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Creative ID: 085

Art form(s): Interarts, Theatre, Literature, Multi-Disciplinary.

Based in: Auckland. 

When I'm available: Available in terms 2, 3 and 4. Primarily Mondays and Fridays, but days and times are negotiable.

Where I'm available: Wider Auckland region.

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

Our professional learning programme is school-based PD for teachers in the use of creative drama pedagogy. High engagement leads to students' improved learning outcomes. Considerable evidence suggests the programme impacts whole class and school well-being. Research is clear: growth in core competencies leads to enhanced self-worth and well-being. Inferential comprehension relates to critical thinking. The social nature of drama contributes to relationship development. Using picture books alongside creative processes provides for enhanced understanding/using of texts. The disciplinary nature of drama requires self-management. Participation in creative work sees students become actors rather than spectators. This is a one-term programme with in-class delivery of one hour each week. The Teaching-Artists plan and co-teach lessons with teachers in their classrooms. Planning, teaching and evaluation of the lessons builds teacher capacity to include creative approaches. Teaching-Artists models how to employ process drama-based methods to invite students into the world of story, prompting deep critical thinking, nuanced perspectives, and real-world connections. It has been proven to successfully increase students’ oral language, written vocab and inferential understanding. The programme includes approximately 20 hours of PD focusing on their own classroom: two staff meetings nine one-to-one planning meetings seven co-taught lessons pre- and post-benchmarking.

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

The programme was established in Australia in 2009, a partnership between a theatre company and the University of Sydney. Research over the past ten years demonstrates the project has significantly lifted literacy outcomes for participating schools. The programme now has outreach across Australia. In 2018 our theatre company gained exclusive rights to deliver this programme in NZ. We have successfully delivered abridged and full versions of the programme in primary schools in Auckland. Adaptations to the Australian model have been led by a professor from the University of Auckland (also a theatre company director), to ensure cultural relevance of the work in the NZ context. Curricular changes have also been made where necessary. Our theatre company staff are either highly experienced teachers, and/or teaching-artists with postgraduate qualifications in applied theatre. All have worked in low to high decile schools with our interactive family violence prevention programme and have extensive experience of working alongside teachers in schools. We received outstanding feedback/results from both teachers and students involved in the programme. Teachers were able to see a significant change within all areas of literacy for their students including inferential comprehension, oral language and written vocabulary. High levels of engagement are always reported.

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

The teacher-artists at our theatre company, combined, have decades of experience working with students of all ages, ranging from New Entrants right through to University level. Within the programme we have worked with students across all years 0–8, adapting our delivery according to their ages, needs and levels. Our company has been delivering an interactive theatre programme nationwide for the past 15 years, mainly to Year 7 and 8 students. It is the longest running and most researched in-school applied theatre programme in the world. To date we have worked with over 70,000 students in this government-funded programme. It is an interactive programme that creates a safe forum for young people to talk about family relationships through a highly engaging and creatively facilitated applied theatre workshop. Our teaching-artists are highly skilled and experienced in adapting/facilitating creative dramatic processes to suit the needs of all students and teachers involved. Themes and areas of focus for learning are decided in discussion with the classroom teacher and the students.

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

Process drama and applied theatre are at the heart of everything our company does. Teachers often ask us how and where we learnt to deliver pedagogy through process drama, because it stimulates intense student engagement. There are few opportunities for this extended training in NZ, which is why our company was keen to enter into a relationship with another theatre company to offer the programme here. This programme professionally develops teachers in a practical and supported manner, while engaging their own classroom in creative and purposeful learning. For our own team, investment in the programme will provide the opportunity to further develop our skills as teaching artists, in providing a world-class, internationally developed and researched programme into classrooms.

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