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"Living History" Projects

The Mantle of the Expert Network has extensive experience in history and heritage projects with young people. We have organised a number of successful projects for young people with funding from Awards for All and Birmingham City Council. We work closely on these projects with Professor Carl Chinn as historical consultant.

We have a particular interest in developing projects and activities which explore local history and heritage sites as a way of raising awareness of the legacy we all share, in the places where we live. 

Here are some projects by the Mantle Network. Some of them were devised in collaboration with Dorothy Heathcote. Click on each title for more details.

You can also find more projects on our sister website,

Birmingham Street Robins

How children from poor families in Victorian Birmingham were given the chance of a 'day out'

The Ballad of Beorminga

A verse drama by David Calcutt, about the ancient origins of the city of Birmingham; performed by local school children.


Cherokee Myths and Legends 

A schools project on the myths and legends associated with the Cherokee homeland

The Slave Trade

A local history project with Professor Carl Chinn, looking at the story of the anti-slavery campaigner Joseph Sturge.

The Chainmakers of Cradley Heath

The famous strike by women chainmakers in 1910. A local history project for schools with Professor Carl Chinn.

Who we are

Gill Adamson is an experienced primary school teacher, currently based at Kate's Hill Primary School, Dudley. She has worked extensively as an actor/teacher and director for theatre-in-education companies including Cockpit TIE and Midland Actors Theatre. Her work for MAT includes a number of schools projects devised in collaboration with Dorothy Heathcote. She was also co-director for two national tours of The Children by Edward Bond.

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Dr. David Allen is Artistic Director of Midland Actors Theatre. He has published numerous articles and books including Performing Chekhov  and Stanislavksi for Beginners. He undertakes regular schools projects with a particular focus on drama and history. He has been the team leader on four Erasmus+ Plus KA201 projects , working with partners across Europe, and focusing on Dorothy Heathcote's drama methods, including “Mantle of the Expert," The Commission Model” and "Rolling Role." See also: and He also runs the Facebook group, “The Commission Model of Teaching.”

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Iris Bertz is an artist with wide practical experience across the creative, education and business sectors, developing strategies not only to share skills and knowledge but also to forge links across sectors and across cultures. Iris has been a project developer and mentor for many artists and young people. She runs Bertz Associates, an arts and cultural organisation based in North West Birmingham. At the heart of her work is the dedication to the idea that everybody can be inspired to access education and training, maximise their opportunities and contribute to society. See and


Zak Hamza is currently Digital Film Maker at Opera North. He was previously Assistant Digital Producer at Channel 4, and Digital Content Producer at Eureka!, the National Children’s Museum. He is experienced in digital media production, editing, and the creation of organic and paid advertising for social media and marketing channels. He founded his own production company, "OLV Films." He has produced numerous films for the Mantle Network.

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Richard Kieran is in his 28th year of teaching. Fourteen of these have been as a Head teacher. He currently leads Woodrow First School in Redditch, serving an area of profound disadvantage. The school is acknowledged for its work using Mantle of the Expert. Richard has worked with teachers and children in schools across UK, Europe and the Middle East as well with ITT students in Birmingham, London, Leeds and Worcester. He has led teacher education exchange projects in Palestine and taught for four years at a Summer School for drama teachers in Jordan. He is at his happiest in the classroom asking questions he doesn’t know the answers to, constructing narratives and stories with children as well as working alongside the incredible team at Woodrow.


Iona Towler-Evans is a National Trainer in Heathcote’s pedagogies with over 30 years’ experience teaching with drama in schools. Over a twenty-year period, Iona planned and worked closely with Dorothy Heathcote, who assisted her in devising and reviewing (and occasionally teaching alongside her), as Iona taught using both the Commission and Mantle of the Expert approaches. More recently, in addition to leading training with teachers and writing, she has been researching and evaluating these approaches in schools. In particular, she has used the Commission Model in long-term projects in Wales in both primary schools and in a further education college.

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