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Dramanet Summary to 28th September

Dramanet Summary to 28th September

Sitting here at home over-looking a splendid view of Papakura/Takanini as these first ‘day light savings’ evenings kick in, seeing a much less crowded evening southern motorway – of course it’s the holidays – and knowing that many of you, I hope, are beginning to unwind and enjoy some well-earned time-for-you!

What a hectic couple of weeks those last two in the lead up to the end of term were!?! I have to apologise too for my lack of contact recently but I do hugely appreciate those of you who have kept the conversations in our community humming along (and they have!!) brilliantly! As a result, this summary, to take us into the term break is a bulky one. Here’s how it all went down… 

Note Worthy:

A few snippets which I will draw to your attention:

  • I shared and explained the purpose of the Arts Online homepage feature which in September highlights an aspect of interest for drama educators. This month’s pick was some footage produced by Red Leap Theatre Company which secondary teachers might find useful to share with student’s who saw their recent production of Dust Pilgrim. Do let me know if there’s something you’d like to see appear here in the future!
  • K.C. Kelly’s argument “They got some ‘splainin’ to do…” – as always, provided food for thought and stimulated some good discussions both on and off the list serve.
  • It’s always awesome to read of success in our field and this was particularly true of David Chambers’ post as he reported that the Wakatipu High School Drama team won the premium Theatre New Zealand roll of honour award for Best Overall Production in 2015! Congratulations again to Kate Moetaua and her cast of 16 Wakatipu High School students for their production of Bang Bang You're Dead at the one act play THEATREFEST. Thanks too to David for shining light on this great news!

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

  • Luke Walton was keen to receive some numbers to crunch in relation to the number of senior male students taking part in drama programmes at single-sex high schools throughout New Zealand. Thanks to those who responded via Dramanet, or who contacted Luke directly – I am sure we’d all love to read about the findings and results of your investigation Luke, once these are available.
  • Jennifer Gregg asked what people thought of students creating their own piece of Epic Theatre as evidence for Drama 2.4 instead of using a pre-existing text. This received some good responses and posed some questions and challenges that a well-worth reading too.
  • Bridget Donovan thanked the community for helping her with ideas for technologies and symbolism in Elizabethan Theatre for her level three students in the theatre form external assessment.
  • Luke Devery, after no response the first time, double checked again reiterating his question about whether it was okay for a student to write a one-hander/monologue for evidence for Drama 3.8 – thanks to Emma and Jo for piping up on this one.
  • Charley Davenport, the Wellington Ambassador for “Boosted” - the Arts Foundation’s crowd-funding division - shared a wealth of resources, links and welcomed contact from teachers and the wider sector to address ways they can share their experience and practices.
  • Kerryn Palmer shared the Victoria University/Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School survey to canvas what interest there may be in post-grad training and education in Theatre. The survey closes September 30th – it would be great for as many teachers as possible to complete this. It only took me 10 minutes which I even managed to squeeze out of my chaotic last week of term!
  • Drama New Zealand released a survey asking teachers how and why they are or are not utilising the Performing Arts Technology assessment matrix in their programmes as a preface to some specialised/targeted professional development opportunities in the pipe-line for the future. Please complete this survey as the more information our subject association has regarding our wants/needs, the better provision they can make for valuable professional development opportunities in the future!
  • Annetta Zelley sought clarification around the possible inclusions/exclusions for ‘language features’ which are part of the assessment specifications for this year’s level two theatre form external examination.
  • Samantha Boyce-Da Cruz asked if anyone has tried doing first person/interactive/immediate/ immersive theatre with students?
  • Shiro Binks from Hillcrest High School reminded Waikato teachers about the Waikato Junior Shakespeare Festival coming up on November 30, starting at 10am.
  • Emily McRae sought advice around using more of the Performing Arts Technology standards during students’ involvement in the major school production. Thanks to Bridget Crooks and Stacey Harrison for your insights here.
  • Celia Mann ask how others are using digital technology with their junior classes in drama as she prepared for BYOD at her school in 2016. In the same vein, I also shared a discussion thread from Dancenet which highlighted some controversial ‘findings’ of a UK study which claims computers do not improve results – thanks to those who responded to both discussions with ideas and debate and particular thanks to Kim Bonnington for her thorough unpacking of the issues at play on this topic.
  • Katy van Deventer asked for ideas of some good Year 10 - Year 13 texts, books, websites or resources you can’t live without. Share your suggestions with the list as many teachers in charge and HODs begin to prepare budget requests for 2016 over the coming weeks! Speaking of…Philip Biddlecombe also asked for advice for purchasing blackout curtains.
  • Emily Miller-Matcham asked if anyone had any good tips/advice/resources/reflections about teaching Level 1, 2 student in combined, multi-level classes. Thanks for all responses so far.
  • Maggie Marriner asked a series of questions to clarify requirements and conditions for students being assessed against Drama 2.6 and 3.6. Kate Davison also had a question about Level Two acting role.
  • Rachel Singh asked about using a different text/title and playwright to those listed in the prescribed lists for level three theatre for external assessment 91514. Just to clarify, it is completely fine, provided the text provides enough ‘meat’ for the range of assessment specifications examined, for teachers to use play titles other than those already listed by the prescribed playwrights. However, all plays/titles selected for study for 91514 do need to come from those playwrights listed.

Events, EOTC & Live Performance Opportunities:

  • Jeanette Howe shared information about the new and inaugural Children’s Film Festival coming to Auckland for 3-15 year olds with more details here.
  • Renee Liang reminded Wellington teachers that two productions are open for bookings at BATS Theatre, with The Quiet Room September 24th – October 3rd, and then Bubblelands October 13th-17th.
  • K.C. Kelly also promoted the EnsembleImpact schools tour for 2016 which is taking bookings now. He also outlined the programme for Arthur Meek’s POWER PLAYS further, here.
  • Peter Rees shared details of the Unitec Performing and Screen Arts interactive open evening on Thursday 22nd October 5pm-7pm at their Mt Albert Campus.
  • The Hawkin’s Youth Theatre Company in Papakura has a production of Grimm Stories by David McPhail coming up 1-4th October. Ticket details here.
  • The Lord Lackbeards Touring Company will be touring Hamlet and Ophelia Thinks Harder around the North Island in May 2016.
  • Carving in Ice Theatre is presenting a series of staged readings of three contemporary plays under the banner of ‘Fractures’ in Hamilton. Thanks to Gaye Poole for sharing. More details here.
  • Bhavisha Patel from Indian Ink Theatre Company shared information about the company’s upcoming production of new work, The Elephant Thief, which has its premiere in Hamilton this December, and also their May/July 2016 national tour for teachers to consider when planning EOTC. Details here.
  • Michelle Johansson alerted subscribers to a production of Aristophanes’ The Frogs coming up on October 15th and 16th at 7.30pm out at the Creative Arts Faculty at MIT in Otara, Auckland. The production is an exciting collaboration between Wesley College, the Black Friars and MIT’s Creative Arts Faculty. Get along!
  • Whetu Silver shared Auckland Theatre Company’s Term 4 education programme. Details here.

Professional Development Opportunities and Workshops:

  • Drama New Zealand announced an exciting opportunity in the form of a Workshop and Keynote speaker opportunity for Drama New Zealand Members and Teachers as part of the International Applied Theatre Symposium: The Performance of Hope which runs November 9th- 11th at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland. Further details in the link and there is also a special offer for teachers – see here for more info.
  • NZQA, in response to Dramanet member requests, are holding a dedicated “Making Judgements” Best Practice Workshop for the Performing Arts Technology standards on Tuesday 20th November in Auckland. This is filling up really fast which is awesome! Details and a link to register here.
  • The Drama New Zealand Scholarship Drama Workshop for teachers and students in Wellington is coming up on Saturday 17th October after successful workshops already held in the Hawkes’ Bay and Canterbury regions.
  • Drama New Zealand are also holding a Term Four Workshop for teachers in Hamilton/Waikato on Wednesday 21st October 4-8pm, looking at Scholarship know-how, junior programming, NCEA prep and much more! Details here.

Professional Reading/Viewing:

  • Susan Battye shared a fascinating overview of the place of drama in education and the organisation of drama subject associations in Nordic countries. Thanks to Bianca Till too for her endorsement of the reading!
  • Emma Bishop shared the Term 3 newsletter for Drama New Zealand which includes profiles on the national executive team and much more.

In the Spotlight: “A Primary Focus”

Mark Jensen, specialist drama teacher at Northcross Intermediate School, recently wrote a wonderfully reflective editorial for the Education Gazette, All Stuff 'n' Nonsense: Northcross Intermediate drama road trip energises learning. 

The piece is a wonderful depiction and example of the 'teaching as inquiry' model in action within a Drama context! I'd encourage everyone to explore his reflection of what seems to have been an awesome experience for the students, himself, the school and community alike. Highly recommended read for our whole community as educators too.


This summary will be uploaded to the Dramanet VLN group and our Twitter feed @ArtsOnline1. To access any of the threads on the Arts Online website archive simply type the username “artsonline” and the password “mailinglist” to do this.

Have an awesome break everyone – even if it will never quite be a ‘holiday’! Whatever you have planned, do make some time for you too, please!


Naku noa na,

Ryan Benjamin

Arts Online Community Facilitator - Dramanet

Dramanet Weekly Summary

Dramanet Weekly Summary

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