The School Drama Partnership: Beyond an Artist-in-Residence Program

  • Robyn Ann EwingEmail author
  • John Nicholas Saunders
Part of the Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education book series (LAAE, volume 27)


Research documenting the effectiveness of educational or process drama as critical, quality pedagogy particularly in enhancing English and literacy (e.g., Winner, Goldstein, & Vincent-Lancrin, 2013; Saunders, 2015; Ewing 2010b; Ewing, Simons with Campbell & Hertzberg, 2004; Miller Saxton, 2004, 2016; Baldwin & Fleming, 2003) has not impacted in many Australian primary classrooms. Further, Australian teachers report feeling pressured to concentrate on the more technical aspects of the teaching of literacy (and numeracy) as measured in increasingly high stakes tests. It is within this educational context that the School DramaTM program was conceived initially in 2008 and developed over the last decade. This chapter first focuses on the relationship developed between a leading Australian theatre company, Sydney Theatre Company (STC) and the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work (FESW) in order to use one artform, drama, as a lens to interrogate another, contemporary literary texts for children, to enhance literacy learning in its deepest sense. It pays particular attention to the role of the teaching artists in the program and their work with participating primary teachers. The outcomes of the project, from their perspectives and the development of what we have described as a collaborative zone of proximal development (Vygotsky 1978; Ewing, 2015; Moll, Whitmore, 1993) are then discussed. The final act explores some of the outcomes and implications for the ongoing sustainability of the program.


Drama as critical, quality pedagogy Drama, literature and literacy Co-mentoring teacher professional learning Role of teaching artists Collaborative zone of proximal development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney School of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Theatre CompanyDawes PointAustralia

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