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Lewis Carroll in Llandudno 

Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Dodgson) was the famous Victorian author of the much-loved stories Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Both stories involve Alice entering a strange world filled with peculiar characters.

The character of Alice was inspired by Lewis Carroll's friends' daughter Alice Liddell. The Liddell family had a holiday home in the seaside town of Llandudno in Wales. Lots of local people enjoy imagining Lewis Carroll visiting his friends and getting ideas for his stories from unusual characters and strange goings-on he encountered in Llandudno.

The town has commemorated its connection to the Alice stories with a sculpture trail. Artist Simon Hedger carved wooden sculptures of characters from both Alice books for the trail.

Llandudno

Llandudno

Llandudno General Hospital (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board)

What adventures do you think the real Alice might have had in Llandudno?

 

Tenniel's illustrations and Hedger's sculptures

Cartoonist John Tenniel drew the illustrations for the Alice stories when they were first published, and although other artists illustrated later editions, Tenniel's pictures are still the best known.

Simon Hedger was inspired by Sir John Tenniel's illustrations when he made these sculptures.

  • Do you think they look similar?
  • What do you know about these characters?
  • Do you think Simon Hedger has managed to capture the personality of each character?

The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit

illustration for 'Alice's Adventure in Wonderland' (detail), 1865–1957, woodblock cut by Dalziel Brothers (after John Tenniel), compared with 2012, wood carving by Simon Hedger

The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts

illustration for 'Alice's Adventure in Wonderland' (detail), 1865–1957, woodblock cut by Dalziel Brothers (after John Tenniel), compared with 2012, wood carving by Simon Hedger

The Hatter

The Hatter

illustration for 'Alice's Adventure in Wonderland' (detail), 1865–1957, woodblock cut by Dalziel Brothers (after John Tenniel), compared with 2012, wood carving by Simon Hedger

Pose like a sculpture

Assign each student one sculpture. Ask them to look closely at their sculpture and focus on the character's pose.

 

Pose questions

  • Are they standing, sitting or crouching?
  • Is their back straight or slouched?
  • Where are their hands placed? And their feet?
  • Are they looking at something?
  • What expression do they have on their face?
  • What are they thinking about?
  • How do they feel?

Now copy your character's pose and stay perfectly still and silent, like the sculpture.


Drama games

Take a walk

Ask the students to walk around the room as themselves. Every time you clap, they must freeze in their sculpture position.

Tableau time

In groups, create frozen pictures – tableaux – with the characters in their poses, but arranged to look like they are interacting with each other. What might these characters say to each other?

Walk and talk

Ask the students to walk around the room as themselves. When they hear you clap, they must shout aloud what they think the character might say (the Queen of Hearts might shout 'Off with their heads!').

Take the activity further by introducing new instructions. For example, every time you hear a clap:

  • start to walk like your character
  • sit down in character
  • stop and have a conversation with another character in the room

 

Play the tea party game

Pick one student to be Alice and secretly assign characters to five other students. Ask them to think about their characters and what traits they might have (for example, the White Rabbit might wiggle their nose, check their watch and move quickly). Together, the six will improvise a tea party scene and Alice must guess which character each person is playing. If Alice has difficulty guessing, ask the rest of the class to help by asking the characters hot-seat questions such as 'are you big or small?' or 'are you an animal or a human?'

Extension activities

Explore character further

To encourage students to continue thinking about characters in a text, try hot-seating exercises: act out a scene from the text or ask students to write their own play based on the text.

Create your own artworks

Investigate works of art inspired by the Alice stories and illustrations. Create your own artworks that express a character's personality or reveal parts of their story.

Artworks inspired by the Alice stories


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