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Dramanet Summary to 21st November

Dramanet: Summary to 21st November

"Time waits for no man..." especially us drama teachers, huh?! Sorry for the slackness on my part recently in getting these to you but November has certainly seen the march of time power through at full-force, for sure! This summary is the combination of what I have counted to be some 924 emails through the list-serve to-date this month – impressive work from the nearly 750 of you who subscribe, post, read, or just lurk (yes you!) on the list…Thank you all!

So here’s what been going down – enjoy!


Note Worthy:

  • Letters to a first-year you …is a touching and timely thread which I was inspired to put out there by a recent talk I gave at the University of Auckland to the out-going class of secondary drama teacher trainees. I have been warmed this week reading the beautifully articulate notes that have been posted by some of you since (special thanks to Amy for getting that ball rolling…) and hope more of you will share your gems of advice and reflection into the coming week too – men, it would be great to hear your perspectives! Follow them all at the link above and like many have suggested – print them and put them somewhere you’ll look often!
  • In other news worthy of note, David Chambers raised the robust and respectful debate many of you contributed to,“Are YOU ready for a Showdown?” This raised some great points for me around celebration (vs.) (and) competition (vs.) (and) collaboration. While, all responses have been insightful to review, if there is one response I can particularly point all subscribers to it would be the one from Leigh Sykes who pointed out the things our colleagues in Dance (a community many of us are also a part of) does to emphasise celebration and collaboration in the art form with less focus on competition. Food for thought….

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

  • I canvased experiences and opinions from subscribers on their thoughts around additional/extra/study-leave tutorialsfor external standards in Drama.
  • Paul Willis and Nicole Eichstaedt were seeking suggestions for musicals which can be staged with the use of backing tracks/pre-recorded music; without the need for live performed music from a show band or orchestra.
  • Brent Morrison asked about combining work towards 3.4 (theatre form) and 3.6 (production) – thanks to those who contributed to ideas here.
  • Leigh Sykes asked what DVD creation software people were using to prepare Scholarship Drama materials.
  • Tracey Dwyer asked how teachers were incorporatingstorytelling into work they assess for 1.1 (90006)?
  • Tim Dagger asked about combining 91515 and 91516.Thanks to NZQA for providing an answer to this one and thank you Tim for asking the question – good luck with the project!
  • Celia Mann share her Year 9 term plan for her course but was keen to have more ideas shared about how to engage (often shy) reluctant participants in order to increase Year 10 numbers the following year – thanks for starting this one Celia, it’s  great to have a thread focussed on junior programmes!
  • Richard Conlon, a UK playwright contacting us all the way from the ever-cooling north, generously shared how teachers can access and download a free copy of his new play, Brothers in Arms which targets a young cast and explores WWI as its core theme. I took him up of the offer and enjoyed reading his work. Thank you Richard!
  • Emily Miller-Matcham was seeking advice for the new black-box space she is getting at her school – discussions around wall colours followed. Always a great thread and topic to read for people exploring specialist drama space upgrades and developments at their schools. Read the discussions here.
  • Sandra Mohekey had some play script sets to give away. Thanks this generous offer to the community Sandra.
  • We discussed the format and content of the NCEA Level Three drama external examinations. For theatre form, here. For live performance, here. Thanks for all the contributions to this one – we look forward to discussing the level two and level one examinations in due course as well.
  • Amy Edwards asked about pairing 1.5 with 1.6 or 1.1 and for suggestions for good realism texts for year 10 students.
  • Jane Larsen was on the lookout for suggestions from teachers for purchasing a class set of chairs which are both neutral for use on stage but also durable for classroom use when required.
  • Rosie Moxey asked, regarding Melodrama and assessment 1.4, if students need to complete a whole melodrama with all its characters included or is a scene with just two characters okay?
  • Marcus Stewart raised a thread about digital assessmentand whether schools are using Office365 or Google Apps for Education or (insert other here…) in their programmes. I, for one, am a huge GAFE supporter and avid user. If anything, so far the responses reveal significantly that this usually in a school comes down to school management and teaching staff majority ‘personal preferences’ and the school-wide applied uses for the platform but is well worth reading always to hear those many different ways digital platforms and devices for learning are being incorporated into drama programmes and schools. Thanks Marcus!
  • Lyndee Hurley asked about combining 3.8, 3.9 and 2.6.

Events, EOTC & Live Performance Opportunities:

  • Taylor Griffin at Simple Truth Theatre alerted us to Toa Fraser’s BARE, which will be produced by their young emerging theatre company at The Pumphouse in Auckland, 25th – 28th May; consisting of several evening public shows as well as a series of schools matinee performances which is the main focus of the production including workshops and interaction for high school students! More details here.
  • Julia Campbell announced The Lord Lackbeards Touring Company will be touring Hamlet and Ophelia Thinks Harder around the North Island in May 2016! More details here.
  • Gillian Payne shared that Titirangi Theatre in West Auckland were looking for a director for their youth production to be staged in April 2016.
  • Shiro Binks shared a reminder for Waikato drama teachers about the Waikato Junior Shakespeare Festival coming up on Monday 30th November, 10am.
  • It was great to hear from Ella Becroft at Red Leap Theatre Company, their newly appointed Education and Outreach Manager who shared a flier showing the range of ways RED LEAP can work with and support drama programmes, teachers and students.  
  • Marama from AAF shared the final three shows making up the theatre programme for the Auckland Arts Festival 2016.
  • Bridget Donovan asked: “Do you have a fabulous 13, 14, 15 year old student who would like to audition for this amazing opportunity?” …to perform in the new work Te Pō to be produced as part of the AAF offerings in Marc h 2016.
  • Bhavisha Patel from Indian Ink Theatre invited subscribers to the preview night for their new work The Elephant Thiefon Friday 4th December, 8pm. Details here.
  • Must Be Dreaming Productions shared the a cast of 12-17 year old students from a range of high schools in the greater Wellington region who will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at BATS Theatre. What an amazing project! Details and ticketing information here.
  • K.C. Kelly added Wellington to the list, with some specific dates for their area to book for the upcoming tour of Ensemble Impact’s The Power Plays and Eglantyne. We also read what we actually do by supporting Ensemble Impact, here.
  • Tim Bray productions were looking for two adult or young adult performers to play minor (unpaid) acting roles in their upcoming The Santa Claus Show 2015Details here.
  • Paul Collins shared the opportunity for teachers and students in the Whanganui, Manawatu and Taranaki areas to see an outdoor performance of Macbeth in the botanical gardens with a schools performance scheduled for Thursday 11th February. More details here.
  • Aaron from Youth Arts Space shared the upcoming workshops for senior students to be involved with in December and January. I’ve had students from Years 11 and13 involved in earlier YAS workshops back in April this – they are outstandingly operated, multi-disciplinary events with fantastic industry partnerships. My girls took a lot away from their experience with YAS so I highly endorse these FREE additional opportunities for our students to take part in.
  • Rita Stone, artistic director at YASC shared the exciting news that the Young Auckland Shakespeare Company production of Much Ado About Nothing will return to play at the Pop-Up Globe in for two shows only in February 2016.Details and audition notices here.

Professional Development Opportunities and Workshops:

  • A highlight recently has been the announcement of the Drama New Zealand national conference for 2016, “Meet Me at the River” to be hosted by our Wellington branch and their call for presenters which closes on Monday 30thNovember. It’s awesome to see such a variety of presentation options being designed and crafted for this conference in April. Our thanks in advance for the work completed so far, and for the work that will continue to be put in to this conference by the organising committee in Wellington. Thank you all! Delegate registrations will open 1st February 2016.
  • New NZQA moderator’s newsletters were shared and include two new publications – one targeting Drama standards and the other focussing on Performing Arts Technology standards. Details and links to view these, here.

Employment Opportunities:

  • Avondale College in Auckland are advertising for a Head of Drama which was shared on the list. Details here.
  • An Arts Facilitator position is available on the Secondary Student Achievement Contract with Team Solutions.

In the Spotlight: “A Primary Focus:

This week I'd like to share a link for our primary drama educator community to a 'case study' from our Learner Examples section of the Arts Online website. It is the time of year when many primary schools will be looking to the ‘drama staff member’ (if they’re lucky enough to have you...) to put on the school’s Christmas concert or whole-school “production” - this link looks at how one school did this: 

  • WHOLE SCHOOL DRAMA: This case student was developed by Evelyn Mann in consultation with teacher Bonnie Leask (Half Moon Bay School, Stewart Island) for the children of Half Moon Bay School, Stewart Island. All 28 children in the school were involved in the drama – from new entrants to year 8.

While it deals with a completely different context, the structure and method of developing a school drama showcase can be easily applied to frameworks such as “The Christmas Story”; “Christmas Celebrations around the World” or “The Kiwi Christmas” as just three possible examples. Check it out and even if you don’t go full-hog with a school production – the ideas provide great suggestions for fun, active and engaging drama lessons to see the year through…


As always, 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.


Ngā mihi me na manaakitanga,

Ryan Benjamin

Arts Online Community Facilitator - Dramanet

Dramanet Weekly Summary

Dramanet Weekly Summary

A weekly summary of activity on Dramanet