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Learning Contexts



Lin Clark

The Quarrel " We balance each other out"



Lincoln High School

Duration of Project

9 weeks

Students Involved

25 students, Years 12 - 13

Lin our artist has been very inspirational to us all. This term we have all learnt and grown in our confidence and abilities, but we have also learnt what it's like to be a true theatre performer. She embraced our talents and skills, and guided us to create an amazing show. We would love to have her back next year!

(Year 12 Drama student)


The aim of this project was to devise a piece of theatre which directly met the needs of the diverse students at Lincoln High School while challenging students, from those with special learning needs to those talented and gifted students, to all aim high thereby reflecting school values and the spirit of the New Zealand Curriculum. The project also aimed to address cultural diversity and be in keeping with New Zealand's multicultural context.

The performance was structured through a range of narrative devices, including use of Māori mythology and fables from many lands. Through using process drama methodology and a range of elements and conventions, students researched and explored historical/ social groups and worked to weave these voices and stories together to produce a kete full of riches.

The purpose behind this project was to give students an opportunity to establish their sense of place and their contribution to New Zealand as well as acknowledging the experience of past generations.

Students interpreted, recorded and challenged our understanding of what is means to be a New Zealander, within a historical context through the lenses of mythology and metaphor.


Drama students brainstorm ideas


The students selected and researched stories from a selected pool of 'rich' and relevant stories and created a devised performance piece using extended metaphors, visual images, supported by a range of technologies (projection, video, sound and lighting, masks, basic costuming).

Students were encouraged to be independent learners in a mutually respectful environment, where they were given the tools to shape and refine a range of narratives, which were then linked together through technologies and a range of narrative structures.

Student comments about their learning

We liked having Lin to work with because she gave us so many ideas and she was happy. This was a great experience for us because the Year 12s and 13s students got to work together to put on this great show. She put into perspective all the possibilities there are and to change a plain story into a magnificent performance.

Very valuable experience and to hear it from the 'horse's mouth' makes it even more special and a better experience.

When you're devising the key is to be able to open up your mind and let your wildest thoughts roam and come alive on stage. This devising experience has allowed that more than any other. The artist brings in inspiration, advice and bold ideas to extend your piece further. The unique set we had gave you the opportunity to really make the performance a larger than life experience.

Students work with Lin, the artist

Students work with Lin, the artist

This assessment was way different to any others that we have done in the past. The extensive set, props and costumes allowed us to put on a complete, extensive show beyond our hopes and dreams.

Having an artist in residence was an awesome experience. It was also a great opportunity to have a different opinion and ideas. I think it really helped and the things we could do with the funding were great. It was beneficial to our devising and all the help and feedback we received was fantastic!

Working with our artist in residence has been an experience we won't forget. Lin brought an extra stretch of creative mind to our assessment and challenged our ambitions.

This experience made us open our eyes to the possibilities drama can bring into our lives. It gave us confidence, skills and friendship with people that if we hadn't had this experience we would never have met.

Related learning

Because this was taken through to performance stage there were many other aspects that had to be considered. The use of Māori Myths and Legends enhanced students' understanding of the culture and tikanga of these myths and gave the Māori students in the group a sense of belonging and pride.

The creation of the set, costumes and props involved technology and visual arts learning and provided challenges in the technical aspects of lighting and sound.

Impact on school community

Lincoln High School continues to implement projects that aim to raise the level of achievement of Māori students. This Drama project supported school initiatives and allowed all students to aim high in keeping with Lincoln's core values and the values as stated in the New Zealand Curriculum.

The use of the Māori myth of the creation of the world created a lot of interest in the community and led to some valuable inter and intra-community focus.

A performance for the local primary school enhanced the relationship between the two schools and forged a strong sense of pride within and between families.


The Golden Apple "You never really learn do you "


The Drama teachers at Lincoln benefited from working with a professional practitioner with a wealth of experience in the devising process and having the opportunity to link theory with practice in a meaningful way. Teachers were challenged to think of a greater range of conventions and technologies used in the devising process and work more deliberately with integrating New Zealand stories into the narratives. Having an outside practitioner allowed for the two levels to combine a performance piece which was relevant to the community.

It was really beneficial to have Lin as our artist in residence. She was an awesome addition to our group of teachers. Can we keep her?

The chance of a lifetime. I never would have been able to pull off a one-man show without Lin. Her experience guided me.

Curriculum links

Brainstorming the use of symbols in our lives.


The Year 12 and 13 Drama students were extended by working intensively at Level 7 and 8 of the Drama Curriculum and the project was directly linked with Level 2 and 3 NCEA achievement standards in devising. They selected and refined techniques, conventions and technologies to structure their performance. Students in the audience responded to Drama and identified how techniques, elements, conventions and technologies were used to create a drama in a cultural and historical context.

Through this project the students developed an ability to express their own values and explore, with increased empathy, the values of others.

The application of all the key competencies was evident throughout this whole process. Students were fully involved and engaged in the process, continually shaping their actions and making decisions collaboratively. There was a particular emphasis on the use and significance of symbols in devising work. The students had to be resourceful and set themselves high standards to ensure the outcomes of their work were of a high quality. The students took up challenges with real confidence and leadership skills were fostered throughout the project.

Where to next

For the teachers, this process was very challenging and provided them with an alternative way of teaching the devising process which they will apply to future assessment tasks. The merging of classes to meet similar outcomes was very successful and the satisfaction of taking a devising process through to a polished finished product was inspirational and motivating.

Useful links

Senior Secondary Drama Units: Developing Key Competencies

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