Ref: Bray (2019) ‘Using participatory drama workshops to explore children’s beliefs, understandings and experiences of coming to hospital for clinical procedures’.

AIM: Improvised drama workshops were used with 7-14 year olds to find out what would help them have a more positive experience.


A drama teacher explained four scenes depicting minor injuries which involved a hospital visit ( e.g. for X-rays or a scan) prepared by researchers. There followed three activities:

  1. Groups of children chose a scene, allocated roles and then acted the scene out
  2. Focused improvisation was added to scenes with attention to the journey to the hospital, waiting for the procedure; having the procedure and after the procedure
  3. Children were asked to pretend to be one of the characters in their drama and answer questions from the other children from that character’s point of view.

A visual note taker prepared a large mural of the drama and activity surrounding to record information about the activity.  Researchers also took notes as they observed.


Children portrayed themselves as having a small presence in the experience of the hospital visit and feeling marginalised by health professionals and parents. Two themes emerged from the data generated from their drama improvisations:

Children were able to demonstrate that they wanted to have a presence and be actively involved in conversations and in the management of their care.