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Cormac McCarthy's The Road (IATL workshop)

IATL logoA practical workshop from IATL on Cormac McCarthy's The Road, led by Paul Bunyan and Ruth Moore - the authors and series editors of the Methuen Critical Scripts Teaching Activities - and introduced by Nicholas Monk. Open to all staff and students. To book, contact Further information can be found on the IATL's website:


"I try to dream the dreams if a child's imagining."

'What significance did you give to this phrase when writing the film script for The Road and how did you develop this idea throughout?'

'It's a very powerful idea: he [the Man] was so lost in the darkness, so mired in nightmare, chaos and despair, that the only thing left was to try and dream as if he were a child again. But it has a secondary meaning, which is that to relate to the Boy he has to try and imagine what's inside his head. And what's inside the Boy's head is completely different. The virtually unbridgeable chasm between the two is vertiginous. So it's a huge part of the story because it hints at their inner lives and how he tries to control them... as opposed to the endless struggle with the physical and elemental.'

(From an interview with Joe Penhall, screenwriter for The Road, published exclusively as part of the Methuen Drama Critical Scripts series)

Supported by published resources, the workshop will demonstrate how the development of critical thinking lies at the heart of good practice in Drama and English education. Focusing on Joe Penhall's critically acclaimed screenplay adaptation of The Road, participants will explore how active drama strategies promote the critical investigation of a challenging text and its adaptation across different dramatic media. The structured and active learning approaches used in the session are used to develop participant's ability to:

  • Analyse writers' complex techniques and skills
  • Understanding texts in a cultural and historical context
  • Understanding writers' intentions and choices of language, structures and ideas
  • Analyse the different contributions made by novelists, playwrights, directors, narrators
  • Analyse images, drama and literary techniques

Paul Bunyan is a Drama Education consultant with many years of school and local authority experience across all phases.

Ruth Moore is a Deputy Head Teacher with many years of Leadership and Drama and English teaching experience.

Both are national Drama in English experts who provide training and have written extensively on using Drama within English for the National Strategy, NATE publications and other published teaching materials.

Nicholas Monk is the author of a number of works on Cormac McCarthy, most recently an edited collection for Routledge, and he will be contributing to the forthcoming Cambridge Companion.