling his way into territory thatmight prove useful in the future. Convinced he was on the right track, Gavinsought his bearings from multiple sources: first Peter Slade, then Brian Way,who was by now carving a path into child-centred learning, his involvement inYouth Theatre, the administrative positions, and throughout, his own singulardetermination to succeed.37Meanwhile, as his interest and involvement in drama grew, Gavin “being theambitious kind”, pursued professional advancement with equal vigour. Soon, hewas appointed to Head of English. The connection between the teaching ofEnglish literature and the use of drama in the classroom to approach the studyof literature has had far-reaching implications. An English/Drama concentrationhas been the professional passport of many teachers. Yet, the effect of this hashistorically been that teachers concentrate more heavily on the English side ofthe concentration, relegating drama to the level of servicing the literaturecomponents of the curriculum. Gavin saw the opportunities of the combinationand used the experience to his advantage.The same year as his appointment to Head of English, 1957, Gavin andCynthia’s son Andrew was born.G.B: One of the most wonderful moments in my 4fe was when we foundout my wfe was pregnant. I’d been away all week and so she waiteduntil I came home each weekend and so it was a Friday evening I’d gotoff the train and landed home and Cynthia welcomed me with thatnews. I suppose it changed my lfe in that it was a sense of newresponsibility, new phase beginning.., it changed how I saw myseif Itquite a novelty to know that you’re going to be a father... and you startimagining all... this new person is going to be created from us and whaton earth could it be like?This period was a time of great happiness and contentment for the Boltons.Extracurricular hours were absorbed by the Teacher’s Drama Society formed byGavin, and of course, the ongoing Youth Theatre activities. Gavin sharpenedhis skills as a director - developing more than an acquaintance in the theatre artform. However, it wasn’t enough for Gavin. Despite a full slate and aseemingly satisfying professional life, he soon started applying foradministrative positions, prepared to move anywhere an offer was made. This38ambition to seek positions of authority in the school system clearly suitedGavin’s goals. He already knew he had the ability to make a difference instudents’ lives with his liberatory approach to education, and, at this point,advancement within the system seemed logical.It was becoming clear to Cynthia that her husband possessed an extraordinarysinglemindedness and that her role might easily become a supporting one. Thisshe was prepared to accept. A pattern emerged which saw each new careermove of Gavin’s meaning a corresponding period of adjustment for Cynthia andAndrew. Before her pregnancy, Cynthia too, had had a successful teachingcareer, but it fell aside for several years while Andrew was young. Fortunatelyfor Gavin as he pushed ahead in his career, Cynthia provided a strongfoundation at home, clearly willing to be the accompanist to a soloperformance.By 1959, Gavin and Cynthia had been married for eight years. They hadbought and settled into their first house in Nuneaton, had a child, built acomfortable place in the community, and enjoyed the security Gavin’ssuccessful teaching record provided. Both in their early thirties, it must haveseemed like all was unfolding as it should. But the year proved a time ofemotional and geographical upheaval whose full extent Gavin did notrecognize.In 1959, after enduring debilitating rheumatoid arthritis for most of heradult life, Gavin’s mother died. Although Gavin had been devoted toher, he had been surprised by the ease at which he had grown apartfrom her as a young man, and her death, when he was 32, ‘.. . seemedjust a ‘right’ thing to happen, so I didn’t experience any grieving.’ Gavin39credits her with his sense of humour, his social nature, and gift forconversation. Still, the loss of the more influential of his two parentsmay have had a profound meaning for Gavin. Now, too, he saw evenless of his father, a dour Scot who had been always rather distant.Andrew was just two, and so would never really know his paternalgrandparents, just as Gavin had never really known his.An offer came and Gavin became Deputy Headmaster of Fishwick SecondarySchool, Preston, Lancashire. The move to the Northwest had its problems. Theschool itself was tough, with a student population quite accustomed to being inthe hands of the police - not exactly a fertile ground for the kind of teachingwith which Gavin had become comfortable. Pre-war notions of education whichcalled for rigid discipline and non-interactive teaching styles would not ease forsome time; for young Bolton, bursting in with respect for students and forlearning, the progress seemed very slow. The customary discipline formisbehaviour was caning.The staff had adopted a stiff disciplinarian policy, viewing their roledefensively. When Gavin arrived as Deputy Head, he was told, “the only wayto deal with these kids is to clip them over the ear”, which presented difficultadministrative choices for Gavin. Many of the staff were sceptical andoutwardly unsympathetic to the idea of introducing drama into the school. Ofcourse, Gavin was convinced that the only way to attack the problems wouldbe through drama and plenty of it. So, in addition to his administrativeresponsibilities, which included the school timetabling, Gavin made sure thatevery class in the school had drama, which he taught. Gradually, everyone waswon over, and the school developed a positive bias toward drama. Teachers,administration and students began to value the place of drama in their40community. The same unmanageable tough kids became drama festivalwinners, showing up for Drama Club even if they’d been truants for the rest ofthe day.This nearly miraculous turnaround didn’t come without a price. Many longhours were devoted to building a climate conducive to learning, and not onlyfor the students. Gavin cast himself as the founder of a Drama Teacher’sAssociation, writing to every school in Preston, and discovering a number ofdrama teachers “who were just ripe for developing drama”; hence thebeginning of endless weekend courses, eagerly attended by the Preston dramateachers. The successes spurred Gavin on, feeding his conviction that somehow,drama deserved a place at the centre of the curriculum.Consequently, the early days in Preston were also tough in another way. Theeffort being lavished on the passionate interest in drama was not being matchedby equal effort at home. Work began to distance Gavin from his family. ForCynthia, out of work, at home with a baby and in unfamiliar surroundings, themove meant isolation and frustration. These years must have been fraught withtension as Gavin, coming into his own as he recognized his commitment todrama was increasingly willing to sacrifice family time. The impact of thisperiod was a factor in an even larger decision: although Cynthia wanted morechildren, she began to understand more completely the role she was taking onas prime caregiver. Notions of a bigger family were completely abandoned bythe time the young family would move again when Andrew was five. The earlyyears of financial struggle and isolation for Cynthia convinced both of them41that she would be happier out of the house and working, at least part-time.Eventually, friendships were formed, a better balance emerged and the years inPreston, 1959-62, were, on the whole, satisfying.The enthusiasm for increased learning and rigor amongst the members of theDrama Teache?s Association led to an invitation being sent to Brian Way toLook at the work being done in Preston schools, and also to run numerouscourses. Way, whose philosophical thrust in drama was child-centred andemphasized the personal development of the child through creative self-expression, was the acknowledged ‘Master Teacher’ of the time. According toGavin, Way was impressed by what he saw, presumably an enthusiastic groupof teachers, eager to follow new trends in drama education. He became aregular visitor to Preston, fostering a friendship with young Bolton. (At leastGavin perceived himself to be much younger than Way at the time. Years later,when researching material for his History of Drama, Gavin discovered a merefive year difference in their ages, which came as a shock!).An important shift occurred in Gavin’s conceptualizing of his career plansduring the Preston years. Climbing the ladder to a Headmaster’s position lost itsappeal. With utter confidence, Gavin now turned his energy completely todrama, declaring:I was 34... and I wanted to be a Drama Specialist.., and always arrogant,always assuming that whatever I did I was going to be the best at it.That being said, it came as quite a surprise when, after applying for a dramaposition in his own Authority of Cheshire, he wasn’t even shortlisted. But,42perhaps fate intervened, for soon after, Gavin applied to the County ofDurham for a post as Drama Advisor to schools and got it. Part of theinteresting twist here can be explained by fate, but irony, too, had a hand:GB: I got it on the strength of my qualfications, which were these oldspeech and drama qualfications, nothing to do with the qualfications Igot through Sheffield University. All that time in those early years Iwent and took more and more so I got to a graduate diploma called theLicentiate of the Royal Academy of Music and Drama. So all that hadbeen ongoing; me studying separately from my training to be a teacherand it was that, what had originally been my hobby that was thequalfication that Durham was looking for because they wantedsomebody who could train people in Speech, And il interestingbecause I didn’t train anybody in Speech from the moment I started inDrama!‘Luck’ is the word that surfaces most often when Gavin recalls his life and it isin the moment of transition from Preston to Durham with the shift of focus andresponsibilities that seems, to him, to have been the luckiest. The job of DramaAdvisor meant going around to all the schools in County Durham, from Infantto Secondary level, assisting drama teachers as best he could. All of this wasappealing, with the exception of working in the Infant schools (under ageseven) which caused Gavin some anxiety. It became constructive anxiety, asGavin felt obliged to sharpen his skills in that area.A professional acquaintance made soon after his arrival in Durham was thelink that would determine a significant chain of events in Gavin’s future. Gavinmet Mary Robson in his capacity as Drama Advisor for schools. She taught ina teacher training program for mature students at the University of Durham. Asthis acquaintance became a friendship, Gavin, Cynthia and Andrew were ofteninvited to Mary’s house for meals. Over dinner one evening, as Gavin carriedon a lively conversation about his approach to drama teaching, Mary43exclaimed, “You know, the way you talk, you remind me of my friend atNewcastle, her name is Dorothy Heathcote. I’ll introduce you!”GB.: And that was the luckiest moment of my professional life!”That moment also marked a new chapter, as Gavin was about to realize thecomplexity of what he had yet to learn!The ten year period that had started with Gavin and Cynthia as newlywedsliving in two rooms of the Bolton seniors home was a long journey that tookthem far from their roots, but distance, time and experience became thecornerstone which gave them the confidence to firmly establish new roots oftheir own, From being an eager young Sheffield graduate to becoming DramaAdvisor for the County of Durham had taken Gavin a mere thirteen years toaccomplish. Whatever was to happen next seemed well within his reach.Festival of Britain Year1952Chester CathedralGavin, center44INTERVAL 2Monday, March 13, 1995Knowing that in three hours I would be meeting Dorothy Heathcote in her ownhouse had me wide awake at 7:00am. I have, of course, had years to fashion animposing personal mythology around Dorothy, not at all eased when Gavinlater pointed out that many people would give their eye-teeth to be in myposition this morning!Mornings at the Boltons are strictly an ‘every person for themselves’ affair, withbreakfast being shared or not according to when one gets up. So I had plenty oftime to ready my thoughts for my meeting with Dorothy. As Gavin’s penchantfor punctuality is pervasive, we could not leave the house a minute before tenminutes to ten o’clock, as it would take exactly ten minutes to get to Dorothy’shouse. At precisely ten, the door opened just as we stepped up to knock andwith no surprise, Dorothy said, “I knew it would be you, Gavin”We were ushered in to the dining room, I think quite a central and importantroom in the house, where the next two hours would pass as with a breath.Raymond, Dorothy’s husband sat tinkering, repairing something mechanical. Aformer student of Dorothy’s, Marlene, was present for the interview. Gavin left,promising to return at noon. By now, I knew that meant twelve o’clock sharp!Gracious, warm and not in the least bit imposing, Dorothy was as eclectic withher stories of Gavin as the surroundings of her house. She told her stories ofGavin through her own stories and what resulted was a comparison of their45parallel but unique careers. I found the interview exciting and exhausting as Iendeavoured to keep pace with her rapid flow of impressions and stories.When Gavin returned, there was a quick moment together in the dining room,the briefest exchange between Gavin and Dorothy, and then we left. There wasan oddly ‘worklik& quality to the interaction between Gavin and Dorothy,which reflected a seriousness, an attention to business, that somehow felt right,but not what I expected from friends of such long standing. Perhaps, because ofmy presence, the day was more professional than social.After lunch, and the noon news, Gavin had a nap while I caught up with mynotes. Cynthia had just come back from one of her twice-weekly swims, andwas sitting in a sunny corner working on a current needlepoint project - akneeling cushion for the cathedral. Church work occupies a considerable part ofCynthia’s week, but Gavin’s only rarely.Gavin and I had our first formal interview in the afternoon. It was a little roughto start, but the feeling passed quickly. I don’t know why I expect everything tofeel ‘perfect’. He spoke very quietly, formally to begin with. The interview isdealing with childhood. I think Gavin is amazed that his childhood should seemso important to me. He often mentions it with surprise. “I don’t know whatyou’re going to make of it!” he says. He has such strong feelings aboutremaining in the ‘now’. The distant past seems quite difficult for him to recall.I welcome the opportunity to go to bed early, as Gavin and Cynthia go to a46regular bridge meeting. I read and re-read my letter from Malcolm, Gavin’sclient from Victim Support, with whom I am to meet in the morning. He feelshis trauma and loss have been made bearable by Gavin, and the poignancy ofhis letter indicates a remarkable man. I look forward to the interview.47Chapter IIEARLY DURHAMThe move to the Northeast of England marked a pivotal moment in Gavin’scareer. He began his post as Drama Advisor for schools with a commitment todrama education that was now unswerving. The split between Gavin’s desire toachieve status as an administrator which would bring security and ‘position’, butat the expense of his inner desire, was now repaired. Not surprisingly, Gavin’stendency toward control made the administrative track an attractive one. Butthe need for control was overruled by his need for creativity and intellectualchallenge, which could be satisfied by drama work. He could move into thisphase of his career with renewed energy, excitement and clarity of purpose; forthe first time undistracted by endeavouring to satisfy conflicting paths.However, the new location too, had a part to play in this transition. Anyonewho has ever taken a road journey from the south to the north of England willremember how the congested expanse that epitomizes the south melts intooccasional villages, then sparsely located hamlets, ever dwindling untileventually the most prominent feature is agricultural land and highway. Aftersome considerable distance, and about six hours travel time, the small city ofNewcastle appears. Attractive enough, although not ‘charming’ in the usualsense of ‘old’ European cities, Newcastle rises on the banks of the River Tyne,the south side a sprawling collection of identical red roofs on row houses. Thecity begins and ends sharply, its edges clearly defined and visible from mostvantage points. The surrounding feature of pastoral low hills and green fields is48pleasant but relatively unremarkable. It surprises me, an outsider, how such aseemingly limited landscape, both in beauty and population, could possibly behome to two major universities. Yet, Durham and Newcastle Universitieshappily coexist within fifteen miles of each other, and are both considered quiteprestigious.The isolation of the North can be sensed in different ways: the strong dialect,the smaller population, less traffic congestion, the absence of ‘edginess’ inpeople more common in the south. The Newcastle area has a distinctly ruralambience gilded with urban amenities. The crowning architectural feature isDurham Cathedral, perched over the river for one thousand years. The restingplace of the Venerable Bede is a spectacularly well-preserved monument,perhaps because of its isolation.Whereas some people shrink from conditions which force independence andperseverance on the individual, Gavin seems to be innately comfortable withisolation. To a degree, aloneness has been a constant feature in his life sinceearly childhood. Indeed, it seems important to Gavin that privacy is protected,and the path of his working life has accentuated his isolation with eachsucceeding level. Time, place and coincidence conspire to write the next phaseof Gavin’s story. The distance between Gavin and the school classroomincreases as the focus turns to teacher education. However, the distance bringsa new perspective.Something completely unpredictable now opened the door to an unusual49opportunity for Gavin. Early in the 1960’s, Newcastle University (Newcastle),which actually had campuses located in both Newcastle and Durham and waspart of Durham University, grew to a self-sustaining size that allowed Durhamand Newcastle universities to split. In those days, teachers were served in twoways: student teachers by Departments of Education and mature, practicingteachers wanting a year or so of inservice coursework by Institutes ofEducation. When the University split and became two, Durham was leftwithout an Institute of Education, and Newcastle retained its Institute, whereDorothy Heathcote retained her appointment. Of course, Durham wanted anInstitute, so a Director was appointed and instructed to hire staff.What happened next seems almost fairytale-ish; if written in a novel’s plot thereader would think it contrived, but according to Gavin:He (the Director) appoints somebody to be in charge of PrimaryEducation, He appoints somebody to be in charge ofPsychology ofEducation and . . .l’ve never understood this... he looks around for whothe third person should be and decides that it should be drama...because he was aware of Dorothy Heathcote’c work! It’s incrediblewhen you think about it... all the other specialists that could have gonebefore Drama, but Drama got the third appointment. And this is where Iwas extremely lucky, he happens to sit in at one of my teachingdemonstrations,, and I don’t know he’s there! All I know is that this mancomes up to me at the end of the session and says that he’s enjoyedwatching me teach and ‘did I know that there was going to be a jobadvertised at the University’? Ancd of course he couldn’t anymore... but he would be VERY interested 4f1 were to apply!And so, Gavin left the local authority and went to Durham University, to a postin which he could do exactly what he wanted to do and which required him torun courses only if he wanted to! Gavin saw that whereas his previous job hada local sphere of influence, this new job could be national in scope. Hiscontract with the University permitted free-lance work and consultancy50throughout the country. It had not yet occurred to Gavin that the work mightbecome international, but by the end of the 1960’s, he had traversed the UnitedKingdom, attending conferences and offering workshops, and had witnessed agroundswell of interest in drama education. Gavin rode the wave of theprogressive education movement, taking advantage of the popularity of dramaas a classroom subject to intensify his study of drama’s potential in theclassroom.North Wales, 1963.In the seasideresort of Rhyl, therecent death of Mr.Robert Bolton, age 73,by heart attacksurprised residentshere. Attendance atservices for Mr.Bolton indicated hispopularity in thecommunity.By 1970, Gavin Bolton and Dorothy Heathcote were the only two dramaspecialists who had university appointments in drama: both located in theNortheast; both becoming popular for their approaches to drama; togethernearly every day watching each other teach, and both beginning to go abroad toteach. Now the line between home and career life began to blur as Gavin camemore and more to be known internationally and, “the strange, flexible, liberalfree, experimental job Twe heldfor all these years affected the way we seeourselves at home and who we are as people “. The shift to the Universityhelped align the many Gavin(s). He could teach, write and travel withautonomy and above all, keep his focus sharply on drama. And on DorothyHeathcote.51Proximity to Dorothy meant that Gavin had optimum conditions for his ownprivate ‘tutorials’. Eager to experiment, he would see things that Dorothy didand take them back to make them his own. At this point in his career, it wouldbe fair to say that Gavin was not being original. What he was doing wassampling and testing strategies and principles against his own knowledge;trying to find a fit. Of those early days, Dorothy says:Gavin is eclectic. He’s able to collect from other people and transform itand he doesn’t collect and copy, he collects and transforms. But at thatstage, he was collecting and copying.Some of the experimentation was fruitful, and some was not. A period in theseventies which Gavin recalls with some discomfort emphasized that drama hadto be ‘gut-level’ or else it had failed:GB: In the summer course I used to run at University of Toronto, weused to work for a whole week on the same theme, going deeper anddeeper and people used to get upset andfraught, nevertheless totallycommitted to the work and at the end of the week we used to feel asthough we’d been through some deep experience together. And I thoughtthat was part of it.Although only for a relatively brief period of four or five years, Gavin’simmersion into the unsafe, inimitable, heavily emotional, issue-based dramamethod had unfortunate consequences for the next generation of dramateachers. Gavin recognized that teachers despaired of ever being able to achievethat kind of drama, and that, being discouraged, they tended to give upteaching drama altogether. People who had taken courses in those years wereleft with an odd impression of the nature of drama. The greatest difficulty wasfinding a way to teach the ‘gut-level’ approach as a method and soon Gavinrejected it in favour of a more structured approach which he realized was based52on theatrical structure.GB: I think it’s’ possible to pinpoint a period when having absorbedDorothy’r way of working with the whole class and using teacher-in-role and generally creating what was generally described as gut-leveldrama, which I think swung too much in an extreme direction. Afterthat, I started to see that the elements of theatre were part of the workand started once more to resurrect those things I was good at in theearly days of drama which I’d tended to leave on one side. So, once Isaw mysef working in theatre in the classroom, theatre of a dfferentkind then I was at my most comfortable, and my writing became itsmost clear and I was more easily understood by other teachers.Theatre of a Different KindWriting about his experiences in teaching has always been the basis for thedevelopment of Gavin’s theories of drama. His self-reflexivity has been aconstant since the earliest publications. In pursuit of ‘making things clearer’Gavin has been a prolific contributor to the field.6 This contribution issignificant in a number of areas. Without doubt, Gavin has been concernedwith articulating his own practice, turning it over and over to reveal new facetsof interest.There is, I think, a direct correlation between familiarity with Bolton’s practiceand the accessibility of his writing. More than once, I discovered people whocommented that initially they had found the books too dense or simply didn’tmake sense, only to discover, after watching Gavin teach that suddenly the textwas completely intelligible. Those whose initial response to the writing was, “itcouldn’t be clearer,” often had considerable prior experience in approaching6 See the Bolton Bibliography included as an appendix.53drama in this way, and had observed Gavin teaching as well. In terms of theordinary classroom teacher who hasn’t had the opportunity to see Bolton inaction, the writing is sometimes difficult, which Gavin recognizes. “If I were aclassroom teacher’ he says, “I wouldn’t have time to read me; it’c a prettyesoteric area. People know me through my workshops.” Former student MarieLangley recalls, “he finds it difficult to appreciate that students do not alwaysunderstand his concepts straight away.. .he finds it frustrating to have to meetthem lower down, but Gavin is approachable.” Eventually, with perseverance,theory and practice become enmeshed.It is paradoxical that although the work is highly accessible to teachers whenobserved or experienced in a drama workshop, finding the ‘right’ language is anongoing struggle. Perhaps this is less difficult to understand when we think ofdrama as a language of its own, a kind of literacy of the body that entails theability to read signals, feelings and visual impressions and to infer meaningfrom implicit, not explicit messages. These are complex concepts to transforminto written text, difficult to express without equally complex descriptors.The writing itself reflects Gavin’s speech: crisp, articulate and succinct.At some point in my study, I began experiencing the odd sensation ofhearing Gavin’s voice as I was reading his writing, so characteristic ofthe man were the words. I wished, as I came to know him better, thatpeople who didn’t know him could catch the same witty inflections andhumour that the writing captures if you know how to read it.Historian John Fines (1994):”To be honest, I wish Gavin had gone on withperformance work, in which he was supremely good and taught so well.Instead, he let Durham University turn him into a false academic, messingaround with dead texts and sad traditions.” Perhaps so, but it was the setting of54the university, the attachment to a long tradition of academe which helpedGavin find and carve out a niche for drama, giving it more ‘respectability’ and abroader influence.The other aspect of the field which must be credited to Gavin’s writing is well-summed up by John Allen (1994):”I think Gavin’s contribution has not been somuch in laying down an orthodoxy as in stirring up debate.” By the lateseventies, and the arrival of Gavin’s first book, Towards a Theory of Drama inEducation, it was clear that there was indeed a theory emerging. Linked toPiaget’s thoughts on symbolic play, and Vygotsky’s notion that play helps todevelop abstract thought and metaphoric thinking, Gavin began to flesh out histhinking about dramatic playing, identifying what he perceived as the essentialelements of drama for the classroom. At the same time, an unfortunate andunintentional distinction was drawn by some readers that what Gavin was doinghad nothing to do with theatre, because he avoided talking about it.GB: . . . even within the work; in discovering this new method, it did notoccur to me that I needed to keep saying “I still believe in the schoolplay”. Other people can write about school plays, other people arebetter at doing them than I was, although I’ve always enjoyed doingthem. So I didn’t write about thai I wrote about something else. Butwhat I should have done was write about something else whilst makingsure people understood that I wasn’t turning my back on traditionaltheatre in the school and yet that is how I’ve been read.The book explored models of play and their implications for drama, and dramaas a strategy to promote learning, really laying the groundwork in anticipationof the pivotal dramatic playing to performance mode continuum identified byBolton. A marked increase in interest in drama as well as inspiration amongstother educators to write about their experiences resulted from its publication.55Chapter IIIMIDDLE DURHAMBut I am as constant as the northern star,Of whose true-fixed and resting qualityThere is no fellow in the firmament.Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, III i 60-2The short, pre-1985, ‘Golden Era’ of drama in education, when innovation andexperimentation were valued and encouraged by government agencies andschool authorities alike, gave way to a less promising period as the eightiesadvanced and right-wing politics promoted a skills-based curriculum.Nevertheless, in the face of adversity, there is often a positive outcome. In thecase of drama, those who advocated it as a classroom subject were prompted toexamine their intentions more closely, as the defensive position they wereforced to adopt demanded acute attention to the purposes and potential ofdrama. Under Margaret Thatcher, the focus in British schools headed towardsthe National Curriculum: examinable outcomes for all courses, with the Artsbarely surviving as discrete subject areas. Drama was subsumed by English andlost its right to even be named. Despite the depressing conditions imposed by anarrowly focused and short-sighted political agenda, Gavin Bolton figuredlargely in establishing a corpus of theory and a vocabulary for drama educators.The field was beginning to define itself: first through Gavin Bolton’s writings,and secondly through those who were critical of his practice.It is important to keep in mind that as Gavin was developing his ideas aboutdrama, he maintained a high profile, being responsible for the in-servicetraining of teachers in drama, as well as offering workshops both at home and56abroad. In relative terms, the drama in education community was small, andcontinues to remain so. Gradually, as graduates of his classes entered the fieldthe richness of the work became even more apparent. Many of these graduates,among them Cecily O’Neill, John O’Toole, David Booth and David Davis,cultivated what they knew of Gavin’s work and adapted it to their own styles ofworking, but consistently acknowledged the seeds which had been planted byGavin. Of all his former students, it is Cecily O’Neill who has rooted herpractice most firmly in her understanding of Bolton’s work. In Gavin’s words,she was:the most valuable student I ever had in that she gave as much back tome as I gave to her and she helped me to see my work through hereyes, at a time when I needed it. She evaluated it and then helped melook beyond what I was doing to the next phase. I think I have an awfullot to thank Cecily O’Neill for. She can often see what other peoplehave missed.Not only has Gavin benefited from O’Neill’s critical analysis of his work, hehas enjoyed seeing her develop into a drama educator of international stature.One of his greatest joys has been to see the accomplishments of his formerstudents. Yet, to my knowledge, Bolton and O’Neill have not collaborated on apaper or project which might help to further clarify those issues in dramaeducation which still remain elusive. Despite a ready audience for such acollaboration, and a doubtlessly fertile partnership, the familiar distance whichseems to characterize even Gavin’s close relationships might prevent anendeavour of this nature.As the arts came under attack from many quarters as frivolous, a lightweightsubject always timetabled as an elective, it became clear that two camps in the57drama world were settling in for a long seige. The split between those whodistinguished an enormous gap between ‘theatr& and ‘dram& set up a falsedichotomy which has had long lasting harmful consequences. Those whoargued for theatre arts believed strongly that the only way that drama wouldstand a chance against education reforms would be if evidence of marketable(read examinable) skills could be produced in theatre arts classes. The othergroup maintained that if drama were to survive it would be on the basis of itssubstantial contribution in a more overall educational contest- highlighting ameans of creating personal knowledge through dramatic events.U: The falsely argued dichotomy between product-based and process-based classroom drama has had longlasting consequences. Evencontemporary teachers have difficulty blending the most salient strandsfrom both approaches into a cohesive philosophy of drama education. Itseems that neither side has received the necessary scrutiny which wouldilluminate the symbiosis upon which excellence in the field depends.Instead, critics have been eager to highlight dissimilarities and fissures,producing confusion and weak leadership for teachers.Although the two sides were essentially fighting the same battle, namely, tryingto sustain the life of arts education in schools, they were soon waging waragainst each other, solidifying the impression of the governmental oppositionthat there really was no legitimate reason to substantially support either side.One side argued that the art form of drama was paramount and the other thateducation through the art form came first. Antagonistic relationships were theresult7.‘ The war metaphor, being characteristic of an omnipotent presence in a given socialstructure, is aptly used here, I believe. A patriarchal approach supporting a transmissive model ofeducation is clearly evident in the desire of some theorists and practitioners who support a skills-based theatre program which excludes any experiential component. A feminist position, which Isuggest Bolton occupies (albeit innocently), seeks a more holistic, creative and transformativeoutcome. The emphasis is placed on why, not what; the power of an experience arises from thestrength of the collaborative effort of the group, not the authoritarian directive of an individual.58A necessary part of the growing pains of a developing field of study, the earlycriticisms of Bolton’s approach emerged at an opportune time. After nearlytwenty years of nurturing his craft, Gavin was reasonably well-prepared tostand by his work and deflect the criticisms which seemed to him unjustified,while at the same time acknowledging that certain other criticisms helped shednew light on various aspects of his work. For example, Jon Nixon’s suggestionsthat Gavin’s practice avoided dealing with issues of race, class and gender,addressed contemporary feminist issues, but misrepresented Bolton’s work, asBolton himself pointed out in A Reply to Jon Nixon (1985). David Hornbrook’schallenges, in direct opposition to Bolton’s work, targeted perceivedshortcomings such as a neglect of text-work (although in Hombrook’s view,can only mean script), an absence of theory, and Bolton’s lack ofunderstanding of classroom realities. With the exception of the occasions onwhich he addressed comments directed at him personally instead of towards thework, Gavin has managed consistently to rise above the petty criticisms andlearn from the plausible ones. Former student David Davis (1995), who nowdirects a large drama in education program in Birmingham,U.K., notes “He isnot a careerist and would never sell out a principle for his own gain. He isnon-defensive and generous to friends; realistic to enemies, of which he hasextremely few.”An excellent overview of the debate based on criticisms against the approachused by Gavin and Dorothy appears in the arts education journal, 2D (DanceDrama). Ken Byron (1986) weaves the issues raised by a number of educators(including Hornbrook, Bennett, Nixon, Neelands, Dobson, Graham, Fines and59Davis) about Bolton and Heathcote’s approach, into a comprehensibleoverview. Presenting these voices in a collage, Byron highlights points ofcontention between these two positions and in some cases, includes Bolton’sresponse to the critics. Some specific issues against Bolton which are addressedinclude:- charges of indirectness - avoidance of controversial issues- universals (concept central to the broadest human contexts)- the lack of politicization of drama education- authenticity- by which Hombrook means subjectivity- implications of drama in the classroomThe article is satisfactorily read as an historic moment in the development ofdrama education in Britain, a time when two things happened: 1) a number ofrelatively new but keen scholars found a forum to express their beliefs; and 2)an important airing of issues occurred, useful if only for the clarification ofmisunderstandings. It is not my intention to closely examine these arguments inthis text; rather they are presented as a backdrop for the development ofBolton’s thinking over subsequent years.While some of Gavin’s energy was absorbed by entering the fray during theeighties, his constant focus remained his drive to set out the parameters of aclassroom drama for teachers and students: aims, objectives, strategies,language, and a philosophy that needed to become clearer in order to be morefully understood. He acknowledged and welcomed critical commentary, whichhelped him to intensify his pursuit of the complexities of educational drama.60INTERVAL 3Tuesday, March 14, 1995Now I am starting to feel at home. In my role as biographer, I have anobligation to participate and record, finding the delicate balance between bothroles. I waver between a desire to probe and an impulse just to observe. I sensea more relaxed mood in my hosts, perhaps a case of the unfamiliar house-guestbecoming a known quantity. Im sure I appear more at ease to them asThe two hour time allotted for the interview this morning is spent in intenseconcentration on my part. Gavin has asked a client, Malcolm, from hisvolunteer work with Victim Support to give me some impression of Gavinfrom a non-teaching perspective. Shortly into the interview, I recognize howvaluable this is to be, as the man I speak with has an uncanny, intuitive readingof Gavin that is insightful. When I recall the impassioned discourse ofMalcolm, delivered in his strong ‘Geordi&8 accent, my memory is of trying totake in all that he is saying and hoping that I will be able to transcribe thetapes. At the same time, I am transfixed by a master storyteller, whosemetaphors and analogies are amazingly clear.I go for a brief walk after lunch and return to hear Cynthia playing the piano inher little study. She has a sensitive touch and is willing to repeat a section untilshe finds it satisfactory. Gavin is reading the paper in the lounge andcomments, “Cynthia is a natural accompanisi that is her true forte.” For some8 A strong dialect of Northeast England.61reason, the comment sticks, and I file it.The remainder of the afternoon was spent with Cynthia. We chatted quietly,more an ordinary conversation than an interview. As the sun dropped in thelate afternoon, Cynthia continued to work on her needlepoint cushion, a largecanvas held in a frame, alternating between having it or Benji on her lap.(Weeks later when my husband transcribes the tape, he wonders who is doingall the heavy breathing!) She is very attached to the old dog, and admits that ifit were up to Gavin, there might not be a pet of any kind. I get small hintsabout the extent of Cynthia’s religious devotion: the cushion for the cathedral,the collection of paperweights with religious figures, her joy at Andrew’ssinging in the cathedral choir as a youth, the pointing out of the spires of thecathedral as we drive, and her knowing exactly the right view a visitor shouldfirst have of the one-thousand year old Durham Cathedral. Including volunteerwork on church committees, much of Cynthia’s weekly activity is directed tothe church.Tonight we attend a Royal Shakespeare Company Performance of TweifthNight at the Theatre Royal, a delightful production that brings a “Bravo” fromGavin at the curtain. In the lobby, I am introduced to the verger of thecathedral the Boltons attend. He is a former actor who, Cynthia says, “brings areal sense of circumstance to a service, he does everything with aplomb.” Onthe drive home, Gavin enjoys telling me the Somerset Maugham story of TheVerger. I see the actor in Gavin as his voice shifts through the characters inthe story.62It has been a long day. I am tired and turn in, but Gavin and Cynthia stay upfor tea and ‘telly’. Tomorrow, to Durham University.63MEDITATIONA PLACE BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICEHow does the work of Bolton affect me as teacher?What do I want to know most urgently about the practice?How can I do drama this way?How must I think about drama in order to mine the experiences I create morefully?How does Gavin think up the sequences?How is this way of knowing drama of use to me in a practical way?Does drama fit into fifty-minute time periods?Can drama work with unmotivated students/teachers? Special needs? ESL?Why isn’t it easier to understand?***64Chapter IVDRAMA WORKS: TOWARDS AN UNDERSTANDINGWhat is behind a successful piece of drama work in the classroom? Why dosome examples of classroom drama resonate long after the actual event? Howcan a teacher reasonably expect to ‘hit the mark’ on a fairly consistent basis?Primarily, the quality of a drama experience is determined by the quality ofteacher thinking that goes into the preparation, long before the idea ever comesto life with participants. But it is the particular kind of thinking that isimportant; the particular conception of education that a teacher holds whichwill determine the potential of any drama experience.***The Teacher And The Task: We Explore IntentionsU: Why is it so difficult for people to grasp drama teaching approachedin this way?GB: I think it dfficult because it requires a new frame, a new language, anew conception of teacher/pupil relationship. What is extraordinary is thatbook you loaned me by Doll, an educationist, he is talking about new ways ofseeing pupil/teacher relationships in future, a new kind of dialogue betweenpupil and teacher and he’s writing in 1993, and he is describing hypotheticalpossibilities that we have been doing in drama for years and he says that thisis going to be very alarming to teachers because it’s stepping through a newdoor! Any activity that causes you to rethink what teaching is, is difficult.U: What does a drama teacher need to know?GB: In general terms, a drama teacher needs to know that the pupils know agreat deal already about life and needs to find a way of creating opportunitiesfor pupils to reveal what they know. A drama teacher needs to know that thepupils are creative.65Additionally, a drama teacher needs himseif to know about theatre and needsto have some practical psychology at his fingertips so that he can assess wherepeople are and assess people moods and feelings; he needs to be able todistinguish between true and phoney work; he needs to be able to hear whatpeople are NOT saying - he needs to be able to guess at what is beingwithheld, he needs to have a sense of school time - to be sure he’s not going tocome to the middle of a very dramatic experience when the end of a lessoncomes, so he’s got to have that sense of time as well as the other dramaticsenses of time...U: So the ideal teacher is an Everyman in a way?GB: Yes... an Everyman with theatre skills! . . .Another skill a drama teacher hasto have is the ability to look at a theme or other material and think of it interms of a suitable focus and be able to focus. A lot of teachers find this veryd4fficult. . .1 still haven’t discovered a way to teach that.U: How do you do that yourself?GB: I practised looking at a topic from dfferent angles, but dfferent humansituation angles. Whereas you find most teachers who are graduates and mostacademics will look at a topic from several academic angles so that they finishup with a list of academic subheadings, and they’re no nearer to finding afocus for drama. So, it’s finding a variety of human situations within a topicthat is the secret to finding a focus.U: You mentioned before that you have to be willing to go into thecLassroom and not know where the drama will go, or be able to use whatyou get from the participants in order to further the work. How does thataffect your planning of a sequence?GB: There’s often a tension between those two. I sometimes find that I need toplan thoroughly as though there isn’t going to be anything of importance fromthe class, at least not in a major way, so that I’ve got a pathway that will takethe experience deeper. By creating that pathway, I’m taking the experiencedeeper in my mincd and so I’m probing the subject in my mind the morethoroughly I prepare. Then I’ve got to learn to give that up if the class wantsto take it in another direction. But at least I will have known some of thepossibilities and so I’m looking for openings in the direction the class hastaken it into.U: Is that where inexperienced teachers fall down? They want to rely tooheavily on what they’ve chosen?GB: Yes, and experienced teachers, too. I’ll fall down on this, I’ll get too66attached to where I wanted to go.U: What is the role of drama education in schools today?GB: I think it is to create personal knowledge. I think there are different kindsof knowledge, mostly we talk about packaged knowledge that would go into acategory, the knowledge about which you can make a proposition or statement.I think there are other ways of looking at the world more obliquely and dramadoes this more than anything else. It brings the knowledge alive.***Living in the LearningOf the hundreds of drama sequences planned by Gavin, a piece of workdeveloped in his last years of active teaching reflects a maturity in the work, aneffective blend of the most significant theoretical and practical concerns in adynamic application. The drama sequence based on Arthur Miller’s (1952) playThe Crucible captures the quality of Gavin’s thinking and is an effectivedemonstration tool for teaching drama concepts to teachers. The Crucibledrama sequence is representative of Bolton’s best work. It operates on manylevels: it is a mixture of several drama modes, a variety of social interactionsare explored, and it is a rich content area with the potential to expand intoother areas of study.This chapter explores this particular sequence from its conception, throughplanning, and execution. I have used the sequence in my own teaching fromGrade Eight through Twelve, as well as for drama teacher workshops. It is anexciting experience for both teacher and participants: evocative,multidimensional, dramatic in a highly theatrical context and, above all else,67reliably repeatable, so soundly conceived that the drama works, no matter whatexperience the participants bring into the event.The dialogue which follows the outline below is an exploration of the kind of‘teacher thinking’ Gavin followed in creating The Crucible drama sequence. Ittries to anticipate the questions another teacher might have if they wereattempting to understand the process.First, though, is an outline of the sequence. The steps of the drama aresketched rather than painted. What the reader must do here is to read betweenthe lines to a degree, imagining more fully the actual events, envisioning how aparticular strategy might unfold with a group, applying his/her own dramacontext to the text as it is written here.A Drama Sequence(Based on Miller’s “The Crucible” )1. Teacher introduces 17th century Salem by discussing the fears, superstitionsand beliefs of that time and place.2. An imaginary doll is introduced as teacher speaks. It is clear that long pinsare being stuck into the doll and teacher drops in the notion of witchcraft.3. The doll is passed around the circle, each participant handling it until itreturns to teacher.4. Attention shifts to four large pieces of paper on the floor. Each participantmust write down any superstitions that they hold. Then, the groups move frompaper to paper, initialling superstitions written by others that they too believein.5. Teacher asks for anyone who has NOT signed anything to stand. Suggesting68that these (however many there are) represent outcasts in “our community”,teacher asks the rest of the group to surround them and “try to make them oneof us”. After a few minutes of the group’s collective effort to pressure the‘outsiders’, the class is asked to sit down and teacher states “that is what theplay is all about.”6. Class is asked to divide into groups of four, family groups. They are tosculpt a picture of purity and innocence.7. Each ‘father’ is asked to introduce his family to the teacher, who is now inrole as the ‘Reverend’.8. After greeting each family with formality and approval, the ‘Reverend’ statesthat some of these ‘innocent children’ were seen dancing naked last night inSalem woods. Teacher holds silence for a moment.9. Now the teacher asks the ‘children’ to take a piece of paper and write downwhether or not they are G (guilty) or I (innocent) of dancing in the woods.They may show the papers to other ‘children’ but not to ‘adults’.10. The children are sent from the room. The adults arrange the space as in achurch or meeting hall. The families are rejoined, then take their places in the‘pews’.11. The Reverend addresses the group, declaring that no one will leave untilthe evil deed in the woods has been clarified and the guilty ones uncovered forpunishment.12. Reverend asks the eldest child of each family to come forward, to stand infront of him, place their hand on a book, and repeat after him “My soul ispure.” The children are questioned with seriousness.13. Each family is asked to take their group into the vestry, to determine the‘truth’. The Reverend spends a brief moment with each group to assist in theinterrogation.14. The groups are brought back to their places in church. Now the youngerchildren in each family are questioned, and parents are also asked to identifysuspects. Tension mounts.15. At a moment of intense involvement, the teacher drops the role ofReverend and asks ‘parents’ if they really know which of their children is guiltyor innocent. The guilty ones are asked to stand. The drama is over.While this outline does omit some subtleties, particularly in relation to Teacherin Role, it does show the structure that is in place to support the theatricalexperience.69U: Why did you design a drama around The Crucible?GB: It was a play I had directed many years ago and I was very fond of it. Ithought it would make an interesting drama.U: What was your overriding concern or question once you had decidedon the play?GB: How do you take a historical event which took place in a dfferent culturein the 17th century and make it accessible to modern students? And to add tothat, how does the historical event become/seem familiar?U: How did you decide where to start?GB: The picture in my head was of a community offamilies torn by the rumourthat some of their adolescent children might have been dancing in the woodand engaging in black magic. I began by trying to visualize a scene wherethese families confront their offspring in an attempt to learn the truth:dramatically engaging, historically valid but pedagogically impossible - unlessthe settingfor such an interaction was so formally controlled that there wasvirtually no room for manoeuvre by the actors. By formally’ I mean somethingmore than relating to social formality, ritual or historical authenticity. I amusing a cultural meaning of formal’ - in which there can be only one way ofbehaving. With teacher-in-role signalling the ‘rules’, the participants have nochoice but to sit in a certain way, speak in a certain way, repeat after the‘minister’ with hand on the ‘bible’ in a certain way, remain silent andsubmissive. It now becomes pedagogically possible - and subtleties of exactlyhow a girl places her hand on the -ood book’ become enormously dramatic,because that is the only available room for manoeuvre. So far so good... butit can’t be afljj step.A number ofproblems arise that can only be resolved by giving the class somepreliminary experiences:How to share sufficient ofMiller play and the historical context for the classto grasp what it going to be aboutHow to make the 17th century Puritan society accessible to modern youngpeopleHow do class members become characters without reasonable preparationSo: a mixture of typical ‘teacher talk’ imperceptibly turning into a dramaticritual with the doll - suddenly and briefly, we’re in ‘theatre’.U: What was your reasoning behind the listing of superstitions?70GB: Brainstorming on superstitions - signing your name against a superstition,followed by ‘harassment’ of the minority - both an intellectual way into a themeof the play (black magic) and the beginnings of a threatening situation.U: What is the importance of the ‘family portraits’?GB: A safe way of casting, a technical matter of deciding relationships andages for the participants to deal with. Pedagogically, an important period ofthe lesson when they are releasedfrom the teacher’i eye. Tableaux must neverbe used just for one purpose, so I now need to introduce another theatricaloccasion, through a simple question and answer (careful choice of vocabulary),publicly and ritualistically giving the names of the family, etc.U: Is it critical to include this step?GB: To understand the new dimension I inserted at this poin1 we have to turnto the penultimate episode, when, in families, the parents are to interrogatetheir children. This scene immediately following the formal setting of rigidchapel behaviour is a pedagogical challenge, for the participants now havesome leeway; the scene has moved towards a cultural informality. This culturalchange ofgear is also a pedagogical change of gear - and on one or twooccasions when I used The Crucible in this way, some families’ could not copewith the degree offreedom implicit in the informal level (still less could theycope with the less formal level of the final scene when the whole group meetand interact). It is as though the participants, having obeyed the unspokenof the teacher-led chapel scene have to find fgfjhemselves the informal rulesof the family interrogation. This is a edagogical leap’ The two things theactors know is that father’ is the authoritative head of the family and that thechildren are to proclaim their innocence. Beyond these they can only exploretheir behaviour patterns; such patterns are not givens’ as in formal’ culturalbehaviour - and f a typical family of wife and two children all see the informalrules as behaving submissively to the head of the family, the wives in particularare going to have a pretty bland time!So, going back to the preparation of the family tableau, I inserted after a fewtrials, another dimension at this point. I suggested that the mother could if theparticipants chose, be the private authority figure of the family or authoritycould be shared. Now in implanting this notion, I am anticipating a greaterdegree of leeway within the family rules when the actors come to do theirinterrogation scenes. This is pedagogically more rewarding for participantswho can take advantage of it and dramatically more dynamic.U: Obviously, you wanted the ending to be gripping and ‘real’ for theparticipants. How did you ensure this would be the outcome?GB: The final scene is based on the ‘game’ of a secret decision. The71adolescents can decide whether or not they were guilty. This ‘game’ of someactors in actuality not knowing other actors’ decisions is crude, but effrctiveand should be used sparingly. It adds the ‘zip’ though.U: Why is The Crucible so effective?GB: Because the early stages of the lesson allow for ownership of thecharacters, in a gradual and unthreatening way. Also, the existentialexperience of the final scene is timed to be there when the participants areready for it. And that final scene is most effective when the group as a whole,take that final scene over and the teacher becomes a follower. Because it isepisodic it is manageable. It also reveals themes without explicitly mentioningthem.U: Is it significant that you developed the sequence late in your career?GB: Yes... I think I was blending all the tools of drama that I know.U: Has it been the most memorable piece of work you’ve done?GB: No... The most astonishing piece of work I’ve ever done was one weekwith a group of Grade Eleven/Twelves in Toronto. We met every morning,Monday to Friday, and they chose the topic of School Reunion. So we spannedten years over five days; they went from seventeen or eighteen years old totwenty-seven or twenty eight. We agreed that Friday would be the Reunion,and that they would not have seen each other for ten years (since Monday).We talked about what would mature them during the week, creating scenes of4fe occurrences. Then on Friday we went straightaway into the Reunion. Mostof them had borrowed clothes from their parents and it was extraordinary. Itended as the evening’ ended with people dr4fting off to the sidelines one byone and just watching and waiting until everyone had had a chance to telltheir story. But this was in the 19 70’s, and the work was really a one-off andnot as safe as the work was to become later on.Teaching by DesignI have thought about The Crucible work for a long time, both as a teacher anda biographer. When I first encountered it, I was a student in a small group of72graduate students, and Gavin’s purpose in taking us through the experience wastwofold: it provided an experiential moment casting us as ‘students’, and, as amodel to deconstruct. It was rich with potential, containing all of the criticalelements of a successful piece of drama work. As we interrogated the process,step-by-step, examining the components and how they applied to classroomsettings, we were unknowingly being initiated into the realm of the artist’s wayof thinking.Gavin could not tell us exactly how each piece of the sequence came into hiscreative consciousness, but he could tell us why and how they worked, in thiscombination, as a powerfully theatrical piece. He could not give us theinspiration he had had for the creation of this event, but it was possible for usto glean insight into our own processes. It became a question of asking how tolayer experience so that it fits together meaningfully. How does a teacherdetermine a starting point that will inspire creative choices further on?Not until I had gone back to the classroom to work with students with my ownexperiments, did my understanding of teaching dramatically have any impacton my work. Now, I feel that it is this trial and error, the playing with ideasuntil it ‘feels’ right, that drama teachers need to become effective. It is notenough to think that you have grasped the idea; there must be a willingness togo in, try it out, conquer the fear of ‘failure’ (which is, in the end, simplylearning), and to endeavour always to stay in the moment, no matter howthorough planning has been. However, John O’Toole (1994) suggests thatGavin’s ability to focus ideas and contexts is real artistry... “some of that is73practice and experience and techniques, knowing how to focus a segment. Butsome of it is just sheer creative imagination, the ability to see like in unlike; tofind a path through that will lead to something new.”What does the choice of The Crucible reveal about Gavin Bolton? A prominentfeature of the play is its theatricality. Indeed, when Gavin recalled his interestin it as a potential for drama, it came from his pleasure in having directed it asa young teacher. Alongside the intriguing aspect of the black magic, which isnever far from the public’s interest, particularly the adolescent public, othernotions such as morality, humanness, deception, love and forgiveness all hint atpossibilities for Gavin’s enthusiasm for the play. Friend, colleague and formerstudent Carole Tarlington (1994) notes:I suspect he’s a terribly moral person. I’ve never heard him moralizeever, but his work of course deals with ethics and he doesn’t makejudgments so you never really know quite where he stands on thesethings. He seems to be very moral. And at home, in England in thatarea, the church is very important in people’s lives.. .1 have a feeling thechurch has helped shape him.The character of the Reverend is absolutely controlling, giving teacher-in-roleconsiderable power over the group. It seems a perfect vehicle for Gavin -mildly chilling, severe, intimidating. Those who get to know Gavin well oftencomment that initially there is a feeling of distance. As David Griffiths (1994)comments, “he can be quite intimidating intellectually in that you are alwaysconscious that he chooses his words very carefully, and doesn’t waste any, andthat he appears to be analyzing everything you say” which results in Gavin’sappearing not to be very warm. This is reiterated by Mike Fleming who recalls,from a student’s perspective, “once you’d had your time with him he’d get very74distracted; even socially, if you went for a cup of coffee with him it wasalmost as if a shutter would come down.” Thus Bolton always carried the lonewolf reputation. However, once a certain level of familiarity was gained, whilethe intensity remained, Gavin’s warmth became apparent.Another aspect of this drama is its historical significance - Gavin is interestedin events from other times, and much of his work explores the connectionsbetween past and modem lives. Embedded in this is the actual content of theplay, the evil doings of man against man through witchcraft, accusation andsuspicion. “I think Gavin is fascinated by the seamier side of life, the dark sideof human nature, the things that make up human thought and emotion,”suggests Carole Tarlington. More than once a group has been surprised by thefocus Gavin has selected for a drama. For example, in examining the story ofCinderella, it is not the obvious friction between the stepdaughters andCinderella that Gavin emphasizes but the relationship between the adults -father and stepmother- and the apparent impotence of the father to defend hisdaughter against cruelty by the rest of the ‘family’. Both for adult and studentparticipants, this shift of perspective has a poignant, meaningful ring and thusbecomes a more challenging and ‘human’ dilemma to probe.The Crucible also demands that both teacher and students work for extendedstretches in a predominantly theatrical mode. This does not imply that they aregiving a performance, but that they are following the rules of being in themoment, and allowing and following impulses which occur, albeit within thecontext that has been devised. In the scene where the entire group joins75together at the end, there is no question that all are held by the drama of themoment. It is, as Gavin explained above, as though there is no other possibleway to behave. The work is truthful, convincing and theatrical. If an audiencewere present, it would be captured by the palpable tension, the visual appeal ofthe scene and the action of the characters. Still, it has been difficult to persuadesome drama teachers that all of this can be accomplished without anydependence on exercises that are specifically for ‘concentration’ or ‘relaxation’or ‘imagination’ or ‘speech’ or ‘miming’. Some teachers choose to pursue all ofthese skills outside a dramatic context, and by doing so, fail to make themsignificant to the learner.We can look closely at one moment in the sequence which has rich complexity.It holds an example of the kind of delicious moral dilemma which oftenflavours Gavin’s work: the moment when the young women are asked to decidewhether or not they are guilty of dancing in the woods. In the single act ofdeciding, layers of personal struggle can exist. Does an adolescent womandelight in the opportunity to have a secret? To flaunt authority? To shock theadult community? Does she leap at the chance to be ‘wicked’ knowing that it iswithin the safety of a drama? Can she balance what may be very strongpersonal beliefs about morality with the freedom to experiment in role? Howmight she weigh the moments leading up to her decision in order to speculateabout the consequences of her actions? In essence then, does she bring ALLher current understanding of moral positioning to bear on the decision, withoutthe words MORAL/RIGHT/WRONG ever spoken? Might she then later reflecton why she chose one position over the other and thus come to a deeper76knowing of (her)selves?Perhaps it is this that The Crucible exemplifies best of all: that the carefulblend of pedagogy and theatre results in a whole that is more than the sum ofits parts; that it can be an experiential event between people which can effectchanges in understanding. The oblique situations Gavin creates are a greatstrength in his work. Gavin works comfortably with ambiguity and invites andencourages students to join him at whatever level they are individually preparedto participate. Even the teacher’s acknowledgement that the dramatic event is anunpredictable journey can be an empowering moment for students. WithBolton, students are not patronized by being spoon-fed the insights andoutcomes; they must determine for themselves the overarching themes,underlying assumptions and personal responses to the drama. In their search tomanage the social event into which the drama throws them, students areconfronting and learning about their individual skills and assumptions of boththe content area and the art form. What is of utmost importance here is that thesearch is collaborative: it is a group process which allows individual growth.Bolton’s pedagogical style infuses this evocative work implicitly. The teacher ispresent as participant/spectator/director/facilitator/educator/actor! theorist!historian/artist. One reason these multiple subject positions are able to emergein the drama is distance. Bolton has found the critical distance which enableshim to move freely amongst these positions, not overtly dependent on any onesingle perspective. It is distancing that seems to signify his style andconception of drama, and perhaps other relationships as well. This is important77to the drama teacher on several counts. First, the drama teacher must holdseveral minds at once, being both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the drama simultaneously.Students participating in the drama must feel the ‘real’ engagement of theteacher in the event, the honest integrity of a critical pedagogy. Secondly, inorder to ensure that the drama unfolds artistically, and further, that students aremade aware of the art they are creating, the teacher must apply another mindset. In this case, the mind must be able to summon up a visionary, overarchingtheatrical sense of the whole as composed by its parts. Thirdly, the teachermust meet the demanding requisite of being acutely aware of the complexity ofpresenting content, in a dramatic context, for the purpose of learning. And thisbrings one other point forward, and that is Bolton’s unwavering conviction that,at all times, the teacher’s mind must be concerned for the quality of theexperience as that experience is understood by students. That these qualities,among others, co-exist so profoundly in this piece, loudly bespeaks its potentialas an important model of drama education.***Contentions...Naturally, the response to Bolton’s work has not been unanimous. Over theyears, his theory and practice have been contested by a handful of othereducators. Most often, Bolton has welcomed the critical analysis of hisprogress, recognizing the value of objectivity and the varied expertise ofcolleagues in the field. He has engaged in broad discussions about manyaspects of drama education including drama as an art form; drama and emotion;78drama pedagogy; and drama mythology. It is this final category which is theroot cause of an important misreading of Bolton which is ongoing. Although, inthe end, Bolton has, as always, put the past behind him, he was alarmed bystatements made by David Hornbrook as early as the mid-eighties.Over the past decade, Hornbrook has made some interesting, if exaggerated,claims about the nature of drama in education. In Education and Dramatic Art(1989) he startled drama educators by heavily criticising the work of Boltonand Heathcote. His proposal for a more skills based approach to dramacurriculum was almost overshadowed by his personal attack on “Gavin andDorothy”, as the new ‘Muggletonians’9.Tempers on all sides flared and cooled,and those who remained in the ensuing debate eventually gave credit toHornbrook for knocking down gurus and stimulating useful interrogation intothe state of the art. Ironically, as Mike Fleming (1995) points out, “Some ofthe criticisms are overstated and therefore less helpful to us.. .and also, I thinksome of the criticisms that Hornbrook made about the early drama in educationGavin would have subscribed to himself.” Hornbrook chose to set up strawarguments which perpetuate the old dichotomies rather than shoulder aleadership role which offers new directions and alternatives.Hornbrook asks: “How can a classroom teacher actually benefit from a practiceDorothy Heathcote remembers first hearing about Hombrook’s book at a conference shewas attending. While she was at breakfast one morning in the company of historian JohnFines, her daughter interrupted the meal exclaiming the ‘dreadful things” Hombrook hadwritten. Fortunately, Fines was able to explain what a ‘Muggletonian’ was (a seventeenthcentury prophet), and Dorothy enjoyed the analogy.79such as Gavin Bolton’s?”He states:Bolton:1 . has no coherent, systematized theory upon which to base hisassumptions of drama, which has created a potpourri of assumptionsbased on a general belief in child-centred education2. has marginalized drama in the school curriculum by leading teachers offinto a world unsupported by theorizing3 . has no understanding of the needs of the average teacher, the constraintsof the classroom and the system4 is unable to present a discernible and particular body of knowledge,skills and understandingsIt is somewhat difficult to accept Hornbrook’s challenges, particularly where thearguments are obviously misinformed. However, Hornbrook has voicedopinions about drama and education which have led to a necessary andvigorous interest in drama education research. The complexities surrounding theconsequences of ‘the Hornbrook incident’ are worthy of being examined inanother context, for there will be some lasting effect from the controversy.ReprisalThe debate stirred up by Hornbrook, (and a few others who jumped on thebandwagon), had only a limited and briefly unsettling effect on Gavin Bolton.In the years that followed the release of Hornbrook’s first book, the communityof drama educators was forced to look closely at the observations made byHornbrook. Although this was not the first time in drama education’s historywhen critical voices were raised against Bolton, Hombrook’s suggestions80certainly provoked the most response from Gavin. Certainly, Gavin’s responsewas necessary because of the obvious inaccuracies perpetrated by Hornbrookabout the subject matter, not because of the personal nature of the arguments.The following reflections are Gavin’s on “The Hornbrook Incident”:GB: I found that very annoying, Hornbrook’s criticism of me, because it wasunjustfted in that although I could see what he was doing and why he wasdoing it, and saw some useful advice that he was giving, I couldn’t make senseof his attack on me.He charged me with being individualistic and I look at my writing and most ofthe time I seem to be saying that: drama, of all the arts, is a sharedexperience.. .here he is saying that I promote individualism!He was charging me with turning my back on theatre and that didn’t makesense to me, so I got very annoyed. I thought he was seeing what he wanted tosee, and not really reading me with any care. He wanted to put me in a slot.And it also annoyed me that he could be so critical of my work when he cnever seen me teach...never ever been in a classroom of mine, but peoplewould think he has in reading him. So altogether I found him a pain, and myresponse was to kind of get back at him a little...Then when the other chap, his friendfrom Brighton, Peter Abbs, whom I havea lot of respect for; jumped on the bandwagon and started to say that Dorothyand I had “regretfully turned our backs on theatre,” that really annoyed me. Iwas very interested in some of the criticisms that have come out about mywork which I think are legitimate.Partly what Hornb rook was saying... and partly what people like WarwickDobson or Jon Nixon have come up with... this idea of by extracting themes, bygeneralizations of a particularity of drama it does offer a way of avoidinglooking at serious issues, so that there has been an attempt in my work to rushto the safety of the larger theme, rather than say look at the particular socialor political issue. So far from facing up to the issues, the drama escapes fromthem because I haven’t persisted in holding it there and pushing our noses inwhatever social issues have cropped up. I’ve slipped away and said ‘well thisis about power...’ I was reminded of it the other day.’° The gender issue is a10 In the summer of 1994, at the University of British Columbia, Gavin Bolton introducedseveral concepts through the story of Cinderella. This example referred to by Bolton is a case ofthe deeper issue of ‘gender roles’ being glossed over for the broader, safer one of ‘power’.Gavin sets a dramatic playing sequence up for the class. In it, there are three Dukes and fourMaidens. The Dukes are to choose a bride for the Prince and are given a set of guidelines withwhich to test the maidens and fmd out their likes and dislikes, thus their compatibility with the8good example of what I’ve tended to do. I would slip in my explanation of whatwe were doing to a level of generaliiy, like power which is safer. I thinkcritics of my work have been justfied in putting that forward and that includesDavid Hornbrook.One useful thing that Hornbrook did was to create an atmosphere wherepeople can offer alternatives and be critical. Because there was too much guruworship going on; I was quite conscious of it. He’s knocking down gurus.. .Ifthose gurus are of any worth at all theyre going to spring back again; peopleare going to look again at what they’ve said or done; the work is going tohold. And ftheyre not any good we ¶re just as well without them. So we needthat kind of change, new perspectives.Dorothy Heathcote recalls Gavin’s reaction to Hornbrook: “Now, I rememberGavin, he was sitting just where you are and he says, ‘Dorothy, I am goingto let them dismiss my work and your work with this. I’m going to dosomething about it.’ And he actually thumped the table very gently which forGavin is very unusual ... .the only time I’ve ever seen him do this. And I said‘well do feel free’.. .1 don’t care about putting the record straight...”CadencePrince. The ‘Dukes’ are seated behind a one way glass for the -purpose of observing the behaviourof the ‘Maidens’ undetected. The women are instructed to accommodate every whim and preferenceof the dukes when they appear. Gavin has ‘scripted’ the experience so that the women actually agreeto these submissive roles, creating a social context where this is logical behaviour. The ‘Dukes’arrive and the elaborate game of playing the roles begins. Ultimately, the women end up being‘graded’ on a scale of one to four; at that point it ends.The discussion which followed the dramatic playing exposed the gender issues at the heart of theexercise. The men were reluctant to admit that the ‘power’ they were feeling went beyond theexercise. The women were frustrated by the lack of sensitivity to their very strong feelings ofdegradation. A major concern was that in order to do such an exercise with students, the focuswould have to be changed so that the participants would not be left with the impression that thegender roles were being reinforced.82There is no one way in which to interpret or anticipate the impact of thecontributions of Gavin Bolton to education. We cannot expect that footsteps,even firmly planted ones, will guarantee a path. Future generations, perhapseven the generation that is now entering the field, will have a perspective thatis unavailable to contemporary view. Able to see the threads of Bolton’s workwoven over time and through space, someone thirty years hence might detect asignificance as yet unannounced; or the work and thinking may be applied in adifferent context, with different possibilities.My own reflections on Bolton have led me to consider his career in the threemodes which most closely affect my teaching: creativity, pedagogy and theory.The list which follows is by no means the definitive list of Bolton’scontributions. Others will find different points of intersection with his work;different resonances of experience. My purpose here is to point to the momentswhere I can enter into dialogue with the work and extend it further into myown context(s) as writer, teacher, researcher.TheoryThere was a moment in 1990, early on during the graduate course I took withGavin that startled me. Until that moment, drama education had been, to me atleast, an exercise in delivering skills - transmitting the knowledge that wouldlead to ‘better’ acting, interpretation, set design, lighting plots, make-up,costuming, prop selection, blocking, etc., etc., etc. It frequently occurred to methat despite the change of students from year to year and my best attempts at83using diverse scripts and techniques, nothing much ever seemed fresh orunique. It felt that somehow, all of us, students and teacher, remained outsidethe work; removed emotionally, severed from genuine connection with ourthoughts and actions. Thus, when in 1990, I realised that drama must belinked to meaning, I knew I had taken the first step in realigning my theoryand practice. Suddenly, the gap between what we had been doing and how wehad been doing it narrowed to a simple question: “Why are we doing this?”Content must matter - we must care about the human response to the event.Even more importantly, we must see the event through a multiplicity of lenses,including, primarily, our own.Gavin Bolton has documented the development of his work and thinking overforty years. Through this prolific legacy of articles and books, generations oflearners can explore the growth of one person’s journey into a specialized field.His writing identifies his principles of learning, theatre and pedagogy,creating an archive of immense value to educators.In the search for a foundational theory for drama education, Bolton hasidentified links between drama and other branches of education. His earlyconnections with the child development theories of Piaget and Vygotskyopened new perspectives on thinking about drama education. Now, it ispossible to envision the ties that can be made between Bolton’s conception ofdrama and critical pedagogy, critical thinking and postmodernist views ofeducation. These interesting combinations may well deserve deep explorationby current researchers and practitioners.84Some aspects of drama theory are identifiable as unique to Bolton. Thestrongest principle seems to have appeared at the apex of his discoveries duringhis active teaching career, and that is his differentiation between dramaticplaying mode and performance mode. By placing these at opposite ends of acontinuum, he emphasized their relatedness and dependence to each other,simultaneously creating a balanced, holistic approach to drama education.Another useful characteristic which can be attributed to Bolton is that hisdramatic events are multi-purpose: since he structures sequences forrepeatability, they are models of craftsmanship and ripe for deconstruction -either through his own written analysis, through public analysis with teachersor as observed demonstrations with students.He has worked diligently to establish the importance of theatre elements inthe context of drama education. Anyone who has observed him with studentshas seen the actor, director, playwright, at work. In giving form to meaningthrough theatrical conventions, he is able to select and shape moments ofsignificance within a classroom setting which will lead to the participants’understanding of what it means to work both in context and content.PedagogyThere is an implicit guideline which underscores every facet of Bolton’s85approach: impervious high standards. He is steadfastly clear on theresponsibilities of the teacher, which he himself models. The teacher mustexpect that high standards will lead to quality work from self and students. Theteacher must have a vision of learning outcomes. The teacher must strive toengage with challenging material. The teacher must not be afraid to makedecisions, and above all, must understand the imperative of risk-taking in adynamic approach to pedagogy.Repeated echoes of: “Gavin doesn’t suffer fools gladly” punctuated theresearch. Yet, he has mastered the art of saying “That isn’t good enough,” withtactful grace. He demonstrates how to elicit high standards by demandingartistic integrity, self-reflexivity, and self-discipline. At the same time, theultimate joy he experiences in doing this work is always apparent.A teacher who stays in the moment, Bolton is undistracted, clear andcommitted when working. He feels that a teacher must believe in and valuewhat students offer in a real way; students must not sense false affirmation oftheir contributions.His extraordinary command of English elevates language usage andawareness for drama participants. His examples and instructions are efficient,colourful and precise. There is a ‘less is more’ quality to his speech that invitesand informs the dialogic process he supports.Bolton has an innate ability to see minutely; to celebrate ordinary events as86extraordinary; to hold up a moment which slows the action down forparticipants and gives them the opportunity to make deeper meaning from theexperience.There is often a sense, when watching Bolton work, that he is constantlymonitoring the response and rhythms of the group. He is acutely aware ofthe nuances of reactions to the dramatic event; perhaps slightly less so to theindividual reactions of the participants. There is attention paid to the subtletiesof ‘reading’ the group, which will ultimately serve to make the most from thatgroups’ dramatic potential. As well, importance is placed on teaching the groupa greater sensitivity in its own readings of the experience.One of Bolton’s great skills is in showing teachers how to let theatre do thework. It is essential to find ways to let the theatre elements of time, space andaction do the work of expressing what the participants want to say, placing noburdens on the individuals involved as ‘actors’. Handled in this way, manymore students reach the kind of transformative thinking currently popular.Bolton exemplifies a human, intuitive, exploratory approach to teaching. Itis impossible to overstate the value of risk-taking which he has alwaysencouraged. In drama teaching, these risks can be manifested in many ways.From fearing to appear silly in a role and then doing something spontaneousanyway because it feels right, to the teacher’s and students’ choice(s) ofmaterial, there are important opportunities to explore new territory at everyturn.87CreativityAlthough criticized and challenged (never sufficiently from Bolton’s point ofview) he has ever remained true to his own vision of the potency of dramaeducation. Unafraid to venture into areas that appeal to him, Bolton continuesto discover, discard, dismiss and detour through ideas in his relentless search toknow more. He has constantly sought new ways of viewing old conventions,turning them to a different use; enhancing them or being innovative in theirapplication.Of great importance is the way in which Bolton has pointed to a differentway of thinking about what it is we mean when we say ‘drama ineducation’. He has drawn a map for others through his development ofvocabulary and concepts; always seeking richer directions for the work. Heallows creativity to move at a very deep level, sometimes imperceptible untila backward look is given to an event. Then, a brilliant word or suggestiondropped early, probably inconspicuously, is seen to eventually flower into apivotal moment, resonating with the significance it was always intended toevoke in the participants.Contrary to criticism which misrepresented his position toward exploringcontroversial issues in the classroom, I venture to say that there is no topicwhich Bolton would deliberately avoid. Quite possibly, the more contentiousthe topic, the greater the challenge to find a protective frame for examining thefacets of the theme involved. What is most important is finding connections88between the personal experience of the participants and the dramaticcontext.Lest the above be viewed as a litany, I will reiterate that the elements ofBolton’s work noted here are only a few amongst many others which will cometo mind for those who have studied Bolton’s work. Still, for those new to hisapproach to drama education, this may serve as a useful starting point forlaunching a further investigation. These observations have been important tomy own thinking and pursuit of drama in the classroom context.89iNTERVAL 4Wednesday, March 15, 1995Gavin and I have taken to having our morning coffee together in the lounge. Ithelps to sort out the day’s schedule and I can also give him things to startthinking about for a later taped session. I have a feeling that this is his usualtime to write and I know that the current ‘history’ project is a near obsession -never very far from his mind. Nevertheless, he spends all the time with me thatI want, and has really left his own work aside to accommodate mine.The weather is blustery and chilly, but bright, and it is a perfect day to see theCathedral in Durham, as our destination today is Durham University. MikeFleming now runs the programs begun by Gavin and he has agreed to spendsome time with me while Gavin visits the library. He has many interestingthoughts on Gavin and his work, having been a former student and then adoctoral candidate, with Gavin as supervisor. Reminiscing about Gavin hasbeen a pleasurable and jovial task for everyone I’ve spoken to, and Mike, whocontinues to work with Gavin in many capacities, has no trouble filling thehour with his reflections.Lunch in the Cathedral Refectory and then a brief tour of the huge structureitself. I get the feeling early on that Gavin has done this too often,(he is notterribly enthusiastic about it), but of course it is a ‘must see’ for guests. Heseems much happier when we return to work on interview topics at home. Ourtopic for the afternoon session is his work in psychiatric hospitals, and itprovokes a long discussion on the nature of the work and its implications.90I am again tired, and grateful that Cynthia and Gavin are off once more forbridge, so that I can sleep’ Every conversation I have seems to point to newpaths of discovery. I’m afraid that I will forget to write down what I’ve heardor that the tapes will get destroyed or that there will be some kind of disaster...perhaps just in my bad dreams...91Chapter VCREWE: THEN and THERE.52 ‘J/,-./ ;ZA PortraitGavin, age 16, Crewe.GB. I’m not sure how old I would be, probably about seven, andstanding outside a house where some children were having a party towhich I had not been invited even though I lived on the same street. Ifound that very upsetting and I remember feeling very lonely, and Istood at their fence trying to see into the room where the party wasgoing on.How does this memory shed light on Bolton’s life and work? It suits myconception of the man Gavin Bolton, and although I did not know the child, itallows me to transcend the constraints of time and space to glimpse the boy.My own reasons for including it as a moment in this text have changed since it92first sang out to me while reading the interview transcripts. My reading ofBolton has shifted many times since I began this project. At first, I heldromantic notions of a young and somewhat fragile boy, wistfully an outsider.As I came to see different Gavin Boltons, I felt that this isolation was far morewillful than I first believed. It suited Gavin to remain on the edge, giving hismind the space and freedom to question his experiences and to the nurturedivergent thinking that allowed him to see common signs and events in anuncommon way. From very early on, Gavin’s self-determination carved outspace for independence and distance, two characteristics which mark even hismost intimate relationships.***1927Crewe was a railway town in those days.B0LT0N: Robert andAlice (nec Hamer) arepleased to announce thearrival of their sonGavin, brother forRobert.Gavin was the third and last son born to the Boltons, the first having died as ababy. His mother would have only a few years of reasonably active livingfollowing his birth before becoming immobile with arthritis. Even so, Gavinrecalls the difficulty she had in walking short distances and the limitations herhealth placed on the family. All of that was compensated for by Alice Bolton’sextraordinarily outgoing personality.Ah, his mother was gorgeous, she had a tremendous personality, verychatty, very lively.., whereas his dad - I don’t think he formed a realrelationship with him; just didn’t know him.Cynthia Bolton93GB: I think my mother was the first signficant person in my lfe andshe had a lot to do with the kind ofperson I am, more than my father. Isuppose I’ve got my sense of humour from my mother... she tended tosee everything as funny in the end and I’ve tended to pick that up fromher. She was a sociable person, enjoyed company, enjoyed talking; I’vegot that from her. She was.. .1 suppose she was a remarkable person inmany ways; many people thought of her as remarkable, so that she wasgood to live with.For the first six years of his life, Gavin lived with his parents and brother in asmall, semi-detached house, bordering on a big play area. To a degree, Gavinlived the life of an only child, there being a six year age difference betweenGavin and his only brother. As a child Gavin spent his time playing outdoorswith other boys and girls near his home, though seldom in the company of hisbrother, with whom he “didn’t get on.” (Oddly, in later years when Gavin hadto make a decision about his schooling and career, it was Robert’s example heturned to, duplicating exactly the steps Robert took into working with sight andhearing disabled students).The Boltons were a solid, respectable family whose children went to SundaySchool, and who, because of Mrs. Bolton’s cheerful nature, were warmlyregarded by the community. When Gavin was seven years old, the familymoved to a new house, still in the same neighbourhood, allowing Robert andGavin to continue to attend the same schools, church and activities. Children ofthe early thirties were seen and not heard. No explanation was given for themove of a few blocks, although it was apparent that the new location wassomewhat more desirable, the house slightly more ‘comfortable,’ and the electricheating a ‘step up’ from the coal used by the rest of the community. AliceBolton, ambitious for herself and her family, knew that it was important to94instil high standards in her sons, to strive to be better than you thought youcould be, even if the goal seemed unattainable. She was a constant andnoteworthy reminder to all of them, always seeing herself as a little superiorand thus creating a sense of nobility and status around herself and family,despite the limitations of her illness.GB: The main experience that I recall from childhood is having aninvalid mother who had a serious form of rheumatoid arthritis which inthose days was incurable. So that as a child, most of my school agerather; I recall included a home l!fe that was concerned with lookingafter Mother. And she had to be fed and bedpanned and generallynursed, and the three of us at home shared that nursing and thecleaning of the house, but my brother; who was six years older thenwent away to college, so father and I shared most of that nursing.Alice Bolton found a unique way of coping with the severe restrictions of herillness. Left with only one mobile joint, her jaw, she soon had her own‘coterie’: a steady stream of visitors who came to rely on her congenial, positiveand caring demeanour as a salve for their own lives. Her outlook ensured herthe ongoing companionship of the community and the adult conversation whichshe must have craved from her husband. Robert, the ‘dour Scot’ would soonerhunker down in a corner than engage in a chat with his wife or his children.GB: My father really had very little to say. And all the visitors mymother had who used to come to see how she was; used to beentertained by her... and my father would sit in the corner and fhethought it was time for them to go he would sort ofgnmfaced, stillsaying nothing walk to the mantlepiece and pick up the clock and windit!As Gavin grew older, the narrating of the events of his day to his motherbecame an important daily routine. She was keenly interested in the people andtheir interactions, (who said what to whom? how did that episode work itselfout?), and Gavin would have to recall in great detail the comments, argumentsand discussions of his teachers and peers. This was a brilliant strategy on95Alice’s part. She could monitor Gavin’s comprehension of the world, knowintimately the things which caught his interest, exercise his love of language,story and character, and maintain a bond between them, reinforced day afterday. This affinity for language shared by mother and son forged a specialconnection between them.Gavin found a childhood companion in the girl next door. They shared a loveof performing plays for others, competed against each other academically, andhelped each other through hours of homework. Not really keen about dating ashe grew older, “I was never a deep breather,” notes Gavin, he occupied hisleisure time with cycling, playing cards and, above all, going to the theatre andcinema. He loathed organized sports of any kind, preferring the solitaryendeavours which allowed him to set extremely high individual standardswithout team pressure. It also kept him outside the group, pursuing his ownactivities without interference.GB: I was greatly in love with the theatre and Crewe had its owntheatre and repertory company. I would go off on my own as a child tothe theatre. I think some of the acting was ham acting, where theactors would posture on stage, holding their arms like so... and I used togo back home and stand in front of the mirror and hold my hands infront of me like that... The cinema was another great source ofimagination for me.. .great excitement over cinema. In my mind Ireenactedfilms over and over again on the way home.World War II began when Gavin was eleven and was the backdrop to his earlyadolescence. At least on the surface, the major effect of the war in Gavin’sperception was that it curtailed activities that he might otherwise have beenable to pursue extracurricularly. It did, perhaps, fuel the imagination of a boyalready intrigued by the drama of everyday life.96GB:... the other feature that coloured my school period was that it waswartime, so I spent an awful lot of school hfe in an air raid shelter.And I remember that we all used to wish, all the pupils, that the airraid siren would go before Latin which was a great problem for me,because I had to pretend that I wished that and Latin was my favouritesubject. And I had to disguise and go along with the others and clap myhands with glee as the siren went, and miss Latin!The war imposed certain other restrictions on life that would have realconsequences for the young Gavin Bolton. While the grammar school he hadjust begun to attend had always put on plays, something he had been lookingforward to participating in, extracurricular activities were stopped when the warbegan, thwarting Gavin’s interest and expression in drama. One thing the wardid not do, however, was to interest the young Gavin in things political. In fact,the opposite occurred - he became intensely disinterested. In earnest, he beganhis long, outstanding career as a student of Speech and Drama. Here hefollowed in brother Robert’s footsteps: both boys were adept at memorizationand verse speaking, winning awards and entering competitions, and takingexams towards a Speech and Drama certificate. Until much later, duringuniversity, this activity had to sustain Gavin’s interest in things dramatic. Thesubstitute activity for play-making left a lasting impression on the twocompetitive Bolton boys:We were on holiday together, Gavin and I and Robert and his wife, andlistening to the radio. Someone was reciting a monologue and Gavinjoined in with it saying, ‘I used to do that one.’ Then Robert retorted,‘But I did it first!’Cynthia BoltonScotsGB:We could only afford to travel to Scotland once, maybe twice andall I remember is that my grandparents lived in a ‘Buttenben’ which wasa one room apartment where the bed pulls out of the wall... and sheused to say’Och, youre ma wee boy’ (I can hear a Grandmother in97Gavin’s voice as he hits this phrase) whenever she saw me and I likedthat. And my Grandfather was a great fusser and as soon as we arrivedwhich was some time around two o’clock he’d be prompting his wfe toget the tea ready because we’d come for tea. So, driven to desperationshe used to have to get the tea ready, because we’d come for tea, HighTea, for three o ‘clock because this important event, the tea, had to begot through! It dominated his whole afternoon. And that really all Iremember about the Scottish grandparents.WelshOnly one of the grandparents of the four I knew well. She was theWelsh side, my mothers side of the family. She married an Englishmanwhom I only have vague memories of.. When I was four or five Iremember being a bit shocked when I visited him on his deathbed. Heappeared not to know me. It didn’t upset me because I wasn’t close tohim. Therec this awful story that goes with him, that my grandmotherwasn’t left with any money whatsoever partly because he’d hidden awaya whole pile of money that he’d saved that Grandmother didn’t knowanything about. And when he was sick they lit a fire in the bedroom,which they never used because they didn’t spend money on coal to heatthe bedroom. And the money, they discovered afterwards, had beenpacked in the chimney and it all burned!Just tGavint, Never ‘Boiton’School life was easy for Gavin, probably because he loved it, pleased histeachers and genuinely found learning a pleasure. He recalls, bemused, thatwhile all of the other lads were only referred to by their surnames, he wasalways called Gavin, even by the English teacher who became his nemesis.Mathematics was his favourite subject, and English drew Gavin in because ofhis interest in drama. He enjoyed most subjects and carved out a place “alwaysin the top six, but never actually at the top of the class.” The Englishclassroom was a proving ground for Gavin. Although he showed an aptitude forthe subject and was interested in it, the single ingredient that soured theexperience was the English Teacher. Gavin hated him, Then:98The Headmaster died.The English Teacher became Headmaster.And Gavin quit school.At age sixteen, the time when he would have entered Sixth Form to specializefor University entrance, Gavin abruptly left school to avoid studying under thatEnglish Teacher. Persuasive, cool and logical, he convinced everyone whomattered that he truly wished to quit school and become an accountant. Hefailed to convince himself but pride and determination pushed him down theoffice path. Although called up for Army duty at age 18, Gavin failed themedical due to a heart condition. He continued as an employee of BritishRailway Accounts Department. The time spent at British Railway wasn’t a totalloss. Gavin met Cynthia there”. However, after three years in training, Gavinleft accounting behind. Where he was headed wasn’t exactly clear. The briefrelationship he’d had with Cynthia, also employed by British Rail, was castaside in order to move ahead. Gavin was about to shift gears.The calculating Bolton weighed the options. Going into college without beingcommitted to a purpose seemed very risky to the young man who had justexited from a rash decision. How we like to think we are deciding the futurewhen we make a decision. Despite the fact that Gavin did not get along wellwith his brother, that they were not close and had not shared many interests,Cynthia recalls He came to work in the office where I was working, very large office,hard to imagine these days, with great big desks, high desks where you sat on both sides. Difficultto remember... he was thin, he was lively, talkative- he used his hands a lot. And it wasn’t a sortof meeting, it was just somebody from downstairs, you know, so there wasnt any big impact fromeither side. We must have known each other quite a bit before we actually went out for adate.. .then it was just an ongoing thing. In that first year, I suppose I was more in love than hewas.”99for some reason, Gavin felt secure in choosing to following Robert’s lead here.He went to the school for the Blind and Deaf where Robert was alreadyemployed,and took a residential post as an unqualified teacher, which was legalat the time. In the two years that followed, Gavin enjoyed working with specialneeds students, absorbing techniques in both areas. This teaching experiencewas sufficiently satisfactory for Gavin to consider teaching as a career.GB: So, I decided to train as a teacher. Whilst I was teaching(residential) I continued my interest in drama, but the odd thing is thatalthough I now know there were a fair number of avenues I could havegone along in teacher training to do with drama, it never occurred tome to link the two. And I saw my interest in drama as my hobby. Andthe thing about it ... this is one of the things that amazes me, there areall kinds ofprestigious theatre schools that I could have chosen and a)it never occurred to me; and b) it never occurred to anybody elseeither... so I... the only logic I followed was that my brother had gone toSheffield University in the Teacher Training department - and thatshould be what I did! It still never occurred to me to see myseif as adrama specialist. Drama, even fI was going to use it in teaching wasalways going to be on the side. So, the subjects I took at college wereEnglish, History and Math, because I was still very fond ofMath.Gavin excelled in his class. Probably the youngest member of the group, hehad what the others, many of whom were returning veterans, did not have: twoyears of practical teaching experience already behind him, and an attitude thatseemed to guarantee success.GB: I took it for granted that I must be a good teacher and I think Ichose the profession on that assumption. Perhaps it was because Ichose the wrong profession to begin with; it would have been a shock ifI had not been able to teach.Although now twenty-four years old, Gavin was not ready to move. In partbecause he felt responsibility towards his mother, he wanted to live at homeagain. The desire to live in Crewe restricted Gavin’s choice of teachingpositions. Trained in secondary education, Gavin discovered that the onlyavailable posting was in a primary school, but wanting to be at home, heLOUBolton, inspired by her positive attitude and good humour. Cynthia was waitingwhen Gavin returned.Within the first year of his new teaching career, Gavin and Cynthia weremarried. That day stands out as an important feature in Gavin’s adult life.GB: I can recall vividly the day I got married. It had an unusualfeature in that after the church service, all the guests had to go roundvia my house to be greeted by my mother, who was in bed, before wecould go on to the reception. For the honeymoon, Cynthia and I wentoff by train, no car in those days, to the furthest point I’d ever beenfrom where we lived which was just fifty miles away!Gavin had never experienced being an adult alone.Newlyweds - July, 1951.101As with many young couples, tight finances led to shared accommodation -with Mr. and Mrs. Bolton senior. The arrangement was to proveunsatisfactory, precipitating a move within the year.Primary school teaching experience would ultimately prove more useful thanGavin could have known at the time. The nurturing environment of the primaryschool had been an incubator for this fledgling teacher. A fatherly Headmasterwhose interest in drama and personal interest in his staff reaped positiveprofessional results, encouraged young Bolton to take the reins and throwhimself into school productions on a grand scale. Every class soon had Dramawith Mr. Bolton, the community was treated to huge shows every term underhis direction and it was “all very enjoyable” for two years. But it wasn’tenough. He had been content in Crewe, not needing more room for discovery.Finally, Gavin was determined to leave the ‘nest’ and seek any position thatwould take him away. He had outgrown his birthplace, and new horizonsbeckoned.102INTERVAL 5Thursday, March 16, 1995I look forward to today’s interview with Alan Cohen, probably Gavin’s closestfriend and also a former university colleague. He is as gregarious and warm asGavin and Cynthia have promised. It is clear he thinks the world of Gavin. Ifind the glimpse of Gavin’s university days fascinating. It seems he was both anenigma and an inspiration to his colleagues; but one who always stood firm inhis beliefs.I asked Gavin if he dressed formally for his university teaching. He proudlyreplied, “There was a tradition offormal dressing when Ifirst began - and Ibroke it!” (Is this the same Gavin whose friends tease him for spending toomuch money on clothes? the friends who call to ask, “and what will Gavin bewearing tonight?” before they meet on a social occasion?)After lunch and naps, Gavin and I head to the study for what we know will beour final hour of talk for the purpose of my study. The sun pours in on Gavin,surrounded by his books and papers, seated on the old wooden kitchen chairthat he finds most comfortable. I tuck myself into the corner on the little greyupholstered chair. We cover odds and ends, my last tape runs out. We keep ontalking and conclude by talking about the ‘Best’ experience Gavin ever hadteaching, and the ‘Most Successful’, which seemed an appropriate place to leaveour interview.We have tea with Cynthia, as has been the custom each day. Then at precisely1035:30, we leave for Durham to visit Marie Langley, a former M.A. student ofGavin’s. The timing again is important - in fact, when we arrive eight minutesearly, we sit in the car to wait until six o’clock, which is the appointed hour ofthe visit. In this case, Gavin is concerned about intruding on Marie, whomanages pain from a severe fall without drugs, and Gavin is afraid she mightbe resting. After introductions, Gavin leaves and heads for the library, but notbefore assuring Marie and me that he will return at exactly 6:45 so as not toovertire Marie. She laughingly protests, but of course, he is true to his word.Confined to a wheelchair because of her accident, Marie had to leave herteaching career and has found a way to be productive and help others bypublishing a series of booklets on Pain Self-Management. Her own search forwellness has been aided by close contact with Gavin, whom she views as aconstant friend and support. Marie credits Gavin with making a majordifference in her life, not only through his teaching, but also in his continuedcare and conscientiousness towards her.Our final evening together is spent over another beautifully prepared dinner anda bottle of wine. I am sorry to have it end. Now that the work is done, I wantto just relax and be on holiday! However, I know that the five days has beenright, for all of us.104MEDITATIONEDUCATION WRITTEN IN BIOGRAPHYHow do we know the lives of teachers?How do teachers know their own lives?Where can biography lead the researcher?How does biographical knowledge contribute to educational research?How can biography be rewritten?‘Who might be suitable subjects?How can the work of biography become a collaborative event between reader,subject and biographer?How can biographical research be used for education?***Why must we know the lives of teachers?***105Chapter VIGATESHEAD: NOWG.B.: I think I am anopportunist.., that I’m good atrecognizing signs of an opportunitycoming along and seizing it. I thinkthat may be true of my privatelife.., certainly true of myprofessional life.. .and that being so,it must also be true of my privatelife, although Ifind it more difficultto give examples from my privatelife. So, I seize the day, CarpeDiem... and enjoy it and experimentwith it and relish it and push itforward. Thañ it, I think.I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m working so hardbecause I’m short of time and I think to myseif twenty yearsago, I don’t think I was working this hard! I don’t think Ifeltunder the same pressure that I’m putting on mys4f now... thatodd isn’t it?Work is PlayAt home in the study106But he, his own affections’ counsellor,Is to himself - I will not say how true -But to himself so secret and so close,So far from sounding and discovery...Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet; I i 150-3The Life-long LearnerA Reader’2 of Durham University, with a long, distinguished internationalcareer behind him, Gavin Bolton retired from his university position in 1989,knowing that there was much he had left undone. It was impossible for Gavinto enter retirement ‘gracefully’, and equally impossible was the thought of acomplete retirement. Late in 1990, he found an appropriate challenge for histime when he invited Dorothy Heathcote to co-author a book on using Mantleof the Expert, her professional signature piece. While that work was ongoing,Gavin continued to accept teaching invitations around the world; one month inBudapest, the next in Vancouver. Still hungry to ask the questions that neededasking about his craft, to dig deeper, and to move forward, Gavin continued towrite articles reflecting on his experiences, offering his latest thinking to anywho were interested. Then, in 1993, Gavin, aware of a major gap in theliterature, turned his eye toward the past and began writing his fifth book, aHistory of Drama Education.It would be hard to name others who might be better qualified to tackle a12 Reader is a prestigious position bestowed upon professors of British universities accordingto merit.107project of such magnitude. Even in his early publications, Gavin had anhistorians sensitivity to the importance of the contributions of pioneers in thefield. He was the first to establish a tangible thread of continuity between thefirst glimmerings of creative play in the classroom and the later development ofthe approach which came to be known as drama in education. There was neverany question for Gavin that a debt was owed to the earlier work of people suchas Henry Caidwell Cook and Harriet Findlay Johnson. Fittingly, as he himselfmatured as drama teacher, his exploration brought him into close contact withsuch significant figures in the world of classroom drama as Peter Slade, BrianWay and Dorothy Heathcote. Future generations will no doubt include Boltonin this company, but he himself resists any notion of himself as an innovator.However, he has had more than a little to do with the advancement ofparticular philosophical stances regarding drama worldwide, and his owncontributions have been prolific.Two intriguing points can be made about the History book project. The firsthas to do with the role of the author. As a significant contributor to thedevelopment of drama in education, Bolton has earned a place in the History,having devoted the greater part of forty years to exploring, promoting andtirelessly developing the field. Despite this, he has decided not to directlyinclude his own work in the History, relying instead on the pioneers alreadymentioned. Something more than modesty is behind this. How can a legitimateHistory of educational drama in this century exclude its most prolific writer?Following his own definition of a ‘pionee? as, “someone who’s seen to make abreakthrough in practical teaching, somebody who writes about practical108teaching and someone who’c written about in practical teaching”, it is difficultnot to locate Gavin in the pioneer category. Nevertheless, he has chosen toremain distanced, as a passionate but detached observer, and this is in keepingwith his lifelong history of remaining on the periphery, determined to affordhimself the widest possible perspective whilst still being able to focus on thesmallest detail of importance.The second item of interest is in regard to the conditions under which Gavinhas placed himself to complete the book. Originally conceived as a long-termproject for publication, the intention changed when the hint of a suggestion bya former colleague spurred Gavin to consider writing it as a doctoraldissertation instead. So, once the book is finished, Gavin will have completedthe requirements for a PhD. What would cause him to seek the formality of thetitle, after his most distinguished career? Why would he choose to impose theacademic pressure on himself? In the preface to New Perspectives (1991) heclaims, “one of the reasons I have enjoyed writing this book is that I have notfelt bound by the rules of the ¶academic game’“; and in a later talk, “I’ve had afeeling in the writing I’ve done in recent years, I don’t care who sees this... andthe titles have become more and more flamboyant more metaphorical,arresting, I hope.” Both comments suggest a new-found sense of freedom - arelease into writing from the heart.Gavin’s explanation, when pressed, is that the rigorous demands of the degreewill force the standard of the work higher. However, there has never beenanything but the highest standard evident in his work. As John Allen (1994)109comments, “...he pursues his theory and practice, reading more widely,investigating more profoundly, than anyone else I have come across.” Moreeasily accepted perhaps, might be Gavin’s discomfort at having spent the majorpart of his career in a university setting, always striving (and assuming) “to bethe best at it.” Most of Gavin’s former students who have gone on to influenceeducational drama around the world have earned doctoral degrees. Ambition,pride and dedication to the field are summoned together to complete thisproj ect/obsession.Perhaps a further observation can shed light on Gavin’s pursuit of the doctoraldegree. Over the years that he spent at Durham University, Gavin diligentlybuilt his theory and practice in an atmosphere of semi-isolation. Initiallydisbelieving that drama education even had a place at the university level,Gavin “stayed apart from other colleagues, in case somehow they discoveredthat drama was not important enough or was flawed in some way...“; and thisreluctance to enter into the discourse had significant consequences for thedevelopment of drama in education. In retrospect, Gavin was in the idealposition to forge links with leading psychologists, philosophers andsociologists, bringing the centrality of drama to all their disciplines into theopen. Connections which might have been made, acknowledgement to thediscipline given, were missed. But this is far easier to see from this vantagepoint. Gavin felt awkward talking to people who were not teachers, interestedin drama in some way. He assumed that they knew what they were doing, thatit was only drama that was struggling to find an identity, a false assumption, ofcourse.110In hindsight, Gavin regrets not being more politically active in ‘selling’ dramato the public and the politicians, not just teachers:GB: Now, that is where I have been amiss.. .and I could have for twentyyears pushed hard in that direction and didn’t do so. If I had workedharder politically to sell the subject instead of merely working throughteachers who were interested f I had tackled all the other peoplelinked with education, then I could have achieved something that wouldhave put drama on a stronger footing. But I always avoided seeingmys4f as a political animal and I think that been a big mistake.Since he has remained mostly apolitical’3 throughout his life, it is not surprisingthat he neglected opportunities to strengthen drama’s shaky foothold. Dramaeducation in Britain today is limited by government policies and an uninformedpublic. A real need exists for drama to be made important to the public and toother educators before it vanishes from curriculum altogether. In some way, theHistory may be Gavin’s way of pushing for recognition of the outstanding workthat has been achieved in drama education.The Bridge PlayerGavin has another major obsession: playing bridge. Since taking up the gamewith Cynthia, a shared activity amongst their many individual pursuits, Gavinhas been a passionate player. Several hours per week are spent at the game in avariety of venues from large ballroom-size clubs, to an eightsome which wasoriginally formed by the Boltons. Notorious for his aggressive play, GavinGB: I’m not terribly interested in having a political ideology, so any strong feelings I havecome and go according to what the situation is. Thn fascinated by Marxist theory and it intriguesme, but that as near as I get to it, Somebody standing on the other side of the river lookingacross at the attraction on the other side. But that I get that far is an indication that In left-wing.And of course, in terms ofgovernment I absolutely loathe people like Margaret Thatcher...eversince she got in, I’ve suffered.111takes the game very seriously, noting, “I don’t have many regrets in l4fe, butone of them is that I didn’t start playing bridge earlier.” The appeal of thegame for Gavin is multi-faceted. It involves skilful reading on several levels:the reading of the cards according to their distribution amongst the other hands;the reading of opponents, and matching their playing policies with the possiblecards they are holding, Also, there is a competitive edge at the level of playGavin and Cynthia are now comfortable with, although Gavin points out: “it’snot the winning so much as setting a standardfor myseif that I don’t want tofall short of..it more to do with seU-esteem, knowing that you’ve donesomething well that you’ve pulled off something that was clever...”. Suchstandards are not always easy on a player’s partner, and Cynthia, asked todescribe Gavin as a bridge partner replied, “he can be a real b.. oh, I wasalmost going to swear; he can get me so mad sometimes?” Gavin readily admitsthat he is even willing to sacrifice domestic harmony when a game of bridge isat stake. He isn’t really part of a ‘team’ when he’s playing, and he clearlyexpresses his displeasure with what he sees as damaging strategies played byhis partner. Ever the lone wolf...Devotion to bridge has consumed life in the Bolton household to the pointwhere many weekends away are ‘bridge holidays’, rambles around Britain inorder to compete in enormous and intense tournaments. A winner’s trophy nowoccupies a prominent place in the sitting room; last year there were severalmore which have now been passed on to other winning competitors. The socialaspect of playing is also important to both Gavin and Cynthia, allowing themto keep a wide circle of friends and active involvement in the community. But,112Gavin’s reputation is legendary. As one who formerly fit into the category of‘friendly competition’, John O’Toole states, “I’d just like to mention the aspectof Gavin’s personality which I find most perplexing and which I cannot fit intoanything of the Gavin that I have known and worked with for years... and thatis his behaviour at the bridge tabl& He is a ferociously competitive player,ruthless...” Although Gavin competes mostly against himself at the bridge table,he places high demands on his partner. Fortunately, Cynthia more than meetsthe challenge.The VolunteerA distinct sideline to Gavin’s teaching career emerged during his tenure atDurham, and that was in his use of drama to effect change among psychiatricpatients. Once a week, over a period of about five years, Gavin, accompaniedby small groups of students, visited a nearby hospital to work with patients.Originally, the idea came from a therapist whose notion was that Gavin woulddo plays, but it soon became clear that Gavin’s manner of working was havingremarkable results with many individuals. Although the work was unpaid,Gavin became intrigued by the possibilities and limitations of such work,developing strategies that would elicit responses. Gavin’s current position as avolunteer counsellor seems a natural extension of his interests from this earlierperiod. In his position as volunteer, Gavin has fulfilled a personal need to giveof himself to others who are suffering.Both Gavin and Cynthia volunteer for an organization called ‘Victim Support’113which can demand anywhere from three to ten or more hours a week. Theorganization, staffed by volunteers, exists to support both adults and childrenwhose lives have been fractured in some way by a severe trauma, includingrobbery, murder, assault. Once connected with a client, there may be weekly orbi-weekly visits to deal with the recovery.In doing the work, Gavin has found a satisfying personal return from hiscontact with clients. An association with one man in particular, Malcolm, hasdeveloped into a kind of extended dialogue, an opportunity for both to exploreideas that arise from the therapy sessions. Mutual respect is the basis for thesuccess of this relationship. Gavin values Malcolm’s gift for metaphoricalthinking, finding in it a resonance similar to that of Dorothy Heathcote’s.It was immediately clear when Gavin began to tell me about Malcolm that hehad been moved by his contact with him. Because Gavin listens deeply, theearly conversations with Malcolm hinted to Gavin that here he would findvaluable dialogue; fresh insight. For Malcolm, with whom I had a longconversation, Gavin is a teacher, a man who can “recognize the truth insomebody...and never ever judges.” Interestingly, he views Gavin as a teacher,not because Gavin instructs him directly, but because Gavin embodies, in theirsessions together, the pedagogical philosophies that make learning happen even(or perhaps especially) when it is unexpected by the learner. Malcolm observes:He allows you to go on where you want to go.. .and he never everjudges. He’s like a torch, helping you to light your way. But that’sinanimate, not as good.. .if there was a place where all the answers were,that would be Gavin, a Wise Man, but once you thought you’d foundthe answers, it would get harder because he would show you that you’d114need to find them yourself.In an uncanny way, Malcolm, while talking about Gavin as counsellor, foundways to address Gavin in terms that would have been equally suited toreferring to Gavin as teacher. For example, Malcolm felt highly valued as anindividual by Gavin, never cut short or dismissed in any way. Even when hisown thoughts felt tangled, Malcolm trusted that when Gavin “...comes to athought he doesn’t understand, he will play with it.” While clearly there isgratitude in Malcolm’s impression of Gavin there is also deep understanding ofthe qualities which give Gavin an edge in the classroom. His compassion,integrity and courage registered sharply for Malcolm. In fact, Malcolm hadexplored some aspects of Gavin’s teaching out of curiosity, including watchingvideotapes of Gavin teaching. Although he has no background in education, hecould still make connections between the kind of work he was doing withGavin and the work the students were engaged in. At one point, when Gavinknew he would be away for several weeks, necessitating a break from theirregular meeting times, Gavin asked Malcolm to prepare a picture for hisreturn. The picture was to be a simple representation of how Malcolm sawhimself in his family. Reluctant to try it at first, Malcolm soon began to enjoythe shift of perspective he was able to gain by examining himself in this waythat allowed him to stand outside himself and yet still be in control of theevent. The picture became an elaborate, colourful depiction full of symbolismand rich detail about things that Malcolm could not address directly, but founda voice for through this other medium.When I mentioned to Malcolm that Gavin had consistently referred to thefl5‘luckiness’ of his own life, Malcolm firmly shook his head and corrected me.Thoroughly familiar with Gavin’s modesty, Malcolm was not prepared to letsuch a glib explanation pass for Gavin’s accomplishments:His courage he has always called luck. It’s the kind of courage thatwhen you see a rose, you’ll take it, no matter how many thorns it has init - no matter how much it rips your hands to shreds.Gavin’s objective for the clients he sees is basically the same no matter thespecific circumstance of their difficulty: to help them find, in their uniqueconnection to themselves, a connection to the larger human community.It would be a mistake to believe as Gavin seems to, that his successes havebeen due to circumstance and luck. The absence of his own sense of agency inhis telling of his life story is indicative of a selective memory, a case perhapsof the ‘Director’ controlling the events destined to be viewed by an audience.Gavin Bolton’s writing, which always explores his own teaching and learning,reve(a)ls far more in recounting failure than success. Willingness to holdprofessionally difficult moments up to the light has been one of his hallmarks;especially notable because until the mid-Eighties, there were no detailedcriticisms of his work being published. In essence, even though he cravedcriticism, it was not forthcoming and he tried to provide it himself. He wasforced to move ahead in his theoretical grasp of the nature of the field byrelying on his own self-reflexivity.In the MomentGB: I am at my happiest when I simply walk into my little study andwork at my word processor.116Retirement. Freedom. Time. So what does Gavin do?Nearly every morning, he slips into that little study. Not much bigger than agood-sized closet, but with a south-facing window to brighten it, the study is aprivate haven, his own corner of the world. It is understood that while he isthere he is not to be disturbed. Papers are stacked wall-to-wall on the floor; thedesk, table and filing cabinet are home to books open to pertinent sections, andstacks of others waiting; notepads filled with quotations and references areready for inserting into the latest project; what appears at first glance to be adisorderly chaos soon reveals itself as a place of readiness, for the work neverstops, it only suffers temporary interruption. On the wall: a L 970’s picture ofGavin with young students, and a picture of Andrew, probably age eight or so;both black and white.He is an avid reader, enjoying all kinds of novels, theoretical books oneducation, and currently, in conjunction with his History project, he isconcentrating on archival education texts. Gavin finds reading plays difficult,the dialogue is frustrating as dialogue. Ever the detective, Gavin is interested inthe potential of the subtext more than the scripted text. Instead of readingscripts in their entirety, he prefers short excerpts of scripted dialogue that hecan set a task to in a drama.In retirement, it is inevitable that big questions are asked, particularly by thosewhose work lives have been vigorous. When a person has identified so stronglywith the work that he can unflinchingly state, ‘My work is very much who I117am”, it is possible that the questions are intensified. Gavin has remainedinspired by the field of drama in education for forty years and continues todelve into interesting pockets of theory and practice, urged on by his “immensecuriosity.” Still, there is now a greater consciousness of age than ever before, aknowledge that the formal work is done and a pressing need to push further on,“trying to see a complete picture.” For Gavin the awareness centres around aperception of Being: “You begin to say: ‘What sort of age am ] who am Isupposed to BE now that I’m retired?” It seems that Gavin has sought answersto the questions by continuing to involve himself in active pursuit of the kindof work he most enjoys- writing and working with notions of drama.The ongoing dedication to the writing still provokes a resigned response fromCynthia, for it means that he is often “holed up in THAT room again” leavingher to maintain social contacts and keep up with her own activities forconsiderable blocks of time. The writing has always been an integralcomponent of Gavin’s academic career: never a chore and, during his tenure,not the pressurized prerequisite for academic advancement it has since become.The impetus to write grew out of the practice, not from academic ambition.Gavin notes that when he was awarded a senior lectureship and an accountingof articles was made, he substantially outstripped his colleagues, but he makesclear, it was “never with that intention.”The time Gavin has spent on his great passion for drama has had its effect onfamily relationships. The relationship between father and son is more strainedthan Gavin would like it to be, but it is difficult to turn back time. Andrew’s118family visits to Gavin and Cynthia are infrequent, which is disappointing forthem as grandparents and uncomfortable for all when the visits do occur.Although Gavin and Cynthia were thrilled to become grandparents, proximityto their two granddaughters is not easily arranged and they do not have asmuch contact as they would like. Ironically, Gavin and Cynthia are quite closeto the five nieces and nephews, children of Gavin’s brother. They have made asort of ‘favourite uncle’ figure out of Gavin, a role he relishes.Andrew Bolton is now an accomplished music teacher, and Cynthia points outthat recently, he and his father have enjoyed talking about their work together,a common ground for discussion and discovery. Discussing any personal issueis uncomfortable for Gavin; he is far more at ease with his professionalinterests than with emotionally-based discussions. [After reading this Gavinresponded: I may not choose to discuss personal issues - but not out ofdiscomfort]. It is easy to see how his connections with his son are strengthenedby their common professional backgrounds.Gavin does not hold sentimental views of his world. He is most concerned withpresent time in his own life. Paradoxically, a great deal of his work centres onhistorical time, seemingly in an attempt to make the past alive for students, butperhaps also a chance for him to capture a rootedness and connection to whathas been.GB: If at any point in my career or in my lfe or in my marriage you’dsaid ‘what is... have been, your happiest moments?’... the angwer’calways been NOW. Every, everything, every phase has somehow felt,this is it, this is right.., and that’s how retirement has been, for both ofus. We cannot think of anything that been better.119The eagerness with which Gavin embraces the present is equally matched bythe enthusiasm with which he discards the past. (What has survived in theBolton household are paintings by a much younger Andrew; still displayed withpride). Gavin was astonished to find the picture of himself with the YouthTheatre Group which opened this (re) telling of his story. Oddly, it hadsurvived several purges of ‘clutter’ deemed unnecessary by Gavin’4. And,although he was surprised to have found it, he did not allow his pleasure atseeing a very happy moment from his past to become sentimental. It wasimportant, he said, “because of what it reveals”, although as he studied theforty year old photo, I could see a nostalgic sparkle in his eye.Gavin often appears to be withholding his feelings from public view. Whetherconscious or not, his intense preoccupation with observing and absorbing hisimmediate circumstances leaves others guessing about his inner responses.Occasionally, while watching television, Cynthia has even prodded Gavin tolaugh at something he has, in actuality, been enjoying immensely, but appearsto be scowling at while he deciphers the techniques of the performer. Hisreluctance to be engaged in spontaneous emotional impulse can easily bemisread. It stems not from someone cold and unfeeling, but, paradoxically,from someone who feels and experiences even small, ordinary things,profoundly.14 Gavin is quick to discard his past, to move beyond remnants and reminders. He dwells asmuch as possible in the present. He does not keep a journal, old letters, or photographs. That a fewremain in an old shoe-box was a piece of luck for this biography. The only exception, which evensurprised Gavin, was a single letter from a fonner student. When I asked why that particular onehad been preserved, Gavin replied, “Because I think someday that person will be famous.”120Gavin notes a tendency in himself to become bored with successes. Hedispenses with the past and neglects aspects of his work that don’t appeal tohim, dwelling instead on areas which excite his energy. This has hadconsequences for his work in drama, creating blindspots which invite criticism.For example, although Gavin has been aware of the subject-specific vocabularyin drama education, he has not given much time to articulating usefuldefinitions for other educators. Similarly, although claiming an understandingof and empathy for the daily classroom requirements of regular teachers, he hasgiven short shrift to anything to do with assessment and evaluation. Despite thedisclaimer in the recent publication, New Perspectives(1992): “such neglectdoes not mean I have no ideas on the subject” there is a disappointingly limiteddiscussion of this pertinent contemporary educational issue in his work.Just as in his professional work Gavin avoids the less appealing (to him)aspects, in his home life he is likely to ignore such ‘chores’ as putting up ashelf, washing the car or writing thank-you letters, although he does most ofthe household cleaning, He calls on Cynthia, who is naturally handy, to fix thevacuum cleaner when it needs repair, to fasten the electrical plug to the wire,and to do all the gardening. The unusually high standards he holds for workand bridge collapse in front of less weighty responsibilities’Gavin seeks intensity from his life. He is not interested in second-rateperformances from himself or others. He willingly gives of himself more oftenliking than disliking someone, generously extending his time to those who needit, complying with professional requests to lecture, even when it would be121easier not to accept. It is difficult for Gavin to relax fully, to let go of therigorous, self-imposed need to “be the best” that has defined him sincechildhood. His passions have been more worldly than earthy. His chivalrousimages of ‘woman’ have held true. She is to be adored from a distance,gallantly flirted with and left forever, pure. While he may not be sentimental,this romantic notion of a distant love fits well with his role as the loner. Hiscastle has always been Cynthia’s, his quest ever knowledge. Those who haveglimpsed the spontaneous, fun-loving Gavin though, know the heartiness of hislaughter, his impish delight in a shared moment of humour, the mirth thatbubbles under the surface, (particularly merry on the infrequent occasions whenhe is slightly tipsy). Even his joy is intense, although not easily detected by anobserver. He personifies privacy, but needs a public world.122INTERVAL 6Friday, March 17, 1995Gavin is not good at sitting still when TIME is a factor, so we leave for thebus station one hour before my scheduled departure. It’s just as well, as Gavintakes the wrong bridge into town and we end up further away than expected.Again, he insists on carrying my bag to the check-in and then- we both don’tquite know what to say. So we hug and say nothing but “Thanks” and off hegoes.The journey back to London is momentous: heavy rain, sleet, gale-force windsand snow! I settle in for the trip with the Iris Murdoch novel Cynthia has givenme, one of her favourites.LondonWhen I finally return to the hotel, I take a moment to savour the week. For amoment, I enjoy the release from worry about everything going smoothly, andthe satisfaction of knowing that this phase is complete with only the final legahead. For five days I have been privileged by the proximity I have had to mysubject. I recognize now that the time signifies a much deeper meaning than Icould have imagined before experiencing it. I left Canada not knowing what Iwanted to know, trusting that my instinct would guide my choices and it did.Whatever it has been, cannot be changed. I would not change it if I could.123MEDITATIONPERSONAL PEDAGOGY: WRITING a CREDOFinding a way to teach is the most prolonged professional journey.How does a teacher come to discover the kind of teaching that is personallysignificant, and further, having an inkling of what and how that teacher mightbe, how does a teacher go about integrating the deeper felt, intuitive self intothe rigidity of systematized education?What shapes us as teachers? Significant events? Childhood passions? Adultdreams? Family background? Former teachers?Are there particular qualities recognizable as unique to teachers?124Chapter VIIA PLACE OF PEDAGOGYKnowing where we come from in our pedagogical practice isn’t always easy.Sometimes we can identify a particular teacher whose style we wish toemulate. Perhaps we have experienced a personal struggle which has beenovercome in our own learning that makes us want to help students with similardifficulties. Maybe somewhere in the past, a teacher or friend recognized the‘teacher’ in us and named it, so we, too, could recognize it and carry it to newplaces. Only one thing is certain about teaching: when we find the place wherewho we are and where we are become synchronous, pedagogy becomes alifestyle, not a practice.The learning that is shared between teachers is not often acknowledged soopenly as the exchange between Gavin Bolton and Dorothy Heathcote hasbeen. It might appear that the ideas have flown more freely from one than theother, Bolton more often on the receiving end. He has always regarded her ashis mentor. But, for a period in their respective careers, these two uniquepractitioners consciously influenced each other. There were things to be gainedon both sides. Dorothy Heathcote describes their working relationship ascharacterized by the different challenges they’ve thrown out to each other, ahabit which developed early on and still continues; not really competitive, butstimulating. Gavin has the sharp analytical skills which detect Heathcote’slabyrinthine strategizing; Dorothy possesses the metaphorical mind whichintrigues Bolton and inspires his deeper study.125Heathcote has always been more comfortable in the role of maverick, confidentin her intuition, unconcerned about whether or not anyone else understood whatshe was doing. Bolton, conservative and a historian at heart, has left a trail.The task has fallen to Bolton to articulate what both of them believed to be‘right’ about the work, to find the drama in learning.I have compiled, edited and reconstructed the two monologues which followfrom interviews with Bolton and Heathcote. Although earlier in their careersboth of them have written about their impressions of the other elsewhere, theseviews are recent, recorded during the last year. I think a shift in perspective hascome for both of them with the distance of time. The words are their own, thestructure imposed. The reader might discover that much is revealed about eachspeaker as they talk about the other.L]Friends and ColleaguesGavin Bolton and Dorothy HeathcoteMarch, 1995126Bolton on HeathcoteDorothy has taught me so much about how to work with children that it wouldbed4fflcult to know where to begin. Some of the conceptions that she sharedwith me that changed my whole professional style of teaching include thingslike: creating drama with the whole class; taking risks - to start things off notknowing where they’re going to go; the use of teacher in role; and she taughtme a seriousness.., how to adopt a seriousness in drama-making which at thetime was very useful but I think has become too much of a posture amongdrama teachers and a little bit of relaxation should have been retained in myview. I mean, Dorothy’c whole demeanour is so serious in the doing of thedrama, everything taken so seriously, nobody allowed for one moment to beflippant. This impressed me and I adopted it and used it and it was only asyears went by that I realized it had been overdone.Early on, Dorothy and I set ourselves the task of attending whateverconferences were going on in drama, and we’d watch Peter Slade and BrianWay work. But she also hid herseif under a bushel all the time! I knew peoplearound England who were interested in drama, but she didn’t and they didn’tknow her. I would go to a conference and mention Dorothy Heathcote andthey’d say WHO?So I brought her out!! I used to insist that she attend conferences with me.. .1used to drive her around... and she didn’t really fit in. I think she felt she wasunder some obligation to please me and go along. And people didn’t like her.She was too strange... talked a dfferent language.I once wrote a short paper and it included a summary of how I saw DorothyHeathcote approach to teaching drama which didn’t please her too much, Irealized afterwards, because she said she’d read it. Subsequently I realizedTHAT was very unusual and she said she’d read it and it was so good shewished SHE’D written it. It was then I realized that at that stage, Dorothy hadnot put anything on paper that could be satisfactorily understood. I think sherecognized that what I was saying was true to her wor& but I think she wouldhave preferred to be the one writing it at that moment. But I didn’t see it thatway, I just knew there was something not quite right in her reaction.Perhaps most interesting in my developments are the periods Pve gone throughsince meeting Dorothy. Fortunately, we moved away from the ‘gut-level’ whichwas virtually impossible for teachers. I think the way Dorothy and I went aboutteaching this new approach to drama did a lot of harm.I’ve just examined a doctoral thesis where the writer talked about the influenceofDorothy Heathcote, Augusto Boal and Brecht as the three dynamic teachersof the twentieth century. You know... Dorothy would never read a book oneducation.. .or never read a book that somebody written on drama education.If I write a book I send her a copy and I know she’s not going to read it...she’llsay things like “I passed it on to Marianne” (her daughter).127Now, of course, I have this astonishing position’5of recognizing in anunqualfied way, the strength of Dorothy’s Mantle of the Expert approach;seeing it as the way of teaching for the future, whilst remaining uncomfortableusing it as a method mysef All my professional life, anything I’ve said thatshould be done, I’ve been able to stand up and be counted and say “I will showyou how to do it.” So with my heaa’ I’m recognizing that it (Mantle of theExpert) should be the basis of all teacher training, with my heart I’m keepingquiet about it!Dorothy and I took to each other straight away. I think she was looking for asoulmate. Meeting her was the luckiest moment of my professional life.Heathcote on BoltonI had a friend, in Durham she was called Mary Robson. . . and she said, “There’sa new Drama Advisor - why don’t we have him over?” So Gavin came with hisson who was then about two and with Cynthia for tea. Andrew was trundling alittle bus along the corridor and I walked in and I had a very bad cold andthere was Gavin. I remember thinking, “Right, the thing to do here is now tosay, “why don’t we go into a school together?” and so I said “Would you liketo go to a school together and I’ll teach a class and you’ll teach a class and hesaid, “YES!”So the very next week, Gavin and I sail into a school and it was decided thatGavin would teach first and I would teach second and I knew from thebeginning , I mean I knew right from the very first that here was a person thatwas worth contending with. And I mean that in a positive way and there’snever been a patronage either way.But he started teaching and he was going through exercises, lying on the floorrelaxing and I thought, “Oh, this is it! I either say nothing and we’re off on thewrong foot forever, or I say “What the hell are you doing?” and I knew I hadto do that. So, we talked at playtime and he was quite pleased the way thechildren had behaved. He said, “Well?”And I said,”Why did they have to lie on the floor?and he said, “ Well, I wanted them to get relaxed.”and I said, “Why did you want them to get relaxed?”and he said, “Well, I think it’s a good way to get them started.”and I said, “Well, I think it’s a STUPID way to get them started. I think it’snonsense!”and that stubborn wall comes up, it still does happen you know.So he said, “Well, let’s see...”And so I went straight into the energy they’d brought in - red cheeks and bushytails, so I began with red cheeks and bushy tails, you see.That was our first lesson together and we went away quite thoughtful. Him15 Gavm recently co-authored Drama for 1earnm:Dorothy Heathcote s Mantle of the Expertapproach to education. Heinemann, 1995.128more than me, because he’d be thinking, digesting, sorting out what he wouldkeep. And I was thinking, “I know I’m right.” That’s the way I am.I’ve always been very intrigued by where Gavin is, because he’s moved in andout of what I’d call neat layers of development. I don’t mean without inspirationand new thoughts, he’s always getting a new thought. So that’s how we met.I might refine, but I don’t think I’ve ever changed, but with Gavin, his changesare like layers of silt and soil from the early sun; whereas mine is a vortex, acauldron.. .1 see his layers and layers slowly built up with rockbottomtheoretical understanding. My theory is always flying in at one ear all the timeand being churned around, joining up in some vague way but only affirmingwhat I knew for years... which is absolute arrogance, of course.We don’t meet socially, we always meet when we have some reason formeeting, but it’s a warm friendship when we’re at it. I wouldn’t be interested togo and have coffee with him regularly unless we had a reason. Because in away, I carry him around anyway, you know he’s just up the road, and he’s justhere (patting shoulder). Like most people you’re concerned with, you knowthey’re only just there...When he does come about something, it’s always THAT interesting - Right,come on then, I’m going to take you on again.., and I know that he’ll tidy mywriting and he doesn’t do a bad job, but he doesn’t get me. But I don’t mindbecause I don’t care about books like that...He’s a very practical man...I’ve always loved teaching with him...He’s constantly experimenting...He’ll have obsessions - “Why does that work?”Gavin is so open to other people’s ideas that he can hear what they are saying...Gavin doesn’t blame, never blames...He is total attention - watching, rationalizing, understanding, comprehending,considering...I think he’s enormously warm and kind. He’s been such a joy to work with.He really cares about his ideals for learning.. .you know, his writing will beremembered and he’ll leave a much clearer vision and mark which is generous,whereas a lot of people will only leave ungenerous.. .If you think of a footprintin the sand, I think Gavin’s will go forward, whereas I will become a myth.They’ll probably have a notion there was once this really unusual teacher whomaybe thought she was God, or a bit guru-ish; nobody can be her again,129nobody can do what she did... But I don’t think there’ll be a sort of consideringof what I tried to say.. .Now Gavin always says, and he says at the end of ourbook, “She’s a teacher that is ahead of her time” and I think he’s right, I think Iam; but it’s no good being ahead. So, maybe Gavin’s PhD will leave the oddfootprint that might be possible for people to follow, to know...Anyone who has studied with Gavin Bolton or has been a colleague, or anobserver, will have seen a Master teacher at work. All would agree that heachieves his goals effectively, even if they might disagree with the objectivesand approach. Yet, my hunch is that Gavin is not a ‘natural’ teacher.He has had to ‘learn’ what teaching is to him. By testing his thinking over time,evaluating techniques, devising strategies; analyzing experience, and writing hehas forged a theory that is grounded in the most practical terms: the life of theclassroom. It is important, I think, to reiterate that his theory has emerged fromhis knowledge of classroom practice. He has been there. He knows it. Theschool culture is part of his experience. He has designed a theory and practiceof drama education that reflects his own need for personal distance, which,paradoxically, is the very thing that allows students the safety to probe deeplyinto important issues.It has been said by some observers of Bolton and Heathcote that he has alwaysplayed ‘second fiddle’ to Dorothy. Early on, while he was actively in a state ofinquiry about her work it may have appeared that he simply mirrored what heunderstood about Heathcote’s practice. I think it would be false, however, to130assume that the range and direction of Bolton’s work has been dictated byHeathcote’s - their respective contributions are distinct in theory and practice.Conversely, many people would consider Dorothy Heathcote a ‘natural teacher’because her approach, although tested in the classroom experience, relies to agreat extent on her trust in herself her knowing, her intuition. Dorothy andGavin have complementary but vastly different styles of thinking. Dorothy doesnot have the ingrained reflex of day-to-day instruction and school systemrealities that Gavin does. Perhaps this is partly responsible for the frequentreaction teachers have when considering both Heathcote and Bolton - thatHeathcote is magical, but Bolton is practical. Gavin recalls someone oncesaying, “I watch Dorothy Heathcote teach and think, ‘How wonderful, I couldnever do that.’ And you watch Gavin Bolton teach and think, ‘Ah that’sinteresting, I could do that!” which prompted Gavin to comment:It may be that I’ve made a dfferent approach, from the traditionalteaching of theatre accessible to teachers, accessible in practical termsand in some theoretical terms. So f I’ve been influential at all that theline of influence, I thinkTeachers are seldom rewarded for their pedagogical expertise aside from theintrinsic rewards of the classroom. Many would be unable to articulate astatement which could sum up their philosophy toward education and theirprofession. Gavin Bolton’s pedagogical credo: to always dig deeper, containsthe kernel of all his work. In helping to reveal the underlying subtext of humanevents to students, he propels them toward a connection with the world andtheir own humanity. Bolton’s style, strategies and jargon may have changed butthe pedagogical purpose has been constant. Each participant in drama deserves131to examine their own beliefs in the light of the broadest socio-cultural contextthey can manage.132INTERVAL 7March 21, 1995Vancouver, B.C., CanadaWhen I arrived yesterday at the airport, I was overwhelmed with the deep joy Ifeel each time I return to Vancouver. The air, the colours, the expanse of oceanpull and hold me to this geography. Of course, I appreciate it even more bycontrasting it with the grimy, chaotic density of the London I have just leftbehind.I position myself in front of the computer in anticipation. Will the words nowcome as they must? How do I give the reader a glimpse of the week I have justspent with Gavin? I don’t feel panic. I must trust that the ideas I have aboutGavin and his life stories will appear as I write. The task must be taken insmall chunks. I will write every day for a month. I promise not to censor mywords. I will not play editor before I have let my thoughts spill onto the page.My goal will be one thousand words each day. My place of writing willbecome my haven. I must dwell in the writer’s space with pleasure.133Chapter VIIIGEO/GRAPHIC: AN INTERNATIONAL PROFILEIn 1991, Gavin Bolton, as Keynote speaker, addressed the British ColumbiaDrama Educators Annual Conference with a paper which began “As I waswalking on Wreck Beach...” and of course with the actor’s skill he possesses,paused appropriately for the wave of laughter that engulfed the audience. Thepaper, concerned with what drama teachers need to look at in the classroom,invited teachers to question the ways drama is used in the classroom. WreckBeach is a ‘nude’ beach. Bolton’s suggestion that in an effort to look betweenthe bodies in an attempt to avoid meaningful awareness, a great deal is lost,was apt for the audience that day. It also demonstrated a sense of theconnection between the body and space and the direct impact that relationshipcan have on how new understandings are written into experience.Bolton was invited to Lesotho, Southern Africa in L 969. For the first time, agroup of teachers outside Britain would hear about this approach to drama ineducation. Over the next three decades the drive to make his work internationalin scope would take Bolton to more than a dozen countries. Two or three timesa year Gavin would leave England to lecture and give workshops, often six toeight weeks at a time.Repeat visits were made to many countries, but he has forged strongeraffiliations in some places than others. Where interest in the work has beenhighest, new generations of educators have opted to continue exploring the134work, making it the basis for their university teacher training programs.(Ironically, while the ‘torch’ illuminating drama in education was taken up byscholars around the world, in Britain, the depressed economy and governmentpolicies in education were snuffing out any real chance to advance the work inEnglish classrooms. A back-to-basics philosophy, coupled with the reality of anunskilled labour force means that the arts in general and drama in particularhave been marginalized).Nevertheless, there can be no question that his influence has been felt aroundthe globe. In 1975, he received the Phi Beta Award from the American TheatreAssociation bestowed on those who make outstanding contributions toChildren’s Theatre. He is in constant demand as a Keynote Speaker at majorinternational conferences. Perhaps most telling, his work is still the cornerstonearound which the work of many educators is centred, as well as the sparkwhich ignites controversy in the professional journals of the field.Contrasting SitesDuring the last quarter century, Bolton’s visiting lecture appointments andkeynote speaking engagements have taken him to South Africa, Canada, theUnited States, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Iceland, Finland, Israel,Germany, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and Italy. Each visit has sifted its ownlayer of understanding onto the existing layers of Bolton’s knowledge. Eachnew place has opened up vistas of possibility for hundreds of teachers andBolton as well. It would be true to say that in each location, some have resisted135the work and some have embraced it. This has meant an ongoing, public andpassionate dialogue about what it means to use drama in classrooms. This iswhat has pushed the work beyond itself. Teaching is about moving further.Toronto, OntarioCanadaGavin first visited Toronto, Ontario, in 1972, at the invitation of John andJuliana Saxton. It was the beginning of a longlasting relationship betweenGavin and Canadian teachers that Gavin recalls commenced with a very funnyincident:GB: The man who invited me wanted to vet me first and come over andhis name was John Saxton. He was staying in a first class hotel inNewcastle and I was to meet him there. I remember being early in thefoyer watching people come out of the lfi wondering which one wasgoing to be he; suddenly this very big man with huge check trousers,vivid check trousers, stepped out, and I thought OI-I I hope it notgoing to be him and of course it was! And I had this picture of takinghim around school; it wasn’t a piece offantasy on my part because thevery first school we arrived at, we arrived at playtime when theschoolground was full of children. And every child on that playgroundstopped playing and fell silent as I walked through the yard with thesecheck trousers!The first of several visits there in the seventies, he would return to Ontario andBritish Columbia many times. At the University of Toronto, he found asoulmate in North Morgan, who was teaching in the Faculty of Education. Soprecious was the working relationship and friendship shared by Gavin andNorah that he dedicated his first book to her. (I wondered momentarily, howthat had felt to Cynthia). They valued each other for the clarity of thought andintegrity each brought to the work. North recalls:He visited me at our home in the country at weekends after the courses136finished. We sat in the sun and talked about ‘work’. He spoke of hisfailures in Toronto that summer, never his successes, but during thereflections, he showed me what he had learned from those failures. Hetaught me to reflect critically and honestly on my work.In North, Gavin found a warm and intelligent teacher with whom an instantbond was created which flourishes still. Mutual friend and colleague JulianaSaxton winks and says it has something to do with their both being English?Hours were spent “sitting on her balcony or by her pool, hammering out aconcept of drama education.”(During my visit to England, a recent picture of North’s husband andgrandson is retrieved from amongst the very few photos that Gavinkeeps. They are heading out in the sunshine to cut the grass - carryingscythes!)It is difficult to tell where any single influence will lead in a teacher’s life. InNorah’s case, belief in the work she has explored with Gavin has onlyintensified over the years, leading to her long distance, successful collaborationwith Juliana Saxton on several informative texts for teachers.There appears to be a distinct correlation between one’s conception of educationin general, and the degree to which Gavin Bolton’s approach to drama can beembraced. If the philosophical thrust is towards a critical pedagogy, aiming toempower, seek equality and collaboration, then Bolton’s work provides achallenging model. If, on the other hand, the desired outcome is productoriented, his theories may appear to be too ambiguous and mystifying. In themost general terms however, teacher education programs in some parts ofCanada, predominantly British Columbia and Ontario, have paid close attentionto Bolton’s work, merging his theoretical foundations with their own practicalapplications.137LesothoSouthern AfricaThe luxury of using education solely for entertainment is not feasible,appropriate or possible in South Africa. According to Esther van Ryswyk(1995):So significant was Gavin’s contribution to the conference (1980), and tothe development of educational drama in South Africa that the timebefore Gavin’s visit is still referred to as ‘the pre-Bolton era’.Alternatively, people discuss the 1980 conference as ‘the Boltonexperience’. Without doubt, the work and influence of Gavin Bolton onthe thinking, understanding and practical implementation of educationaldrama and theatre was a watershed in the history of education in thiscountry.It seems that no matter where Gavin has gone, certain groups are ready tograsp the full range of what he is offering and others are not. There is no bigleap to be made inorder to see how South African teachers, aiming to makesteps towards ending Apartheid, could interpret Bolton’s approach as “a way tobring about a change in understanding in the hearts of South African people ona political level” (van Ryswck, 1995). Lesotho holds a special place in Gavin’smemory:GB: This was my first time in any other country! It widened my vision ofthe woHcl, made me conscious of apartheid as I had to pass throughJohannesburg. My lessons related to the school textbooks on learningthe English language (compulsory and old-fashioned) so I tried toteach how they might dramatise the recitation ofphrases. With theteachers I did “What shall we make up a play about?“; when they chose‘witches’ I did not at first appreciate that this was for them very realand taboo- the school inspectors watching got very hot under thecollar especially when the participants chose to be ‘witches that dancednaked in the forest at night”!It is inspiring to see the long-term effect that one man’s ideas can have ongenerations of students and teachers. As van Ryswyk notes:Now we have our first democratically elected government. Now, as138before, there is much work to be done. SAADYT (South AfricanAssociation for Drama and Youth Theatre) members, some of whom goback in their knowledge and experience of drama as far as the very firstcontact with Gavin and most of whom have wrestled with his theoriesand practices in their own contexts for years, are now in positions ofauthority and influence. They are involved in setting up national artseducation policies, and Gavin’s influence can therefore be felt at theheart of the emerging new drama syllabi.The travelling has also had some effect in reverse, for naturally, Gavin hasbeen shaped by his exposure to new cultures, new values, new artisticmotivations, different educational settings and agendas. Gavin demonstrates anawareness of world issues in his work, although they are not a focus, anegligence for which he has been criticised. His sensitivity to the immediatesetting in which he is teaching is also evident in the work he does. Gavinwould be the first to perceive a group’s discomfort with an idea and would beable to turn it to a teaching opportunity, whether the discomfort was language-based, cultural, or artistic.Exposure to an international stage has put Gavin in contact with some oftoday’s most influential practitioners in theatre and education. Gavin was aparticipant in the first English speaking group that Augusto Boal wascontracted to teach. He has observed and participated in several Boalworkshops over the years, and has a critical admiration of his work. AlthoughBolton values the imaginative approach that Boal employs, he is less keen onthe heavy emphasis given to games, and the seeming lack of effort on Boal’spart to adapt the contextual roots of Forum Theatre16 to other foreign audiences.BoaPs technique of Forum Theatre was devised to empower South American peasants withpolitical awareness and to arm them with an active tool of resistance.139Further, Bolton sees Boal as being uninterested in the work of anyone else(similarly, Dorothy Heathcote), a position which, in Gavin’s opinion, isuntenable.Despite Bolton’s good intentions, sincerity and total attention to the moment, itis still virtually impossible to forget that here is a privileged, highly educated,white male whose every utterance proclaims the Queen’s English and a set ofvalues that is embedded deeply in his life. Every time Bolton arrives at a newlocation, a whole set of expectations about his demeanour and character havealready been determined. People expect a VIP with the stature of aninternational scholar. It isn’t necessarily a clash of cultures, simply that theremust always be some distance between the students and the teacher because ofthe places in which their experiences have been written’7.To some considerableextent, Gavin can overcome the shortfall because of his acute attentiveness andability to read the students with whom he is working. There may also be apossibility that the age difference that now exists between Gavin and students(adult and child alike) could contribute to slightly awkward interactions. Agecan have a distancing effect, both sides feeling the other slightly ‘out of touch’.The barrier reflects another instance where Gavin has chosen to remain slightlyremoved from a deep connection. Granted, present day classroom teachers arewell aware of a new and brasher student who plays the school game by adifferent set of rules, more difficult to reach, more resistant to connection.17 Observers of Gavin and Dorothy at work in the North of England have commented thatthere is no sense of this kind of barrier as teachers and students share the same geographicexperience. Ironically, Bolton at least, seems to have had a greater influence around the world thanin his own immediate vicinity.140Still, in the end, drama seems able to create the bridge that can transcend age,culture and experience.141iNTERVAL 8April 15, 1995Bowen Island, B.C., CanadaIt is Easter weekend. We have sailed over to Bowen to spend three days awayfrom routines and the city. I am caught by the double bind of this excursion: Iwant my husband and son to enjoy this long weekend, all of us together,playing; on the other hand, I want, need to keep working on Gavin’s stories, asa day away breaks my rhythm of thinking and writing. It throws me a bit, and Ifeel quite protective of my status at the moment. So, we compromised. I agreedto go sailing, as long as I could work in the mornings while Albert and Ericexplored. Thank goodness for technology; we borrowed a laptop and were off.Surprisingly, as I sit here at the salon table, the warm sun pouring down thecompanionway, prepared to resent the fact that the other two are off having agood time, I realize that I am enjoying this. I can’t leave Gavin behind, so he’shere on disk and I am here on a holiday, content to be in my various worlds atonce.The work is progressing at a satisfactory pace, although I’m not sure yetwhether I’ll meet my goal of 35,000 words by the end of the month.. Nor do Iknow exactly what form the stories will take in the final text. Still, I sense thatit will work itself out, and I now know that the less I worry about it, the moreeasily the imagination compensates the process.142Chapter IXA FUTURE STORYLate afternoon, with Cynthia, in the lounge.U: Tell me about the Gavin Bolton you know.CB: That’s awfully difficult to say because ther&s so many facets. There’s theambitious Gavin...! knew Gavin would do what he needed to do because he hasthat driving force and that singlemindedness of purpose. He lives for his workstill and has always done that. Still doing it actually, still living for his work.It’s so important. And it doesn’t matter what Gavin is doing; if it’s somethingthat he’s chosen to do. It’s got to be good and it’s got to be right.I think on the sidelines that other things get forgotten and discarded. Doesn’ttalk about anything much apart from work because that’s so important...At Home NowGavin and Cynthia BoltonMarch, 1995143U: What’s that like to live with for 43 years?CB: Ahhh. Difficult at times, and difficult for Andrew to have a successfulfather, one with a powerful driving force. It h been difficult, I don’t think it isnow. I think, over the years Andrew has found it hard to live up to. I thinkGavin’s tried to do his best as a father, but I think there have been times whenhe’s just not been there for Andrew.They’re closer now than they have been for a long time because Andrew likesto talk about his own work (teaching) and how things are going. But then,Gavin was never close to his father, very close to his mother. Tremendousrelationship there. But not with his father. I suppose it’s a pattern that repeatsitself.***A pattern repeats itself.A story gets retold.A life layers pattern over pattern, creating a unique design.[Gavin replied: .. .we just cannot recognise that kind ofparallel in thefather/son relationships.](A)Lone.best men are molded out of faults,And, for the most. become much more the betterfor being a little bad.Shakespeare, Measure for Measure; V i 442-44I think most often we are unaware of the patterns we repeat. Coincidence mayanswer for some visible patterns in Gavin’s life. He has been comfortable withstanding on his own since early childhood. Encouraged by his parents toexplore, get involved and be active, he ultimately chose a career that wouldensure his contact with people. Paradoxically, it also became a career thatafforded great individuality, privacy and individualistic pursuit. Gavin hassought professional distance; his allegiance has been to his own exploration ofthe craft of drama. By working solely with graduate students, at least in later144years, he ensured that he would be involved with committed, stimulatingpeople. Fortunately, the demands on Gavin’s time and focus were accepted andsupported at home.Each move to a new location has been the answer to another piece of thepuzzle that Gavin set out to find for himself and each new place offered theright environment for discovery. At the same time, each locale has been moreand more remote - distanced from large centres (and one might add,interference). What might have happened had Gavin gone to London instead ofPreston?GB: Circumstances never allow you to change, and that puts you in anew route, so you never finish up... but fI had the choice again, Iwould go to theatre school to train.., and that it never entered myhead...If I could change anything, perhaps I would come to America andtake a directors course.A director’s life, for all its contact with people and with each aspect ofproduction, is a solitary life. A director must be comfortable making toughdecisions, owning a vision that others may or may not care for, bringing thevision to life. Still, evidence of the Gavin who is Director is prominent in hiswork and in his life. It is odd that at the time when he was at his mostpromising and fulfilled moments as a director, via the Youth Theatre, he choseto leave it behind to pursue an administrative path. At the time when he couldhave been most supportive of classroom teachers in his position as a DramaAdvisor, he shifted to academia, repeating the earlier pattern which continuedto ever-widen his sphere of influence. It was not until Gavin felt that he hadreached the outer radius of the sphere that he could consolidate his theory inbooks through his practice, teaching small and select groups of graduate145students.Gavin knew a life of single-ness as a child. Distanced from his mother becauseshe could not participate actively in his life, he found the world of imaginationto fill the void. While they were close emotionally, he separated his life fromhers when he finally left Crewe, now married, at age twenty-five. His father,remembered by Gavin as the ‘Dour Scot’, left no lasting impression beyond hisdesire for a better education for his children. In fact, Robert Bolton remained amystery to his family even after death; Gavin and Cynthia were startled by thecrowd of friends gathered at his funeral in Wales. Gavin’s brother, being sixyears older, has been somewhat a stranger to him all his life.In this context, becoming ‘the historian’ may Gavin’s answer to finding aconnection through the history of drama to ground his own life in a ‘family’ ofsorts. He had no influential adult relationship with anyone in his extendedfamily, knowing only one of his grandparents with any intimacy, and a warmacquaintance with a spinster aunt. Perhaps the state of alone-ness benefitedGavin in his resolve to ‘dig deeper’ into the mysteries of drama education, asubject whose essence is human connection.While he may be a loner by nature, Gavin has nurtured some close friendships,with both men and women; the duration of some which surprises him. To anoutsider, though, even Gavin’s closest relationships have a reserved appearance,a formality, a measured quality. Gavin feels that Cynthia has had the mostinfluence on him; certainly she has been the constant of his life. He reflects on146their life together with a touch of gratitude and respect:G.B:She makes sure I don’t take myself too seriously, and allows me tobe me. She’s taught me how to be both dependent and independent inmarriage, which is something that I’m proud of. We share a lot, evenwhen we go our different ways because of our different interests, andwe still come back and listen to each other and share the differentexperiences.Of course, not many people know Gavin as intimately as Cynthia in arelationship forged from time and shared experience, but under the rightconditions, his generosity, playfulness and, one guesses, deep loyalty, areabundant, accessible and can be earned.He admits to a fascination at every stage in his life with women. He’s beenable to adore them from a distance, enjoying the mystery of the unknowable.Despite his reserve, he might occasionally be perceived as flirtatious, althoughhis own code of propriety holds a tight rein on his actions. Gavin fondly (Ithink) recalls a young mathematics teacher from his grammar school dayswhom he revered so passionately that he used to stand outside her househoping to see her; even dragging a friend along for company). The ideal ofRomantic Love with none of the encumbrances of uncomfortable reality hasalways appealed to Gavin. His infatuations along the way have met withtolerance from Cynthia, from whom Gavin did not keep them secret. There isan element of reserve in the expression of his affection which reveals theconscious effort he sometimes seems to make to push himself toward a warmhug or an easy grin. Once earned though, the warmth is steadfast. He does not‘suffer fools gladly’ as I was told more than once, and that is to do with acertain impatience along with the need for things to be ‘right’.147A LIFE STORY: A LOVE STORYAt some point in the study of a life, the biographer relies on intuition to makesense of certain aspects of the subject’s life. By the time the subject becomesfamiliar, the biographer feels confident enough to ask the questions that willhelp to deepen the experience of knowing the subject for both the writer andthe reader. It is anticipating the tenuousness of the journey that can free thebiographer to rely on their own reading of the subject. Biographers must learnto trust instinct, to bring intuition to the surface over logic, to celebrate theambiguity of the task. I had a question at the back of my mind from thebeginning of my study of Gavin Bolton, about a particular piece of text that hehas used with great success. When I first encountered the short narrative, I wasintrigued by its simplicity, brevity and utter poignancy. As I began to knowmore about Gavin Bolton, the story itself seemed to take on a role of fargreater significance; hidden personal meanings that might not even haveoccurred to Gavin, but that rang out loudly in the context of his life, as seenfrom my vantage point. The story is:This is a love story.Once upon a timeThere was a young man who loved his mother.He fell in love with a girlAnd asked her to marry him.She said she would marry himIf he would bring her the heart of his mother.So he killed his mother and cut out her heart.He carried it to the girlbut on the way he stumbled and fell.And the heart of his mother cried,”Are you hurt my son?”That is a story about love.(source unknown’8)18 Although it must be traceable to someone and I’d like to know...L48The story never fails to evoke a strong response from participants who meet itin a drama classroom and explore its richness through a dramaticdeconstruction. It is a powerful, evocative narrative that clearly exemplifies thepostmodern notion of intertextuality. In reading the story, I connect/reflect myown experience on many levels: as child; mother; once-young-woman whocaptured mothers’ sons. I also see it as teacher: what richness the text mightprovide the impoverished television-generation I teach. I now see it asbiographer: a place where textuality, life story and fiction intersect for thissubject.Through a strategy which denies individuals the usual dependence on voice,movement and facial expression in their interpretation and performance,participants in groups of three or four unpack the story word by word. Theobjective is a performance told symbolically through gesture accompanied bynarration from a seated position. Already, students are aware of a disruption totheir expectations. It catches and intrigues participants by its unique structure.It might be hard to identify the theatre elements and pedagogical implicationsof the activity from such a brief description; still considered as a story, withoutany drama activity involved, the impact is forceful. So, I wondered, early on,“What has been the experience of this man (Bolton) that motivates him tochoose a story like this, and to be able to devise a strategy to help studentscomprehend its scope?” Then, I began to wonder how much a teacher’spersonal life influences their choice of curricular material. In a subject areasuch as drama, there might well be a correlation between the topics and scripts149chosen for use with students, even if the teacher uses a collaborative approach.To what extent can our life story infuse our teaching, and does recognizinghow we have written our own lives make a difference in our effectiveness asteachers? In drama, conceivably more than in any other subject, the teachermust possess a high degree of willingness to enter honestly and critically intointeractions with students. There is no middle ground for hiding behind if adrama teacher is to connect with the human experience of the classroom.I shelved the question for many months. Then as I recalled conversations withGavin about his childhood and family, the thoughts were triggered and I couldrevisit my initial instinct. Gavin vividly remembers his relationship with hismother as warm and nurturing, in spite of the heavy emotional and physicaldemands that caring for an invalid imposed. Not quite twelve when his motherbecame severely stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, Gavin entered adolescencefull of responsibility. He didn’t dare to misbehave:GB:.. .1 was just naturally good because I didn’t see any point in doinganything other. 1 rarely got into scrapes of any kind and there was ofcourse an awful pressure from age 12 on - you had to be good or elseyou would upset Mother. I don’t know if that put a great deal of weighton me because I was already bent to be good...which probably means Iwas boring.. .good and boring (laughing) well I have to live with mysenow!... Where I was supposed to be, I’d be there on time, and still amtoday (laughing).. .I’m still pleasing my Mother...Gavin took his first teaching post in Crewe because he wanted to be at home;still helping with his mother; still feeling the weight of responsibility (and love)towards her; still needing to be there for her. When Gavin and Cynthia married,they lived in the Bolton seniors’ home. He says that he felt no strong feeling ofloss when his Mother died. How difficult it must have been for Alice Bolton to150see this son, her youngest, whom she loved, depended on and enjoyed so much,depart with his new wife to a different city the year following their marriage,after spending an uncomfortable year in her home. I thought, upon letting thesethoughts filter in, that surely these reasons alone justified Gavin’s obviousaffinity for the story and explained why the exercise he created to explore thetext resonated so profoundly for participants.Something Cynthia said about life patterns repeating seemed to surface...What had we been talking about when she said that? Ah, yes... Gavin’srelationship with Andrew.. .how they were the same age when they married...The news that Cynthia had become pregnant and that they were to be parentsstands out, Gavin says, as one of the most wonderful moments of his life. Yet,an uncomfortable distance characterizes the relationship between Gavin and hisson; tension between Gavin and his daughter-in-law. It is distance that Gavinremembers with his own father. Distance between his father and grandfather...A story is told and retold as past, present and future collide.151Te DeumPatterns of experience and spirituality merge repeatedly through Bolton’s lifeand work. Brought up as a Methodist, Gavin attended church and SundaySchool. It was the thing to do and although his parents were irregularchurchgoers, both sons were part of the church community. Gavin becameAnglican to conform to Cynthia when they married, not feeling strongly oneway or the other; not exactly ambiguous, rather more conscious that the surfacechanges didn’t really mean anything.GB: I would not until recently have voiced it in this way...but just as thearts are a dimension of d&erent order of things, so another dimensionis the dimension of the spirit. And just as we cannot always see themeaning in an art most of the time, for me, I miss all the meanings todo with the spirit.I believe that God is everywhere and I believe that God is particularlyin relationships, and that God is manfested through the expression oflove and kindness between people. And I believe in an afterlfe. I’ve gotthis horrible tendency to believe in reincarnation, which I can’t explainto people because there absolutely no logic about it; but 1 it’sprobably what I want rather than what I believe.. .1 want to go on afterone death and be resurrected in another lift, rather than this idea thatO.K, you rise from the dead and there you are stuck in heaven! Thatsounds very boring, undemanding, playing a harp.I find that bit very d4jficult, so reincarnation suits my book that thespirit lingers.., but you see that spirit might linger in the things youleave behind, the people you leave behind.I wonder if it’s easier when you’re committed to believe.., than ifyou arelike me; not committed to any particular theology, but who has thisstrong sense in all the ambiguities there is a God. it’s very difficult toget hold of as a beliefIt may be that it is in the rituals of belief that Gavin finds the most pleasure.The church provided a vehicle for theatrical expression; Gavin became highlysought after even as early as age six, as a performer of monologues, often152billed as a feature performer. The audience, the rituals, the universallyunderstood codes of behaviour all resonate for Gavin. The place of worshipcalled ‘church’ is a powerfully written chapter in many lives. Yet for Gavin, itseems more a place where interesting things can happen; and he is sharplyconscious of the drama of religion. A recent event during the service seenthrough Gavin’s eyes reveals his utter attention to the theatricality of themoment, the detail with which he observes the action:GB: A voice from the back of the church, articulate, measured andformal, as f taking up a response from the blessing we had just heardfrom the priest at the high altar demanded. ‘And what about me?” Weturned to see a scruffily dressed man move forward with rhythmicprocessional pace, continuing with, ‘My son is dying and I cannot feedhim. What about me?” As fpart of a rehearsed ceremony two churchofficials placed themselves either side of him. He and they togethei inunison of movement, turned around, faced the back of the church and ina similarly ordered fashion, no-one touching him, proceeded to the backof the church. At the exit, he apologized to the officials for interrupting.NexusYears following retirement can be fraught with difficulty. For some, as the so-called productive energies dissipate, motivation vanishes at an astonishing rate.How can the connection between the real present and the remembered pastremain fluid? For Gavin, retirement has meant increased productivity, thepleasure of which is only slightly diminished by a recent diagnosis of angina.Perhaps the curtailed physical capacity fuels the hours at the word processor.Still, an imperative avoidance of overexertion and a conscientious effort tomaintain a reasonable level of fitness must occupy a corner of Gavin’s day.l 53The History of Drama project, its completion earning Gavin a PhD, is presentlyan all-consuming effort, although he has several other writing ideas to bring tofruition when that is completed. Will the future be challenging enough forGavin, I wonder?GB: I see a future of writing. The project I’m on now will be foranother three years. Bridge playing features of course.. .always onemore competition.., another prize to win...Time affords Gavin the luxury of bridge competitions around the country. Sincebridge is an activity shared passionately with Cynthia it provides a bond ofcommon interest, wisely established some years ago as a pre-retirement past-time.Gavin does not romanticize about life. He acknowledges that the next phase oflife brings death. Typically forthright in his attitude, Gavin seems to bedirecting his present and future script by staying in the moment. Heconsciously gives of his time and energy to those who need it; investing inliving, not dying.GB: A future that includes death.. .I’m very conscious of death,preparing mys4ffor dying... so I could die now... and I hope I see dyingas an achievement.. I’m very positive about dying. I would like really,not to have a future, as much as have a now. Thats more importantthan the future.I think that Gavin has finally found the occupation that was always awaitinghim- the writer. Happiness is being alone in his study, word processorhumming. If the teaching was a means of getting material to write about, it isas writer and analyst, one who stands outside and examines, turning experienceover and over under the magnif’ing glass, that is Gavin’s great joy. Able todetect the flaws, but see them as part of the whole.. the necessary but niggling154imperfections that make something REAL, he interrogates his work as a refinedpractitioner.More than anything else, Gavin values the ability to be able to stand outsideoneself or situation and look at it... “to see what you are doing in relation toother people, yours4f where you are going and to readfor the truth of what isgoing on...to be able to see the whole and not just the part you’ve selected tosee.” For Gavin, that whole has to do with “Love and Responsibility andSpirituality.” He is at an advantage, for he knows how to be both inside andoutside the work. Whereas some people find careers in criticizing the work ofothers, for Gavin it is enough to scrutinize his own work’9, and he does it withfull knowledge of the Other-ness of self that brings perspective.He has reached a phase in life where he can feel confident that he has fulfilleda large part of what he set out to do, but still has new discoveries on thehorizon. There seems to be a tendency for Gavin to want to give even more: tohis writing, to his family and friends, to the pursuit of the study of drama inthe research of others, such as mine and the desire to push forward nonstop. Heno longer wants to “be in the position of one who leads the way, suggestingmethodology and so on, I’ve gone beyond that” clearly inviting others who can,to take up the challenge.19 At times, however, the self-deprecatory explanations for weaknesses discovered in the worklead me to believe that the role of ‘sophisticated failure’ has been usefully employed by Bolton as anon-threatening posture rather than a conviction he truly holds towards his own work.L 55INTERVAL 9May H, 1995The more I write about Gavin and the whole process of biography, the more Ineed to know. This is the endless looping, the impossibility of closure, thequest(ion)ing I seek to become familiar with in all aspects of my life. I’vegrown much more aware of a sense of time suddenly slowing down. It remindsme of the way Gavin teaches: always look for the small moment ofsignificance, the one that holds the most meaning. For the last several months,as I’ve been the detective, always on the alert for the piece of the narrative thatmight amplify Gavin, my senses have tuned in to those fragments in my ownday-to-day.There has been so much to learn on this path of life writing. How could I haveknown that in writing the life, I would write a different life? Why did I ask thequestions I did and what questions did I fail to ask? What questions wouldothers have asked? I will never know what I don’t know about Gavin. He,gentlemanly as always, answered every question I asked, even if he could notsee why I was interested in an area, even if the question made himuncomfortable. But he did not volunteer (I suppose no one really does) to offerunsolicited information. In a way, that makes me happy: there is mystery andmagic in the unknown.I think, for the most part, I was successful in deflecting the Director in Gavin,the part of him that might have wanted to control the outcome. His willingnessto journey along this unpredictable path with me required him to trust me and156the process. Neither of us could know where it would lead. To a degree, hislife defied the possibility of ever having a traditional biography written abouthim, he has lived it against the grain.Now, I wonder how this biography will speak to the future. Whose stories willintersect here?157MEDITATIONIN PROCESS‘Where do life stories enter research?What are the implications of biography for the future?How might biography evolve?Should biography include the biographer’s process?How can biographers stretch narrative boundaries?Why is biography inherently interesting?***158Chapter XRETROSPECTIVEThe traditional summation of a life accounts for the twists and turns the storyhas taken by placing a template over the whole and seeing how the pieces fittogether. This review of the process of writing biography and Gavin Bolton’slife story is more concerned with freeing the reader and writer to play withmany interpretations of the stories they have read.I would like to use this chapter to muse over the impressions I have gathered,ponder the ideas that went unwritten, put forward the thoughts that need furtherexploration, and explore the possibilities that may exist in this type of research.It is my hope that an open-ended narrative approach to Bolton’s life has madethe reader more curious than satiated. I too, would like to know more of thisman, whose ambiguities and complexities leave me intrigued.It is not fitting to call this chapter a conclusion, for any life story remainsinconclusive. Similarly, it is inappropriate for me to close with a discoursewhich presumes authority about the subject. Instead I offer my thoughts of themoment regarding Bolton and biography, knowing that, even as I write, myconnection to the text shifts and (re)presents itself to me anew.ImpressionsI had hoped that this final section of the thesis would be shaped around a159dialogue between Gavin and me with the intention of exploring the nature ofbiography and our respective journeys through the process. In the light of whatI hoped to be able to call feminist research, I perceived that particular dialogueto be an important, even essential component of the thesis. I felt that while Ihad a grasp of my effort as biographer, I had only assumptions about the waysin which Gavin had coped with being subject. When the idea was firstsuggested to Gavin, it was met with a degree of curiosity regarding perhaps itsvalue, maybe its form, possibly its inherent challenge. Having opened thewindow of possibility, I did not refer to the idea again until I nearedcompletion of the project.As I mapped out the kinds of issues I knew I was interested in having Gavinrespond to, unknowingly I sought to occupy a space of closure. What I wanted,I suspect, was affirmation that I had been on the right track, that I had dugdeep enough, that I had handled my responsibilities as biographer withsensitivity and thoroughness, that I had not treated my subject as an object, andthat I had honoured and yet been sufficiently critical of the life story in myrepresentation. It was a disappointing moment when I received a reply in thenegative to my final request for a collaborative finish.Did I know the man at all, I wondered, since I had failed to deduce that he hadin fact, coped with being subject by the very distancing manoeuvres that hadbecome so apparent in his past? It was the distance that had given him thefreedom to participate in my project, to willingly allow my questions withouthaving knowledge of or responsibility for the outcome. It would be up to me to160fill the gap I perceived.Thus I was brought sharply back to the reflective questions I had posedthroughout the thesis, questions which I hope will point to new directions ofresearch. A glance back at the Meditations, which I had hoped would form thebasis of a dialogue with Gavin, leaves me with two basic questions: “How do Inow understand my subject?” and “How do I understand the place I haveoccupied as biographer?”(Re)Visioning the SubjectIn the early days of thinking, collecting stories and writing about Gavin Bolton,I was tempted to name him a ‘man of contradiction’; then I realized that we areall contradictory, an implicit condition of postmodernist thinking. Consider that“to speak against” implies a refusal to be named: confusion, elusiveness anddebate about the subject. For every side(self) that is presented a contradictoryside must appear; perceived by some under certain circumstances and neverseen by others. So, it would in fact be misrepresenting Gavin to target thecontradictions as indicative of his unique character(s).Many facets of Bolton continue to puzzle me. I see aman who socially issomewhat withdrawn. He is not easy to chat with in an informal way, althoughhe is adept at eliciting information from others. One of Gavin’s skills is hisprecision in questioning. Possibly because he is an acute listener and observer,he seems to be able to sense the appropriate next step that the person with16whom he is speaking desires to take in the conversation. Obviously, in hiscapacity as volunteer for Victim Support, this works to his advantage, and, aslong as Gavin is in a work-related area, this skill is fluent and effortless.Gavin has spent a lifetime developing strategies to improve the clarity ofcommunication between himself and teachers; himself and students; teachersand students; and students and students. In lectures and public addresses hesparkles with humour, warmth and intellectual acuity. However, access to hisbooks and articles remains difficult for many and this may account for therelatively limited understanding of his work by drama educators. In a sense,history is catching up to Bolton. Many of his views may, in the future, be seenas ahead of their time, valuable in the broader scope of education in general,not just drama.I am uncertain about the vigour with which Gavin has embraced DorothyHeathcote’s Mantle of the Expert approach to education. The book he hasrecently co-authored with Heathcote was, from the start, I think, his project. Ina rather odd way, it typifies the kind of professional distance that Gavin hasalways insisted upon. The process of developing the book did not really followa collaborative model: Dorothy would write reams of material, and it wouldarrive at Gavin’s house through the mail slot. Gavin would edit the writing tosuit his understanding (and the space limitations of the publisher) and thuscompiled the manuscript. Unquestionably, he is attracted to Mantle of theExpert for its emphasis on the growth of the learner on multiple levels. Hisown use of it as a strategy remains somewhat awkward. He himself admits to162being a novice at its intricacies20,but is steadfastly convinced of its untappedpotential for education.I know that Gavin has maintained a strong sense of mission throughout hiscareer and that the commitment to his professional agency has coloured hisportrait in terms of his family, friends and leisure. With a steady hand he hasguided the work through years of growth and has never wavered in hisconviction that drama is the core experience to which all humans relate,whether or not they are able to articulate its presence or impact in their ownlives. A good deal of his journey as an educator has been spent seeking thatarticulation- digging away at the mysteries of meaning expressed in social,artistic and educational milieus,(En)Visioning the BiographerI entered the landscape of biography as a foreigner, unfamiliar with thediscourse of a burgeoning theoretical field; the debates about narrativemethodologies multiplying exponentially even as I raced to discover the latestcontribution. To me, the topography was fertile and uncharted- I had to decideon a route of my own, since I could not begin to follow each vision of lifestorying.20 During the 1994 summer graduate course at UEC, Bolton experimented by contrasting theMantle of the Expert approach in the morning and his own, more theatrical episodic style in theafternoon, using the same material. The afternoon was far more engaging for both Gavin and theparticipants.163In the emerging conceptions of feminist biography, I found the invitation tocircumvent traditional stylistic conventions and a philosophical foundationwhich embraced open-endedness, dialogue and recognition of the whole fabricof life.In acknowledging postmodern concerns of multiplicity of selves (both subject’sand biographer’s, in this case); (inter)textuality and multiple truths; and thecelebration of ambiguity, I recognized remarkable parallels with the nature ofdrama.Then, by interpreting and blending these two stances, I devised the structurethat would support my conception(s) of Gavin Bolton. Finally, the positiveimplications of both of these stances for education research became apparent tome as a teacher and researcher as I found the resonances of Bolton’s livedexperience in my own.Many of my experiences as biographer will stand out as milestones in thedevelopment of my personal knowledge. For example, I have developed a moreintense interest in listening to the moments of disclosure which draw ustogether in dialogue. I also sense that people are more than willing to divulgepersonal anecdotes if the research is conducted with an openness and obviouscommitment on the part of the researcher. In fact, more often than not, I felt Iwas gathering autobiographies from the people that I met with in regard toGavin, so easily did they share details of their own lives with me . This bodeswell for biographical research in education, I think. I am learning not to be164fearful of the intimacy which accompanies this type of research; the researchergives equally but differently to the process. Biography cannot be writtenwithout a personal investment in the process. The biographer gives up a certainportion of consciousness to the subject for the length of time that the projectconsumes. There is a point in every day when an event in the biographer’s lifecauses a fictitious corollary in the subject’s life. The biographer wonders,“What would________ do in this situation?” Or “ What has the subjectconcealed from me? (Often an interesting flight of fancy). It means trusting thatit is impossible to know everything and enjoying the disruption of theunpredictable and the anomaly. It is as uncomfortable to write biography as itis exhilarating. From the viewpoint of the biographer, the limitations of theresearch also seem to be its strengths. Critics will question the lack ofcertainty, indeed the fictitious character of the product. There may be questionsabout the data collection and whether or not it reasonably represents the life ofthe subject, given the author’s literary license in this genre. To some degree,there may be concern regarding the value of the research as relevant andfruitful, particularly if the biographer has taken a particularly broad or narrowstance.I feel that despite the limitations mentioned above, and in some views theymay be substantial limitations, biography offers enormous potential as a toolfor educational research. We live in a world which exists through our stories.We write our experiences as educators based on personal knowledge more thanany other source.Teachers seem drawn to the profession because of its intrinsicreturns, suggesting backgrounds worthy of exploring. Insight into the worlds of165other teachers, whether they be leaders in the field such as Bolton, orclassroom teachers who are open to publicly exploring their stories, can enrich,affirm, inform and challenge all professionals. The world of education is arapidly shifting, contentious arena. If biography can celebrate the extraordinaryin the ordinary by illuminating teacher’s lives, then it deserves an audience ineducational research methodology21.I suspect that biography for educational research must be undertaken with someguiding principles in mind. At the risk of attaching to a model that suggestsclosure, I’d like to offer some insight into my own current belief about thenature of biography.I now feel that I was quite timid in the way in which I approached the project.I would encourage anyone willing to write educational biography to do so withconfidence: in their choice of subjects; in their exploration of structure andstyle; in their belief that biography can benefit others by illuminating oneperson’s stories. While there have been exceptionally readable biographieswritten, both in the traditional sense and in more recent efforts, the field isopen for exploration and can easily accommodate a more radical style ofreading and writing life stories than has appeared to date. The researcher who21 Note: Researchers in this decade have the luxury of electronic advantages heretoforeunknown. I fully expected that my project would be informed by the presence of e-mail, fax andglobal information networks. How was Ito predict that: 1) my subject resists more than a passinginterest in computers; whilst claiming to see the advantage of their application; and 2) that dramaeducators in general are probably amongst the least informed and inactive users of the net. Iencourage a greater effort amongst those interested as a means of promoting communication aboutour subject world-wide.166chooses biography must be willing to give a great deal of consciousness to thelived experience of another person, to get used to having that person ‘beside’them every hour of every day while the project unfolds. It is an absolutenecessity to give up the idea of controlling the ultimate direction of thebiography itself. It will shape itself, given opportunity, to represent the life ofthe subject, informed by the life of the biographer, in the context in which it iscreated.I have found the experience of writing biography to be intense, joyous,demanding, rewarding, intriguing, and elusive. It has taught me to seek theextraordinary in the ordinary and to revel in the storied world of ourexperience(s).167WORKS CONSULTEDAlpern, S., et al. (Eds.) (1990). The challenge of feminist biography. Urbanaand Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Batchelor, J. (1995). The art of literary biography. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Bateson, M.C.(1989). Composing a life. New York: Penguin.(1994). Peripheral visions: learning along the way. New York: HarperCollins.Benstock, 5. (1988). The private self. United States: University of NorthCarolina Press.Bolton, G. (1964 - 95). Works by Bolton are listed in a separate bibliography.See Appendix B.Brodzki, B. & Schenk, C. (1988). Life/lines: theorizing women’s autobiography.Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Burbules, N. (1993). Dialogue in teaching: theory and practice. New York:Columbia University Teachers College Press.Byron, K. (1986). Drama at the crossroads.j 7 (1), 4-22.Cochran, L. (1990). The sense of vocation: a study of career and lifedevelopment. New York: State University of New York Press.Cole, D. (1992). Acting as reading. United States: University of MichiganPress.Csikszentmihalyi, M. and Beattie, 0. (1979). Life themes: a theoretical andempirical exploration of their origins and effects. Journal of HumanisticPsychology. 19 (1) pp.45-63.Davis, D. & Lawrence, C. (19860. Gavin Bolton: Selected writings. GreatBritain: Longman Group.Dewey, J. (1938), Experience and education. New York: Kappa Delta Pi.Denzin, N. (19890. Interpretive biography. Sage university paper on qualitativeresearch methods. 17. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Doll, W. (1993). A postmodern perspective on curriculum. New York: TeachersCollege Press.Donaldson, I. et al., (1992). Shaping lives: reflections on biography. Australia:Humanities Research Centre, Monograph Series 6.168Doyle, C. (1993). Raising curtains on education: drama as a site for criticalpedagogy. Toronto: OISE.Epstein, W. (1991). Contesting the subject: essays in the postmodern theoryand practice of biography and biographical criticism. Indiana: PurdueUniversity Press.Estes, C. Pinkola, (1992). Women who run with the wolves. New York:Ballantyne Books.Finke, L. (1992). Feminist theory. Women’s writing. New York: CornellUniversity Press.Gergen, K. (1994) in Neisser and Finush, Eds. The remembering self. NewYork: Cambridge University Press.Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice. Cambridge. MA: Harvard UniversityPress.Goodson, I.& Walker, R. (1991). Biography, identity and schooling: episodes ineducational research. London: The Falmer Press.Groag-Bell, S. & Yalom, M. Eds., (1990). Revealing lives: autobiography,biography and gender. New York: State University of New York Press.Grumet, M. (1 988).Bitter milk. United States: University of MassachusettsPress.Heathcote, D. (1983). Gavin Bolton: An appreciation - strictly personal. Boltonat the Barbican. (Dobson, W., Ed.). London: National Association ofDrama Teachers.Homberger, E. & Charmley, J. (Eds.) (1988). The troubled face of biography.London: The Macmillan Press Ltd.Hombrook, D. (1989). Education and dramatic art. Oxford: BlackwellEducation.Hutcheon, L. (1989). The politics of postmodernism. London: Routledge.Iles, T. (Ed.) (1992). All sides of the subject: women and biography. NewYork: Teachers College Press.Johnson, L. & O’Neill, C. (1984). Collected writings on drama and education:Dorothy Heathcote. Illinois; Northwest University Press.Josselson, R. &Leiblich, A. (Eds.) (1993). The narrative study of lives.Newbury Park: Sage.169Kadar, M. (1993). Essays on life writing: from genre to critical practice.Toronto: Oxford University Press.Kuhn, A. (1990). in Groag-Bell and Yalom, Eds., Revealing Lives. New York:State University of New York Press.Lather, P. (1991). Getting smart: feminist research and pedagogy with/in thepostmodern. New York and London: Routledge.Lee, D.J. (1994). Life and story: autobiographies for a narrative psychology.United States: Praeger Publishers.Leggo, C. (1994). Writing lines of connection: researching narrative andeducation. Canadian Society for the study of education. LearnedSocieties Conference. Calgary, Alberta, June, 1-27.Luke, C. and Gore, J. (1992). Feminism and critical pedagogy. New York:Routledge.Malcolm, J. (1994). The silent woman. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.McAdams, D. (1993). The stories we live by. New York: William Morrow.McCracken, G. (1988). The long interview. United States: Sage PublicationsInc.Neisser, U. & Finush, R. (1994). The remembering self. New York: CambridgeUniversity Press.O’Brien, 5. (1993) . in Epstein, Ed. Contesting the subject. Indiana: PurdueUniversity Press.O’Connor, U. (1991). Biographers and the art of biography. Dublin: WolfhoundPress.O’Neill, C. (1991). Artists and models: theatre teachers for the future. Designfor Arts in Education. 24 pp. 23-27.O’Toole, J. (1992). The process of drama: negotiating art and meaning. London:Routledge.Pagan, N. (1993). Rethinking literary biography. London and Toronto:Associated University Presses.Personal Narratives Group, (1989). Interpreting women’s lives. United States:Indianna University Press.Pinar, W. & Reynolds, W. (Eds.). (1992). Understanding curriculum asphenomenological and deconstructed text. New York: Teachers College170Press.Reed, E.S. (1994). in Neisser and Finush, Eds. The remembering self. NewYork: Cambridge University Press.Rosenwald, G. & Ochberg, R. (Eds.) (1992). Storied lives: the cultural politicsof self-understanding. New Haven; Yale University Press.Ross, M. (1981). The development of aesthetic experience. Curriculum issuesin arts education.Scheier, L. et al (Eds.) (1990). Language in her eye: views on writing andgender. Toronto: Coach House Press.Seidman, I.E. (1991). Interviewing as ciualitative research. New York andLondon; Columbia University Teachers College Press.Shields, C. (1993). The stone diaries. Toronto: Vintage Books.Silverman, H. (1994). Textualities: between hermeneutics and deconstruction.New York and London: Routledge.Shakespeare, W., excerpts from: Julius Caesar; Measure for measure; Romeoand Juliet. New York and Scarborough: Signet Classic Edition, TheNew American Library, Inc.Simon, R. (1992). Teaching against the grain: texts for a pedagogy ofpossibility. New York; Bergin and Garvey.Stanley, L. (1992 ). The auto/biographical ‘I’. New York: Manchester UniversityPress.Swan, S. (1994). Lecture material in acting course work. Vancouver, B.C.,Canada.van Manen, M. (1991). The tact of teaching: the meaning of pedagogicalthoughtfulness.(1990). Researching lived experience. London, Canada: The AlthousePress.Veninga, J. (1983). The biographer’s gift. United States: Texas UniversityPress.Wagner-Martin, L. (1994). Telling women’s lives. New Brunswick, New Jersey:Rutgers University Press.Weiler, K. (1988). Women teaching for change: gender, class and power. SouthHadley, MA: Bergin and Garvey.171Willis, G. and Schubert, W., Eds.,(1990). Reflections from the heart ofeducational inquiry. New York: State University of New York Press.172APPENDIX ACHRONOLOGYThis chronology was compiled by Gavin Bolton.1890 Robert, Father, born1895 Alice, Mother, born1915 Robert and Alice marry1927 Gavin born February 13th1932-38 Gavin attends elementary school1936 Start elocution and piano lessons, regularly taking gradeexaminations in each. Eventually drop piano and continue withwhat became ‘Speech and Drama’1938 First stage performance - as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol193 8-43 Attends Crewe Grammar School1943 -46 First job as trainee ‘Cost and Works’ accountant with BritishRailways1944 First examination in Cost and Works accountancy1946 Switch to teaching (unqualified, resident) Blind and DeafSchool, Stoke-on-Trent1948-50 Sheffield City Training College, University of Sheffield Institute,qualify as teacher, specialising in English and trained forSecondary work1950-52 First post - Adelaide Street Primary School, Crewe; underenlightened headmaster, Geoff Durber1951 Cynthia and Gavin marry in July. Live in two rooms of parents’house for first year of marriage1951 Graduate with Royal Academy of Music and Drama as aLicentiate of Speech and Drama1731951-61 Every summer, attend Summer Schools on Theatre (with theexception of two conducted by Peter Slade called ‘Child Drama’)1952-59 Live in Nuneaton, Warwickshire near Stratford and Coventry.(the Belgrade Theatre opened in Coventry, 1957). Teach atArbury Secondary School. Promoted to Head of English, 19571953 Buy first houseStart Youth Drama, extracurricularForm Nuneaton Teachers’ Drama SocietyAttend first course by Peter Slade1956 Seconded from teaching to attend British Drama League(London)course on Directing in the Theatre1957 Son, Andrew, born1958 Peter Slade invites Gavin’s Youth Theatre group to join a sessionat his Rea Street centre in Birmingham1959 Mother dies1959-62 Move to Preston, Lancashire; Fishwick Secondary School asDeputy HeadmasterForm Preston Teachers’ Drama Group; arrange many weekendcourses including visits from Brian WayAttend course on directing at Salford University; gained A.D.B.(Associate of Drama Board)1962-64 Move to Durham as Drama Adviser to Schools1963 Father dies1964 Appointed as Lecturer in Drama Education, Institute ofEducation, Durham University. Responsibility for in-servicetraining of teachers in Drama. Later to become Senior Lecturerand then appointed Reader in 1985.1967 First experience teaching abroad, Lesotho, South Africa1968 Durham University confers a Masters’ Degree (M.A.)1969 First visit to Canada (University of Toronto Education Dept.) atthe invitation of John and Juliana Saxton1966-72 Direct for the University Dramatic Society1741964 Publish first article1969 Publish first book dedicated to Norah Morgan: friend, mentorand counsellor since 19691976 Son, Andrew begins career in music at Royal Northern Collegeof Music, Manchester. He marries in 1981; has two children1987 Retire from full-time employment at University of Durham1988-89 Visiting professor at University of Victoria, B.C. Canada foracademic year.1990 Teach a University of British Columbia summer graduate course,attended by Laurie Jardine1995 Goodbye to teaching!Note:This chronology represents significant life events according to Gavin Bolton.175APPENDIX BA BOLTON BIBLIOGRAPHYBOOKSTowards a theory of drama in education. London: Longman, 1979.Drama as education: an argument for placing drama at the centre of thecurriculum. London: Longman,1984.Selected writings of Gavin Bolton (Eds. Davis, D. and Lawrence, C.). London:Longman, 1986.New perspectives on classroom drama. London: Simon and Schuster, 1992.Drama for learning: Dorothy Heathcote’s mantle of the expert approach toeducation. N.J.: Heinemann, 1995.CHAPTERS CONTRIBUTED TO BOOKSDrama and theatre in education- a survey, in Drama and theatre in education,M.Dodd & W.Hickson (Eds.), London: Heinemann, 1971.Theatre form in drama as process, in Exploring theatre and education.K.Robinson (Ed.), London: Heinemann, 1980.Drama in education and theatre in education- a comparison, in Theatre ineducation: a casebook. A.R. Jackson, (Ed.), Manchester: Manchester UniversityPress 1980.Drama and education- a reappraisal, in Children and drama, N. McCaslin(Ed.), 2nd edition, New York: Longman, 1981.An outline of the contemporary view of drama in education in Great Britain, inOpvoedkundig Drama, M. Goethals, (Ed.), Netherlands: University of LeuvenPress, 1981.Drama and the curriculum- a philosophical perspective, in Drama and thewhole curriculum, J. Nixon, (Ed.), London: Hutchinson, 1982.Drama as learning, as art and as aesthetic experience, in Development ofaesthetic experience, M.Ross, (Ed.), Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1982Drama in education: learning medium or arts process? in Bolton at theBarbican, NATD with Longman Group, 1983.An interview with Gavin Bolton, in Handbook of educational drama,176R.Landy,(Ed,), New York University Press, 1983.The activity of dramatic playing, in Issues in educational drama, C.Day & J.Norman, (Eds.), Falmer Press, 1983.Drama- pedagogy or art?, in Dramapaedagogik - i nordisk perspectiv, J.Szatkowski, (Ed.), Artikelsamling, Teaterforlaget, 1985.Drama, in Children and the arts, D.J. Hargreaves, (Ed.), Milton Keynes andPhiladelphia: Open University, 1989.Lernen durch und uber drama im schulischen Unterricht, in Drama md theaterin der schule und fur die schule, M. Schewe, (Ed.), Universitat Oldenburg,1990.The drama education scene in England, preface to A tribute to CatherineHollingsworth, by Alan Nichol, 1991.A brief history of classroom drama, in Towards drama as a method in theforeign language classroom, M. Schewe & P.Shaw, (Eds.), Frankfutt: PeterLang, 1993.Una breve storia del classroom drama nella acuola inglese. Una storia ilcontradizioni, in Teatro ed educazione in Europa: Inghilterra E Belgio,Benvenuto Cuminetti, (Ed.), 1993.PAMPHLETGavin Bolton - Four articles 1970 - 1980, NADECT (National Association ofTeachers of Drama in Education and Children’s Theatre), 1980.ARTICLES IN JOURNALSDrama in the primary school - support from local authorities.TES, 2544, Feb.21, 1964, p,248.The nature of children’s drama. Education for teaching, Nov. 1966, pp.46-54.In search of aims and objectives. Creative Drama, 4 (2)1976, pp.5-8.Drama in education. Speech and Drama, 18 (3), Autumn, 1969, pp.10-3.Is theatre in education drama in education? Outlook, Journal of the BritishChildren’s Theatre Association, 5 , 1973, pp. 7-8.Moral responsibility in children’s theatre. Outlook, Journal of the BritishChildren’s Theatre Association, 5,1973, pp.6-8.Emotion and meaning in creative drama. Canadian Child Drama AssociationJournal, Feb. 1976, pp.13-9.177Drama as metaphor. Young Drama, 4(3) June 1976, pp. 43-47.Drama teaching- a personal statement. Insight, Journal of the British Children’sTheatre Review, Summer 1976, pp.’0-12.Creative drama and learning. American Theatre Association’s Children’s TheatreReview, Feb. 1977, pp.’0-’2.Drama and emotion - some uses and abuses. Young Drama, 5 (1), Feb. 1977,pp. 3-12.Psychical distancing in acting. The British Journal of Aesthetics, 17, (1) Winter1977, pp.63-7.Emotional effects in drama. Queensland Association of Drama in Education, I(1), Oct. 1976, pp. 3-11.Creative drama as an art form. London Drama, Journal of the London DramaTeachers Association, April 1977, pp. 2-9.Symbolization in the process of improvised drama. Young drama, 6(1)1978,pp.10-13.The relationship between drama and theatre. London Drama, 5(1),pp.5-7.The concept of showing in children’s dramatic activity. Young Drama, 6(3),Oct. 1978, pp.97-101.Some issues involved in the use of role-play with psychiatric adult patients.Dramatherapy, 2(4), June 1979, pp.11-13.Emotions in the dramatic process - is it and adjective or a verb? NationalAssociation for Drama in Education Journal (Australia), 1(3), Dec. 1978, pp.14-18.An evaluation of the schools council drama teaching (secondary) project.Speech and Drama. 28 (3), Autumn 1979, pp.’4-22.The aims of educational drama. NATD (Australia), 4, Dec. 1979, pp.28-32.Imagery in drama in education. SCYPT Journal (Standing Conference of YoungPeople’s Theatre), 5, May 1980, pp.5-8.Assessment of practical drama. Drama Contact, (Canada) 1(4), May 1980, pp.14-16.Drama as concrete action. London Drama, 6 (4), spring 1981, pp. 16-18.Drama in the curriculum. Drama and Dance (2D), 1(1) Autumn 1981, pp. 9-16.178Teacher-in-role and the learning process. SCYPT Journal, 12, 1984, pp.21-6.Gavin Bolton interviewed by David Davis. Drama and Dance (2D), 4, Spring1985, pp. 4-14.Drama and anti-racist teaching- a reply to Jon Nixon. Curriculum, 6 (3)Autumn 1985, pp.134.Changes in thinking about drama in education. Theory into practice, 24 (3)1985, pp. 151-157.Weaving theories is not enough. New Theatre Quarterly, 11(8), Nov. 1986, pp.369-371.Off-target. London Drama, 7(4), 1987, pp.22-3.Drama as art. Drama Broadsheet, 5 30, Autumn 1988, pp. 13-18.Towards a theory of dramatic art- a personal statement. Drama Broadsheet, 7(1) Spring 1990 pp. 2-5.Although. Drama Broadsheet, 7 (3), Winter 1990, pp. 8-11.Four aims in teaching drama. London Drama, July 1990.The changing room. SCYPT Journal, 23, Spring 1992, pp. 25-32.Aristotle and the art of the actor. Drama Contact, 15, Autumn 1991, pp.2-4.Piss on his face. Broadsheet,2, l992,pp.4-9.Have a heart. Drama, 1 (1) Summer 1992, pp. 7-8.A balancing act. The Nadie Journal,16 (4) Winter 1992, pp. 16-17.Writing a book about Dorothy Heathcote’s dramatic approach to education.Drama Theatre Teacher, 6 (1), 1993, pp. 4-6.179APPENDIX CTRACING FOOTSTEPS: EXCERPTSThe passages from Gavin Bolton’s papers that appear here have been chosen toreflect in a small way, the direction of Bolton’s thinking over his career to date.I say reflect and !Q represent because it is but a small sampling of theextensive body of Bolton’s writing. It by no means conveys a total picture ofthe impact of his writing and thinking. Interested readers should refer toAPPENDIX B: A Bolton BibliographyI selected the passages on the basis of how they spoke to me as teacher. Iasked myself, “What would be important to me if I were beginning to teachdrama at this moment?” Thus, others may disagree with the significance of thepassages which appear, finding different connections to Bolton’s writing, otheraspects which resonate. My wish is for the reader to trace the footsteps of timeand space through glimpses of Bolton through thirty years of academic writing.1964“Support from the Local Authorities”Drama is a tool in the hands of the teacher for developing the personality ofthe child; to give him an awareness of his own potentialities in every form ofself-expression; to help him acquire self-discipline; to help him think moredeeply, to feel more sensitively; and to make him aware of other people’sproblems.Every child has his own natural way of learning about life: he creates a dreamworld in which he can believe that he is somewhere else, that he is someoneelse, and in this way he copes with the manifold problems of existence. It isthis capacity for imaginative play that the teacher must observe and harness.I believe that movement and language go hand in hand, with the voice regardedas the fifth limb of the body, so that as a child experiments with the quality ofa movement, he is able to produce, if required, the appropriate sound and onoccasions, the appropriate words.If it could be accepted that we are all experimenting in drama, that there ismuch to be learnt from each other, then, with the professional barriers down,we could make progress.1801969“Drama in Education”I believe that drama is operating at its highest level of achievement when itbecomes a collective playmaking, so structured that the implicit feelings,attitudes and preconceptions of those taking part are brought to the surface andmade explicit.educational drama is an intellectual as well as a physical and emotionalactivity, a shift in emphasis more consistent with the aims of teaching Englishthan many texts on creative drama appear to suggest. Indeed a useful way ofdefining the nature of drama may be to examine it in relation to literature.It is the physical element of drama that sets it apart from other literaryforms.. .Because drama depends for its expression on the spoken word,movement and other visual an aural aids, it can only represent a particularaction, in a particular place at a particular moment in time..where children are motivated to care deeply about a human problem, theyreach a stage when they begin to be concerned with its expression. This onlyhappens when there exists within a group a serious attitude to the work that isgenuinely shared by the teacher and when a teacher has the gift if recognizingthe needs of the children in terms of the true nature of the medium.1971“Drama and Theatre in Education: A Survey”What is drama? When is drama, drama? When does educational drama go tothe heart of drama? What is the nature and function of drama when it operatesat its highest level of achievement?And it is the teacher and only the teacher, who can dig deep and make afrivolous or a trivial (in the eyes of the adults) suggestion something worthpursuing, something worth getting to grips with, so that there is a deeperunderstanding of a fundamental human issue. Things that the children havealways understood implicitly will come to the surface as they do it as much as181when the teacher asks the question after it is done. They suddenly know thatthey have learned because they have been allowed to verbalize it and theverbalization is rooted in the concrete sensory/motor experience of the dramaticaction.1977“Creative Drama and Learning”Let us now list all the kinds of learning that seem to be possible:A. Acquiring or refining FACTSB. Acquiring or refining SKILLS related to external action:i. motorii. memoryiii. simulationC. Acquiring or refining SKILL relate to the combining of internal/externalaction - the aesthetic skillD. Acquiring or refining value-laden CONCEPTSE. Acquiring or refining SOCIAL SKILLS- sometimes independent ofartistic activityIt is theoretically possible that there could be no learning or every kind oflearning.“Psychical Distancing in Acting”The dynamics of the experience lie not in the consistency of a special level ofbehaviour, but in the interaction that is set up between more than one level. Sothere will be moments when the participant is caught up in the actualpracticalities of the activity alternated with moments when he has removedhimself from such practicalities. In a child’s dramatic play there is always thisambivalence in both depending on and being independent of the practicalmeanings in a particular context: if it rests for too long at a practical level themake-believe is lost and yet without the practicalities of the physicalenvironment the make-believe cannot be created. This is equally true of theactor on stage.***1821978“The Concept of Showing in Children Dramatic Activity”Drama is a metaphorical form in that it is created by the juxtaposition of twoconcrete contexts:actuality and fiction.One sees, particularly in our secondary school, a perpetual working in productrather than process. Teacher and class may discuss a significant (often sociallysignificant) topic such as immigration, and the class are required in their groupsto enact what they know about it. But from the beginning, like the child whoknows before he puts his brush to paper that his painting is for putting up onthe wall, the instrumental mode of action is adopted in order to ‘make astatement’ to show the rest of the class. Any attempt to work in (process) iseclipsed by the need to work for product. So these pupils never experienceimmigration, they simply demonstrate what they already know.“The Aims of Educational Drama”Working in drama today, my top priority must be that drama is seen as changein understanding... this is for me the major justification for having drama in ourschools at all.It seems to be that we can talk about the activity of drama in two broad ways:a)as a complex art form, and b) a much more simple, functional use. Havingdivided them into these two parts, it occurred to me that in terms of teachertraining one would expect our drama specialists to know how to handle thefirst, and one might assume that all primary school teachers-in-training coulduse the devices that belong to the second, whether they are ‘drama people’ ornot.One of the effects of drama happening all the time is development of languageuse; particularly language as the mental activity that it is: the relationshipbetween thought and word.. .language of hypothesis... language of style.***1979“Some Issues Involved in the use of Role-Play with Psychiatric Patients”Once a week in the University term time, over a period of three years, I haveconducted role-playing sessions of about two hours duration with a selectedgroup of about five or six patients in a large Psychiatric Hospital. What takesplace during these sessions is regarded as an extension of or as an alternativeform of treatment the patient is already receiving. Indeed, one of the criteria forreselection is that the patient’s problem does not appear to be responding toother treatment.183• . .if the work is to be effective the leader and the group must work at risk.Having said that, let me emphasize that the leader in practice keeps the natureof the risks to himself and often the atmosphere is one of light-hearted fun.Perhaps one of the most subtle techniques I have had to learn is to relievetension with laughter.***1980‘Assessment ofPractical Drama”It seems to me there is always a product; even in the most loosely structuredimprovisational dramatic activity there is some kind of contrived, self-containedentity that can be observed as “a thing created”.Drama is, in my view, not so much concerned with the uniqueness of theindividual as with the meaning created when a participant aligns hisindividuality with whatever is universal in the subject matter, topic or theme.Drama perhaps more than any other art form celebrates what man has incommon with man.Traditional acting skills may or may not be part of the dramatic product, butthe examiner is concerned with something wider and also deeper, to do withthe participants’ grasp of how the very clay of theatre works. It is so basic thatthe dramaltheatre dichotomy becomes irrelevant.“Theatre Form in Drama Teaching”The principal function of a drama teacher, then, is to use theatrical form inorder to enhance the meaning of the participants’ experience: by using thetheatrical elements of tension, focus, contrast and symbolization, actions andobjects in the drama become significant.A drama teacher is consistently working in theatre form.***1981“Drama as Learning, as Art and as Aesthetic Experience”.the skill which is basic to all kinds of acting, which is: an ability to engagewith something outside oneself using an ‘as if mental set to activate, sustain orintensify that engagement.But drama as an art.. .is on a different plane of experience to do with184consciousness of form... for dramatic action to qualify as an art form not onlyshould these three basic elements of focus, tension and symbolisation inherewithin the form, there should also be a consciousness on the part of the groupthat a form is being created.The conscious creation of an art form is a sophisticated group responsibilitythat requires tacit or explicit agreement on choice of focus, injection of tension,and sensitivity to shared meanings that may resonate from the continual focuson a particular object or action or language image.1982“Drama for the 80’s”In teaching drama in schools my long-term aims are:l)to help the student understand himself and the world he lives in2)to help the student know how and when (and when not) to adapt to the worldhe lives in3)to help the student gain understanding of and satisfaction from the medium ofdrama“Philosophical Perspectives on Drama and the Curriculum”I have attempted to show that the contribution of drama to education dependson what general educational philosophy is in the air, or what status is given todrama as knowledge and on the degree and kind of authority a teacher canexploit.851983“The Activity of Dramatic Playing”It is perhaps in terms of structure that dramatic playing differs fundamentallyfrom symbolic play..the meaning which the teacher wants to draw out from a context is notnecessarily the meaning immediately available to the children. Thus a teacher’sresponsibility, if drama is to be used as a medium for learning, is to structurethe experience so that learning can take place.The most significant change in understanding through drama must be at thesubjective level of feeling. By ‘feeling’ I do not imply untethered emotion butas mentioned earlier, a ‘feeling-value’, that is, a feeling tied to judgment.I hope I have now made it clear that in terms of learning potential, dramaticplaying has the greatest educational value. Its strengths lie in the uniquerelationship it offers in combining theatrical structure (not outer shape, ofcourse) and a quality of spontaneous living that belong to both symbolic playand to games.“Drama as Negotiation ofMeaning”.it is wrong to regard the senses as pivotal in drama, for dramatic behaviour isa special state of mind.. .Metaxis is the capacity to hold two worlds in mind atthe same time, the actual and the fictitious. It is the special imaginative powerof dramatic behaviour that what is absent can be made present, ‘present’ in bothsenses of the term, in ‘time’ and in ‘space’.. .What is present is not displaced bywhat is absent - the stick the child is using as a sword is still solidly there as astick- but the present and absent object are in a dialectical relationship.What does being good at drama mean? First and foremost, it means having aneye for what is truthful, for the integrity of one’s own and other’s behaviourwithin the fictitious context. It means the ability to perceive the richness of asituation, to see many layers of meaning, many angles within perhaps aseemingly ordinary event. It means having a sense of dramatic form. It meansan ability to signal to others in the group effectively and economically. Itmeans having a sense of style in speech and movement.1984“Teacher-in-Role and the Learning Process”I have suggested there are two major functions of teacher-in-role: as problemposer and as artist. There are of course a number of extrinsic functions which ateacher may have to use his role for, such as keeping control, supporting186diffident pupils, making the fiction credible, extending vocabulary, developinga healthy attitude to drama, etc. In practice, these kinds of intentions may beuppermost in a teacher’s mind and indeed would have an important place in adiscussion of methodology, but they are not relevant to this paper. Teacher-in-role can, and indeed must whenever there is an opportunity, function at thelevel of symbolisation. .. Symbolisation refers to the deliberate use of time, spaceand objects to create a significance in the way a playwright, director or actorwould do. It is in attempting to describe the dramatic experience at this levelthat the concept of learning may not seem entirely appropriate, for it is to dowith the participants’ gaining a sense of form, picking up nuances, becomingaware. It implies a change in understanding at a deep affective level, in contrastto the greater cognitive application required of problem-solving or ofrecognising a change of perspective, the most effective use of teacher-in-rolewill of course combine the two.1985“Changes in Thinking about Drama in Education”Of all the arts, drama is a collective experiencing, celebrating, or commenting,not on how we are different from each other, but on what we share, on whatways we are alike.To encourage individual children to search for a dramawithin themselves is to distort the meaning of dramatic form. Drama is not selfexpression;it is a form of group symbolisation seeking universal, not individualtruths. Progressive educators throughout the century have been mistaken intheir view of drama as child-centred and self-expressive, and drama teachershave been foolish to believe them!Distancing is the key to understanding dram as education.Learning in drama is essentially a reframing. What knowledge a pupil alreadyhas is placed in a new perspective.Most educational institutions fail their pupils in developing naturalunderstanding. The need is urgent. We are not teaching pupils to cope with thecomplexities of relationships in a modern society; in future years drama maybecome one of the important means of dealing with this pressing concern.A Reply to Jon Nixon.Nixon begins to open up a philosophical perspective on drama teaching inconnection with which criticisms of leaders in the field, including myselfmight well be justified. He begins to write of the social content of the arts in away that suggests he means more than using drama as a springboard to helppupils to understand social and political issues. There is a hint that the shift ofL 87parameters for which he is searching requires the teachers to see drama associal and political. Now such a view is in keeping with a new wave ofthinking about drama education which has been emerging from new leaders inthe field over the past few years and with which people like me must come togrips.David Davis Interviews Gavin Bolton.dramatic playing has to be right and if the ingredients are not mixed right,then the moment which is supposed to be a moment of awe simply is whittledaway and we miss the chance, whereas in all the other forms (of drama) youare allowed to make mistakes, you can move in tentatively, your starting pointmay be one where you are only engaged superficially to begin with, andgradually get caught. In dramatic playing you’ve got to be fully engaged or elsenothing will happen..when children enter drama, they don’t intend to learn - indeed if they did,then this would undermine the drama altogether. The drama as such wouldnever start... So we have the strange situation whereby the learner in dramamust not have that as an intention. His real purpose must be to create adrama...***1986Weaving Theories is not EnoughWhat we need is an approach to all drama teaching, whatever the age group,that uses theatrical form.. .1 am not here talking about acting technique, butabout the very clay of the dramatic medium - to do with focus, symbolism,tension, resonance, ambiguity, contradiction, ritual, simplicity, simplicity,contrast, anticipation, resolution, completeness and incompleteness, humour,magic and metaxis, etc...***1987Off- TargetParticipants in drama need protection from experiences that are too painful.Drama needs protection from trivialization, the two are sometimes connected,for deliberate attempts to trivialize can be the participant’s defence mechanismagainst being hurt. Sometimes however, trivialization can be the norm, wherethere is a kind of unspoken agreement between class and teacher not to take188anything too seriously. By protection then, we do not mean protection fromemotion, but rather a carefully structured protection into emotion so thatparticipants are engaged but not threatened.1988Drama as Art• although conflict is usually present in drama, that is not what makes itdramatic, in fact the opposite applies. What is dramatic is the constraint on theexpression of conflict, or indeed on any unqualified expression of raw emotion.All art is concerned with the exposure of truths about ourselves and the worldwe live in. Now drama operates paradoxically: it seeks to expose truth bywithholding it. the more the exposure is delayed the more effective is ourunderstanding of it when it is finally expressed, and when it is revealed, thedrama, or that part of the drama is over.1992Piss on His FaceI believe that for too long some teachers have ignored ‘development in drama’as an important objective. Hornbrook has rightly drawn attention to this gap.I like David Hornbrook’s use of the term ‘text’ to cover a wide conception ofsomething that is made. However, whereas I believe process and product bothneed our attention, especially when it comes to evaluating, I’m afraid thatHornbrook appears to discount the former.I believe that Hornbrook is right that we and our pupils together shouldevaluate the drama work. I have been remiss in not tackling this issue...I believe Hombrook is right that a mystique has developed round the teachingof drama that invites teachers to feel they are failures.I believe Hombrook is right when he complains that not enough attention hasbeen given to helping those teachers who are involved in examination drama.I believe all theorising in drama should be drawn from practice. Hornbrook’spractice is empty of substantially new ideas; he does not have anything to offer189apart from widening the scope of theatre art and craft for examination students.A Balancing ActThere are two key features of my approach to drama education. One is that theteacher and pupils are fellow artists in a joint venture - finding the rightbalance between the contribution from each is what I am calling the balancingact; the other is that this joint venture is an engagement in meaning-making.The Changing RoomI have attempted to look at the changing aspects of reality in a spread ofcontexts extending from the actuality of a sense experience, through daydreaming to a social reality, continuing into dramatic art in its various forms,including children’s play, classroom dramatic behaviour, TIE (theatre ineducation) participation and Performance in a theatre. I have tried to show howsense or physical meanings become subordinate to social meanings in drama. Ihave suggested that the existential aspect of dramatic experiences is likeentering a room which changes as one invents it. I have suggested that thepurpose and structure all dramatic experiences have in common is theirmeaning-making through form..1 would go so far as to claim that ‘understanding form as a means ofmeaning-making’ is why we are teaching drama in schools.1993Writing a Book about Dorothy Heathcote c Dramatic Approach to Education‘Mantle of the Expert’ is not about pretending to be experts. It is a carefullygraded, task-oriented project that starts with whatever knowledge and skills thestudents already have (for instance, it would be reasonable to ask grade 2/3student in their collective role of being an educational consultancy to giveadvice - on behalf of some fictitious client - of what kinds of activities shouldbe catered for in a Kindergarten play area). From a confident start, the studentsmove forward to more complex tasks until they are ready to tackle thesubtleties and skills of investigating the problem of (Melvyn’s) truancy. Noticethis collective role. This is the key to setting up ‘Mantle of the Expert’ work:the baseline of the students’ activities is some kind of enterprise. Thisestablished, the work can go in any direction and any aspect of the curriculumcan be covered.190In(ter)ventionWho is the oneat the edge, watching?Who asked the first question?How did that glimpse(of you, well hidden)sneak out - allow itself a voiceUnexpected. Even you were surprised.Did the one who never lingersin past tense(s)step outside for just a momenthoping to be seen and remembered?And what of the one who says “only funny things,not important things,remain in my memory”did that onerunfrom the storynot wanting to be rewritten?We stopped together for a moment.Met. Searched. Questioned. Invented.Concealed.Revealed.Opened long-locked chambers.Punctured time with our probing.Now there is a space where we are boundpushing awaymoving closerI come between you and your storieswriting new stories.Laurie JardineSeptember, 1995191

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