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Creative ID: 006

Art form(s): Theatre.

Based in: Wellington.

When I'm available: I am available Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout 2020. Although I could adapt my availability if the fit was right with a school.

Where I'm available: I am happy to travel anywhere in Wellington and as far as Plimmerton or Lower Hutt.

My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)

I have an MA in Acting from ArtsEd, London and have spent the last 20 years working as an actor, writer and producer. I have worked in professional theatre companies and smaller independent companies performing in a vast array of styles. For my theatre company I have written and toured seven plays throughout New Zealand, Scotland and Australia.

As a writer I am very interested in delving into history and giving voices to women. I have written plays about Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen and the female convict settlers in Australia. Last year I adapted the book RANTS IN THE DARK for the stage and the show has been touring New Zealand to great acclaim.

I have also worked with verbatim theatre, contemporary comedy and written many plays with children. I see working with young people as part of my creative practice and have been a teaching artist for the past 15 years.

My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with

I have a Masters Degree in Acting from ArtsEd in London and a BA in Theatre Studies and English from Otago University. I have worked as a professional actress for the past 20 years and have performed at companies such as Circa Theatre, Downstage Theatre, Fortune Theatre and The Court Theatre. My performance in UNCLE VANYA at Circa Theatre won a Chapman Tripp Award for Best Actress.

I have also written and produced my own work which has toured New Zealand and Australia. My show MISS BRONTE was picked up by Regional Arts Victoria in Australia and toured throughout Victoria and New South Wales after a successful season at
Circa Theatre.

I have run successful creative programmes as part of the prior Creatives in Schools programme and have worked for major theatre companies and arts organisations in Australia delivering programmes to schools across the country. These companies include Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, The Song Room and Awesome Arts.

Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes

I love bringing creative experiences to young people. I have run long-term (1-2 years) theatre workshops for The Songroom in Melbourne and Sydney, teaching in primary schools. I predominantly worked with students from refugee backgrounds and ran drama programmes in English Language Schools.

I have taught 10-week Shakespeare residencies for low-decile high schools for Bell Shakespeare in Sydney. We focused on Shakespeare's women but the work was actually about connection and I would write plays with the students based around Shakespeare's themes and how they connect to their own lives.

I have taught primary-aged students through Sydney Theatre Company, linking drama with literacy and helping students to engage their imaginations and senses to deepen their understanding of literature. There was a strong mentoring component to
this work. I have run full-time two-week residencies in the Australian outback working with predominantly Aboriginal communities. I was lucky enough to go back to the same community for three years running to create whole-school shows which focused on confidence and a sense of community.

I have worked with students from age 3-18 and have a lot of experience mentoring primary and secondary teachers, running PDs and co-teaching.

Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice

I love sharing my passion for theatre with young people, but more than that, I love being able to connect with students, build trust and create something very special with them. Creation and performance gives you a sense of pride, courage, determination and joy.

Some of my most satisfying moments as an artist have involved watching students find the courage to speak up, write something honest or perform. Once trust is built through developing drama skills and connecting with each other, I like to use my writing skills to create work with students, often using their own words and experiences to shape the stories.

The Creatives in Schools programme is very aligned with the kind of teaching I want to do, focusing on well-being and connection. Working with children and passionate teachers inspires me as an artist. I am particularly interested in working with low-decile schools or schools with high levels of refugee students.

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