How do you get all the participants in a workshop involved in a role play? One easy way is parallel lines. With parallel lines you can engage every participant in a one-on-one role play. There’s a lot of energy, nobody is sitting on the sidelines, and with a good debriefing everyone can learn from the experiences of the whole group.
Click here for a guide on running parallel line role plays from Training for Change.
Click here for an additional TfC guide on facilitating role plays of various kinds.
We’ve used parallel lines a wide range of role plays:
Animal lovers trying to intervene on someone beating a dog;
A college roommate from a minority group trying to explain his concerns to his clueless mainstream roomie;
A facilitator trying to deal with an angry workshop participant at the break who felt they’d been unfairly cut off in the group;
A mediator trying to make first contact with a rebel leader to invite to peace talks.
You could go on and on with ideas for role plays depending on the kind of skills the workshop is designed to develop or enhance.
If you have a co-facilitator and there is an odd number of participants, the co-facilitator can jump into the line and be part of the role play. That may be necessary if you are working alone, but isn’t so easy.