The outline of a body is drawn on a large sheet of paper, which is stuck onto the wall. This can be as simple as a drawing of a gingerbread man or the teacher can carefully draw around one of the participants lying on a roll of paper. Alternatively you can project an image onto the paper and draw around the silhouette.

Words or phrases describing the character are then written directly onto the drawing or stuck on with sticky notes. This drama technique can be carried out as a group activity or by individuals writing about their own character. You can include known facts such as physical appearance, age, gender, location and occupation, as well as subjective ideas such as likes/dislikes, friends/enemies, opinions, motivations, secrets and dreams.

  • You can vary the approach, for example known facts can be written around the silhouette, and thoughts and feelings inside
  • Key lines spoken by the character can be added
  • The class can return to add more ideas, thoughts and feelings as they discover more about the character over time
  • Sticky notes can be moved around and grouped thematically
  • Role on the wall can be used as a way to develop ideas for improvisation or rehearsal
  • The approach can be used for historical people or for creating fictional characters
  • The strategy works well in combination with other approaches such as hot-seating

Download a template of a gingerbread man to use for your own Role on the Wall activities.