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Dramanet Summary to 15th May

Dramanet Summary to 14th May

Kia ora koutou,

A fairly quiet time on our list recently until a sudden spike at the end of this second week of Term 2…Of course, quiet on the list means frantic in your classrooms and departments. Remember, we’re all here when you need us!

Here’s the major things you need to know, all summarised in one place to save you scrolling back through the ocean of emails in your inboxes.


Note Worthy:

The next 24 months will be an interesting time in education as the government moves to reprioritise the structures and funding behind professional learning and development across the country. The last Education Gazette featured two links in particular which I shared recently that are both well worth a read by everyone in the sector. Thanks also to Kim Bonnington for extending the discussion. More here.


A Primary Focus – for teachers of learners in Years 1-8:

My thanks to Mel Notley for this post which asked about integrating drama with her science focus on land forms forYears 4/5/6. This was a fantastic post and thanks must also go to those who suggested ideas for this via the list…  There are a wealth of ideas that emerge from this type of integrated focus and a range of drama conventions that work at (curriculum) levels 1-3(and even 4) to explore these through. As well as the suggestions to look at Mantle of the Expert to help, here are some thoughts I have had on the concept in thinking more about it:

  • Role on the Wall – exploring the job of ‘scientists’ (and other jobs/roles) who study land forms and changes in the land; extending to moving through the space in role playing with stance, posture, gestures and facial expression of a variety of roles involved in land form sciences – how do we communicate these roles/jobs/actions with our bodies and no voices? Extend to land forms as characters themself + object characters 'the tools of the trade'...
  • Hot Seating – whole class or groups exploring real-life or fictitious characters connected with land form events moments - people, objects, structures. Personal narratives from land forms; hazardous events etc…
  • Tableaux/Frozen Images – pair, group and class shapes depicting the physical structure and shape of land forms…look at levels, points of contact, focus... 
  • Writing in Role – a letter from a citizen to the council about…; a note from one scientist to another expressing concern over a discovery... (fictitious or factual and found in some research material); writing in the role of the land form itself (humanising the whenua) and expressing concern or joy over human activity in/on/around it…
  • Spoken Thoughts – copy and divide up some of the ‘writing in role’ work up, around the room (perhaps it focussed on one aspect/event within the study), all over the floor. Then, have students walk around the room to actions connected to the work called by the teacher; when freeze is called every student picks up a piece of paper and the teacher moves around the students, tapping them on the shoulder one at a time to speak the line aloud and trying to get the role across to everyone listening…

These could, of course, be worked up and/or watered down depending on the level being worked with. Also, for me School Journal articles and stories which use land forms as a focus would provide a great resource text to drive the explorations further too; with their characters, roles, settings, events/action and tension that could be explored more deeply through the above conventions.

I love the notion of drama being used as the deliberate pedagogy through which aspects of science – like land forms – and so many other areas of learning at the primary age can be made more 'active'. This is a great way of providing opportunities for students to really embody and enact what they are learning about; to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the topic… and let’s not forget, it’s fun!


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

  • Grant Lloyd was looking for dance streamers.
  • Lyndee Hurley sought advice regarding the stage floor requirements for Scholarship Drama.
  • Brent Morrison and colleagues were looking to make contact with others who are using innovative approaches to timetable and curriculum within modern learning environments.
  • Colin Hedivan was on the hunt for an Ass Head for a production. He later sent out this urgent mayday call after no responses were returned. I hope you were able to source what you needed Colin!
  • Amy Edwards was looking to borrow some copies of Revenge of the Amazons rather than the costly exercise of buying more books – thanks to the members of the community who were able to assist.
  • Jane Bennett was also looking to borrow x15 copies of Caucasian Chalk Circle for the duration of Term 2 – again, our thanks to those who were able to assist.
  • Erica Newlands was looking for recommendations for resources to support teaching and learning of Epic Theatre and Brecht.
  • Ellen Gardner sought clarification regarding 91220 (Drama 2.8) script a scene, and asked whether the task could be completed in a group or only by individuals. Thanks to Christine Morgan for pointing out:
    • this standard it must be completed on an individual basis.
  • Grant Waugh asked about the impact of poor miming in the performance of devised work for 90997, and what that means for making an assessment judgment.
  • Celia Mann asked if others would mind sharing their plans for Year 9 Drama programmes to gain some fresh/new inspiration at that level.
  • Ellen Gardner was also looking for where to get Toa Fraser’s Pure and Deep script from. Thanks to Toa himself for responding so quickly and – as always – for your endless support of teachers using your work in the classroom!
  • Scott Chalmers asked about the length required for both Drama 2.8 and Drama 3.8 scripting assessments. Thanks once again to Christine Morgan for your concise and factual response. 
    • To reiterate: at level two approx. 4-6 minutes of ‘performance’ should eventuate from the submitted script. However, in all cases at both level 2 and level 3 – the quality of the scripting itself should be the primary consideration for assessment.
  • Angie Wood asked about approaches to task writing that differs from the examples of TKI and possible alternative methods of delivery by students for 91217 (Drama 2.5) ‘Examine the work of a playwright’.
  • Gemma Carter was looking for inspiration for good scripts and play texts to use in Year 10 Drama programmes.
  • George Arthur asked for advice on how to determine the ‘substantial’ factor when assigning roles and assessing students against Level 3 standard 91517 ‘perform a substantial acting role in a significant production’. Thanks to those who provided advice here. 
    • To summarise: a substantial role is one with both breadth and depth and that provides the opportunity for the student to have sufficient time on stage 'active in performance'. This is not so much about lines said but about active performance moments. A chorus or ensemble group as required for many a significant production are still very much substantial in role even when they may have less ‘lines’ that ‘leading’ characters.
  • Dylan Frewin shared how helpful he had found our community as a first-year teacher in a rural area and then asked about combining Drama 3.8 (script) and 3.2 (devising). 
    • Unfortunately the same piece of work could not be used for assessment of both these standards as they look at different processes and outcomes. However, I did point out that the work developed through the process of one (devising for example) could then provide the springboard or stimulus for a new piece of work that is developed through the scripting lens and part of a larger rich context topic.
  • Kathryn Boyd asked for inspiration and ideas from people for the types of topics/themes schools have explored for their J Rock performances.
  • Kimberley Fridd shared this important message for all drama educators in the Otago/Southland areas who visit the Fortune Theatre. Please read and complete the required survey by Wednesday 18th May.


SGCNZ UOSWSF – Prop Support Requests:

There have been a few requests by teachers looking to minimise luggage issues when travelling to Wellington for the national festival in June. If any teachers/schools in Wellington can help with these requests, please contact senders directly…


Resources Shared:

  • Susan Battye advertised her Drama Magic products and services via Dramanet and reminded conference participants about their special offer.
  • Gail Denver from Maverick Musicals shared some of the top picks for school musicals in their catalogue of shows and productions.
  • Ben Moore shared this great BBC web resource on Costume.


EOTC & Live Performance Opportunities:

  • Bhavisha Patel has continued to keep us in the loop about Indian Ink’s touring production of The Elephant Thief which has begun. Some bookings may still be available. See details here.
  • Maria Lute shared information from LEARNZ enabling schools to have a virtual field trip experience with the NZ Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.
  • Peter Rees shared Unitec’s Shakespeare Season coming up in June and featuring productions of As You Like It and The Winter’s Tale. Details here.
  • Helen Sheehan shared details for Silo Theatre’s school matinee for Medea on 21st June, 11am. Details here.
  • Taylor Griffin from Simple Truth Theatre alerted us to the fact that tickets are now on sale for their season of Toa Fraser’s Bare at Auckland’s Pumphouse Theatre, May 26-28th. It later tours to Taupo and Palmerston North with public seasons and schools tours available. Details here.
  • Deanna Borren from The Basement Theatre in Auckland shared details about new-work, Thomus, written entirely in iambic pentameter, being performed at the Basement Theatre at the end of August. "Thomus looks at a modern world through the epic scope of Shakespearean drama; all from the point of view of a kiwi teen in Year 13". More here.
  • Ella Becroft from RED LEAP Theatre alerted subscribers to the Dust Pilgrim performance tour coming to Hamilton, New Plymouth and Wellington which is supported by an excellent education resource which targets 2016 examination specifications and is supported by a full recording of the piece. More here. (and here).
  • Tim Bray Productions advertised their July production of Bad Jelly the Witch with booking details, here.


Events and Workshops:

  • Morag Carter shared details of an opportunity to have fight choreography specialist, Alexander Holloway visit South Island locations in mid-May to hold workshops. This generated a lot of interest on the list.
  • Peter Rees shared the exciting news of Unitec’s awesome props making workshop opportunity for drama students and teachers coming up in July. Details here.
  • Lisa Brickell is offering a clowning workshop, June 5th & 6th in Albany, Auckland. Details here.
  • Youth Arts Space shared info for a performance and workshop series event, Matariki RhythmzDetails here.


Professional Learning and Development:

  • Drama New Zealand our national subject association for drama in education, held their annual conference in Wellington last month and by all accounts this was a huge success. The AGM which is traditionally part of the conference event also went ahead and the new national executive committee were introduced for the coming year. Again, our congratulations to the exec and the Wellington Branch conference committee for the work that went into bringing everyone together at the river.
  • An opportunity for teachers of Speech & Drama and Musical Theatre is coming to Christchurch and Auckland on May 28-29th.
  • NZQA Assessor Support is being provided in the form of a "Making Assessment Judgements" BPW in Auckland on Tuesday 14th June. Details and registration link, here.
  • Drama New Zealand Auckland Branch are hosting a PLD event titled “Arts Ed – Cross Over” on Friday 17th June at the Auckland Theatre Company rehearsal studios which brings together drama teachers, tertiary and industry practitioners for a night of networking and sharing practice(s). Registration details here.
  • For those in drama departments who offer Dance but do not have fully established or stand-alone dance departments, or for those who are HOFs or HODs with dance teaching staff in your departments – I shared the details of how to join the Dance Subject Association of New Zealand (DSANZ). Details here.


Professional Reading & Viewing:

  • A refreshing article outlining some of the questions and thought processes that are at play during the teaching as inquiry cycle was outlined, here.
  • The Arts Online Newsletter for April featured a guest editorial by Drama New Zealand Vice-President, Charles Bisley titled Rite of Passage looking at drama experiences and student responses to these as they transition to secondary educationSee it again, here.
  • David Chambers shared this great opinion piece by Philip Aldridge (which I saw doing the rounds on many social media feeds too) on the value of the arts in NZ.
  • I shared two readings: ‘How We’ve Got it All Wrong About The Arts’ and ‘Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth’ which made me think a great deal on the directions we are taking in education and the arts in education here. Read them here.
  • Susan Battye shared an article she wrote for the e-newsletter Tomorrow’s Schools Today NZ titled, Drama in the Classroom Moves Centre Stage. A great read! Find it again, here. Later, Susan also shared this report on theatre in the UK, What are Theatre’s Hopes and Fears for the Next 10 Years?
  • Kim Bonnington shared the Secondary Student Achievement Contract group’s National Newsletter: The Arts for Term 2.


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.


Kia pai to wiki – have a great week (Week 3 already!!!),


Dramanet Weekly Summary

Dramanet Weekly Summary

A weekly summary of activity on Dramanet