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Dramanet Weekly Summary: 29th June to 10th July

Dramanet Weekly Summary: 29th June to 10th July

Dramanet has been very active during this first week of the break and indeed over the final week of term as well! It has been a while since your last summary so this digest is a big one.  I’ll aim to get these out every Friday morning, so for those of you who like to let the inbox pile up until that word “summary” appears in the subject line – Friday’s the day to watch out for that one!  I’ll also be updating the new Dramanet VLN group with these summaries each week for those who want to read the summary of activity but might struggle with logging into the AOL Dramanet archive

So what’s been happening, you ask? Well here we go…

Note Worthy:

  • The Wales’ curriculum review which will see Arts Education take a leading role was a hot topic on social media with thousands of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ – find it here.
  • Kim Millwood wanted input into some good questions for constructing student voice surveys. Kim Bonnington shared her thoughts and attached a great document which included a range of question provocations and prompts. I am really keen to explore this thread further – so please, this week, share the types of things you do to canvas students on how the year is going for them in drama – both formally and informally. A great chance to give us a quick one-line response if you’re a first-time contributor to Dramanet.
  • Public consultation for the refined Level 1 and Level 2 Vocational Pathways standards will close on July 15th. Find consultation material and have your say here.

He Reo Āwhina, He Reo Tautoko: A voice of help and support…

  • Kim also asked about using Toa Fraser’s Bare as a class performance opportunity for students and Toa himself confirmed that he does not charge schools for performance licences when they seek the rights to perform Bare – thanks for your encouragement and support of drama in schools and this generosity, Toa!
  • Stephanie Cooke was looking for someone to replace her in adjudicating the Theatre Federation NZ’s Northland Festival for one act plays on the 25th July in Dargaville. Stephanie is also seeking feedback for her level 2 devising.
  • Kate Moetaua asked about performance rights for Bang Bang You're Dead by William Mastrosimone.
  • Emily Miller-Matcham thanked Drama New Zealand for sending Emma to the Hawkes Bay to run the Survivor Drama workshop with teachers there.  Responses also continued around Emily’s thread about House Events.
  • Ellen Gardner sought feedback about students concealing the face during an assessment.
  • Susan Hayworth took advantage of the break to say a few things, including the recommendation for using Michael Galvin's play War Hero which is about Archibald Baxter as a particularly engaging piece for senior boys.
  • Susan Battye is writing a resource for Mervyn Thompson’s play, Children of the Poor and seeks formative feedback from teachers about how they use the text in their drama teaching and learning contexts. Thanks to all who have given voice to this thread so far!
  • The ever-eloquent K.C Kelly spoke to ‘sustainability’.
  • Angela Harland clarified some protocols for those utilising the collective internal moderation folder on Google Drive.
  • Erica Newlands from Paraparaumu asked how people are interpreting the Level Three assessment specs for the live performance external, particularly the about “overall director’s message for the performance”.
  • Tim Dagger was keen to find out where people source their school/practice exams from. I’m sure this will become an increasingly popular thread as secondary teachers head into term three – the term of (if not actuals then at least preparation for) formative, mock, preliminary, derived-grade, practice, internal, school, or [insert alternative exam function here] examination rounds!! 

Events, EOTC & Live Performance Opportunities:

  • Helen Sheehan from SILO alerted us to the 70 seats for the sold out schools matinee performance of The Events in Auckland on Tuesday 8th September which had become available.
  • Sally Barnett advised Wellington teachers of The Conch's new theatre work The White Guitar which will be holding two schools matinees on September 3rd and 4th at 11am. Bookings are available at $15 per student (teachers are free) and includes Q&A after the show. Find out more about the show here.
  • Craig Atkins from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School advertised their open week opportunity for students running from Monday 13th – Friday 17th July, next week.
  • Diana Cabel from the Young and Hungry Arts Trust invited our community to the preview festival of new theatre performance at BATS in Wellington last night and reminded teachers in the area to take students to the festival running 10th-26th July. 
  • Deanna Borren invited Auckland drama teachers to attend a dress rehearsal / public preview performance of the play STOMACH by Amelia Reynolds and Saraid Cameron prior to its schools tour on Sunday 26 July, 5.30pm - 7pm at the Basement Theatre.

Professional Viewing / Reading:

  • Engaging the Mind vs. Engaging the Hearts of our learners – this reflection from Alana Madgwick, our Secondary Literacy facilitator, which looks at concepts raised at a recent Pasifika symposium Alana attended. It has many connections for the drama education community and our core business.
  • All three video clips to Nick’s “Wise Heads Speak” series can still be viewed and accessed, here.
  • Yesterday, I shared an extended reading unpacking the features of ‘quality’ and ‘excellence’ in arts education, and explained through many lenses. Check it out, here.

Professional Development Opportunities and Workshops:

  • Gillian Payne at Team Solutions advised Auckland, Northland and Central-North new and beginning drama teachers of NCEA Levels 1 - 3 of a PLD workshop in August. You can read the details of the workshop here and can register to attend, here.
  • Belinda Meares, from Natural Movement & Creative Wellbeing will be in Auckland on Sunday 26th July and in Christchurch on August 16th to facilitate more InterPlay, following her successful March playshop at TAPAC, attended by speech and drama teachers and actors.
  • Emma Bishop reminded Primary and Secondary subscribers about the Drama New Zealand Auckland branch workshop called, Digi-fy Your Drama which I will be facilitating at UNITEC on 12th August from 5.30-7.30pm before the DNZ Auckland Branch AGM straight after.  
  • MASSIVE Company are holding a FREE, whole-day workshop for teachers in Auckland on Friday 27th November. I’ve booked my spot – hope to see many of you there!

In the Spotlight: “A Primary Focus”:

The Arts Online team are keen to highlight, increase and broaden connections with our primary arts and drama colleagues (who may well also be members of dramanet).  Recently, I have been going through all our amazing drama content on AOL – there on the TRE, I stumbled across this unit plan called “Disasters”, originally shared by Fiona Murdoch in 2006.

  • It explores, through a range of activities at Curriculum Levels 1 and 2 “how people might respond in times of natural Disaster” and covers all four learning strands. It could be easily changed and adapted for other levels or is otherwise ready to ‘pick up at go’. 
  • If you are a primary or intermediate teacher or practitioner out there and have used this plan or any of its suggested activities before, OR if you’ve explored natural disasters as a context in a different way in your drama or arts programme(s), please share how it went and what you did. It would be great to hear from our colleagues teaching Years 1-8 more regularly! Join in!


A special mention to the many members of our drama education community who have travelled to Australia to take part in “GAME CHANGER” the Drama Australia/Drama New Zealand combined international conference at NIDA in Sydney. DNZ President, Emma Bishop, who attended the pre-conference opening day at NIDA yesterday reports, a great day at Game Changer pre-conference day with Everyday Theatre. We are getting hassled already about our accents. Wish everyone was here!”  We, of course, look forward to hearing everyone’s reflections on their return via Dramanet over the coming weeks.


My thanks to everyone who has posted or asked a question over this past week and a bit. For those who didn’t or have not yet, I look forward to highlighting your contribution or question (or joke, or anything you do share…hint, hint!) in the next summary – be brave, join the korero! Nau mai!


Kia pai tō mutunga wiki!

Ryan Benjamin

Arts Online Community Facilitator - Dramanet

Dramanet Weekly Summary

Dramanet Weekly Summary

A weekly summary of activity on Dramanet