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Emma Bishop

Emma Bishop


Emma is currently freelancing as a Performing Arts Practitioner having just directed her second national schools tour for The Ugly Shakespeare Company.  Emma also sits on the Executive for Musical Theatre NZ and is the National Coordinator of Junior Theatre NZ.  As an experienced Drama Teacher she has had a number of NZQA contracts including moderating, marking and examining.  This is her four term as President where she is committed to helping teachers around the country through facilitating workshops and mentoring. 

Kim Bonnington

Vice President
Kim Bonnington


Kim is a Curriculum Facilitator in the Arts for Education Support Services with the University of Otago. An experienced Drama Teacher in Secondary Schools, she has moderated and developed resources, assessment materials and critiqued aspects of the Drama curriculum for NZQA. A past vice President of Drama New Zealand and current Tertiary Liason and Regional Representative, she spends most of her professional and spare time mentoring teachers to explore effective ways of working with their students. When not engaged in all things education, you will find Kim playing a gig either under her own name or in acoustic duo, Kim and Dusty.

Teresa Callaghan

Teresa Callaghan


Teresa is the Head of Performing Arts at Green Bay High School. She first worked with the DNZ Executive 16 years ago and has served as the Treasurer for both the Executive and the Auckland Branch for the last five years.

Across her career, she is most proud of her original school productions, providing roles for a wide range of students regardless of their prior experience with performance, acting and drama.

Teresa has been a registered Celebrant for over ten years, and enjoys any excuse to celebrate. As a Westie, she adores the beach and bush. She is a beginner paddle boarder and walking anywhere in nature sees her in her happiest place.

Judy Norton

Primary Rep
Judy Norton


Judy has been a Specialist Primary Drama Teacher at Saint Kentigern Girls’ School for the past 16 years, teaching Year 1 – 8 classes and itinerant Speech and Drama lessons. She has been on Drama NZ’s National Executive as Primary Liaison for the past year. She has also been on the Auckland Regional Committee for the past three years. Prior to teaching at SKGS, she gave lessons at Kristin School and ran her own Speech and Drama Studio for 11 years. She is a trained primary school teacher with a Bachelor of Education and an LTCL in Speech and Drama.

Bianca Til

Regional Rep. Coordinator
Bianca Till


Bianca is a drama teacher passionate about instilling a love for creativity, culture and critical thinking in young people.
Attempting to inspire students, in particular rural students, to aspire to follow their passions and be empathetic and active global citizens, not afraid of owning their opinions and standing up for what they think is right.
A Practical and theoretical background in theatre, music, performing arts technology, innovation and entrepreneurship has resulted in an interest to teach students transferable skills through drama. Also been involved in IDEA's Land and Home project. And this has developed into communication across geographical and cultural boundaries, with an emphasis on peer teaching and students sharing knowledge and experience's with each other.

Charles Bisley

Charles Bisley


Charles is the associate principal at Kelburn Normal School. As a teacher. he builds the arts into literacy, and co-creates innovative theatre pieces with children which tackle contemporary questions. He leads practice-based research into ways to realise the aspirations and principles of the New Zealand Curriculum, and to empower learners and teachers. His own research is in the fields of dialogical pedagogy, drama, and the development of language, and creativity, with particular reference to the work of Mikhail Bakhtin. He is Vice President of Drama New Zealand, and presents regularly at conferences. 

Annette Thomson

Annette Thomson


Annette is an experienced and passionate Drama teacher from Canterbury. She is Chairperson for Drama NZ Canterbury region and also organises the Canterbury ki te Tonga SGCNZ UOSW Shakespeare Festival each year. She enjoys collaborating with others in the Arts and when not teaching she enjoys creating textile art and treading the boards.

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.

Albert Einstein


DNZ Life Members

Associate Members

President's Award





A network of drama teachers which had begun with the bringing together of many teachers during the 1978 visit of Dorothy Heathcote was strengthened by the establishment of the Drama Newsletter in 1979. The current owner of the highly successful Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, and former Auckland Girls’ Grammar School Teacher, Carole Beu Barrington (as she was known) established this newsletter.

Subsequently some teachers travelled to Britain, with the assistance of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, the Education Department or the British Council to work for extended periods with Dorothy Heathcote and other British drama educators such as Gavin Bolton. A curriculum working group was also established in New Zealand. Most of those teachers have had a significant role to play in the formation of the association including; Carole Beu, Sunny Amey, Kathryn Whillans, Don McAra, Sally Markham, Ralph McAllister, Kerry Harvey, and Jill Burdett.

It was 1984 in Sunny Amey's; the then Education Officer (Curriculum for Drama) with the Ministry of Education at the Kohia Teachers Centre on the Auckland Teachers College Campus that NZADIE, the New Zealand Association of Drama in Education, now known as Drama New Zealand, was formed and strong district networks were established.

Course development in drama during the 1980’s focussed on third and fourth forms, (thirteen and fourteen year olds) within individual schools and sixth form certificate (sixteen and seventeen year olds) within individual schools as well as at a national level. Primary and Early Childhood educators devised their own courses, bringing drama into a programme often under the umbrella of language, art or social studies as part of a theme or experiential approach. Numbers of teachers experimented with role work during this period.

No formal qualifications were required to teach the courses and teachers approached the subject from dance, improvisation, speech and drama, and personal relationship course perspectives. This situation still existed into the 1990’s.

Many developments followed

  • Advisors in drama were spasmodically appointed during the 1980’s in response to local demands and whilst there were no inspectors of drama in the Department, many English inspectors supported drama initiatives throughout the country by establishing short courses for teachers.
  • Secondary resource development continued to take place through the working group, all of whom by this stage were members of NZADIE and many were represented on its National Executive.
  • In 1987 Draft Guidelines were developed for Sixth Form Certificate Drama; a university entrance qualification. At the same time a major resource, related to an exploration of works of New Zealand literature through drama, was developed and eventually distributed free to all secondary schools. This resource, which was called Drama and Learning, supported the National English Syllabus for Forms 3-5 and it represented a significant attempt to get the ‘ordinary’ classroom teacher to use various drama approaches to learning.
  • The seminal joint drama Conference with NADIE, the Australian National Association for Drama in Education was held early in 1989 titled Making Connections.  Contact with NADIE had been strengthened by frequent visits from Australians to our drama conferences. A further sign of the closeness of the relationship with the Australians at this time was the publication of a joint magazine in 1987 under the editorial initiative of Megan Shaffner in Australia and Kerry Harvey (the current Principal Adviser at New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage) and Sally Markham (former director of Markham Arts)  in New Zealand.
  • Distribution of the magazine throughout Australasia further increased the profile of the Association and drama in New Zealand as did the publication which followed the joint conference. Since that time our members have continued to be regularly published in NJ, the Drama Australia journal.

In 1989 the new Ministry of Education replaced the old restructured Department of Education. Thereafter the emphasis shifted onto the creation of advisers who became attached to Colleges of Education.


2005 - 2013

At the Inaugural AGM at the National Conference at Wellington Girls in April 2005 the association was rebranded as Drama New Zealand, with a new logo and website.

In 2012 Drama NZ signed an official Memorandum of Understanding with Drama Australia.


2013 -

In 2013 Drama New Zealand re-branded with a new logo that better represented who we were as an  association for New Zealand.



  • Amey, S (2009) Contribution to Panel at Weaving Our Stories.  International Mantle of the Expert Conference August 2009,  University of Waikato, Hamilton
  • Battye, S (2005)  Keynote Address, Drama NZ National Conference 2005, Wellington


Drama NZ is proud to be an active member of the International Drama Educators Association. Our International Liaison represents our views at General council and congress meetings and its three yearly conferences.

IDEA is an important worldwide organisation that was founded in 1992. Its members are culturally diverse drama, theatre and education practitioners, artists, pedagogues and teachers, from around 90 countries who are united in their commitment to making drama / theater and education accessible, significant and present in the lives of children and young people everywhere. Many national drama/theater associations are members of IDEA, as well as individual artists and practitioners.

IDEA lobbies regionally and internationally to raise the awareness of governments, key agencies and organisations, as to the importance of drama and theater in the development and lives of children and young people (both in and out of school hours). It also supports members to research in this field.

IDEA helps members to discover and share knowledge, skills and understanding through workshops, performances, international projects, publications and resources. IDEA creates and contributes to world drama/arts and education forums. It holds its World Congress every 3 years and works in partnership to create and contribute to other Seminars, Conferences, Fesivals and Congresses.

If you are an IDEA member you might decide to create or join an IDEA project, promote the work of IDEA locally, regionally and internationally, join an IDEA committee, contribute to a forum or publication, host an IDEA event or meeting, or help to build our next IDEA world congress (Paris 2013).

If you are an IDEA member please do consider what IDEA can do for you but please also consider what you can do for IDEA.


The International Drama/theatre and Education Association:


Drama New Zealand and Drama Australia have a close relationship.  In 2012 we committed to a Memorandum of Understanding with Drama Australia

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is between Drama Australia and Drama New Zealand, who are the peak national drama education associationsin their respective countries and are members of IDEA (the International Drama Education Association).

The purpose of this MOU is to:

  • chronicle and acknowledge the current practices that exist between the two associations;
  • encourage and support each other’s core business, aims and objectives as independent and autonomous National drama education associations;
  • strengthen levels of collaboration between the two associations;
  • foster and encourage the distinctive contribution that each association makes to the IDEA Oceania Region;
  • collaboratively advocate for, and give voice to, drama educators and their practices internationally;
  • strengthen the ties and connections that currently exist between the two association, and
  • explore ways and means of extending these ties and connections in the future.

The Drama Australia Website can be found here


To visit the UNESCO website here.