Ye Jo Hai Zindagi’s stage set, Herald Theatre, Auckland. July 18-20 2014.

The stage set for Ye Jo Hai Zindagi  was built by Drama Magic for Rangmanch productions headed by actor/director Shailesh Prajapati. The Gujarati language comedy, which is based on a long running television series of the same name, played to packed houses at Auckland’s Herald Theatre, July 18-20 2014.

 

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Sir Ed You’re a Legend a Hit in Wellywood

Regarding their recent production of Sir Ed You’re a Legend written by Susan Battye with music by Trevor Thwaites, the principal of Wellington’s Kelburn Normal Primary School , Andrew McFarlane wrote:

Our Year 5 & 6 syndicate was the team that put the production on. It was widely received by the parents and wide school as being a great hit.

The scripts were easy to learn and gave our teachers lots of springboards to start learning conversations about.

Regarding the music, some of the songs were great and explained the story. I do find song choice interesting for students in productions, having written a couple myself, and I wonder whether a flavor of modern song could be used to capture student attention and interest. Being a male I always find pitching for kids a challenge but maybe that is my voice.

Was a wonderful show.

Andrew

The Head of Performing Arts at Kelburn Normal Primary School, Charles Bisley, added:

Thanks for the show- it was a success, especially for a group of boys we got motivated about drama as a result.

 

 

 

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Stage Door B

Drama Magic has added a new item to their list of Stage Set and Props items.

Stage Door B  –  A Free-standing door with Steel Legs

View other items here

Important information

  • Our registered builder  has recent  experience of working with Opera New Zealand.
  • Personal consultation at no cost during the quote phase offered.
  • We can design and build additional items on request to suit your needs including school production stage sets.
  • All items are OSH compliant.
  • Stage set and props items are built with quality, durable ply woods, and are painted matt white or black,  to your specifications.
  • Our  robust but lightweight set items are deliberately designed to fit together in terms of their relative heights for ease of movement by students.

Other items we supply

1) Free standing stage door (with side or reverse bracing)

2) Three Panel Accordion flats

3) Single Flats (able to be bolted together)

4) Bi-fold Flats

5) Sandbags (for Flat stability).

6) Cubes (Two sizes)

7) Platforms (Three sizes)

8) Other items on request

Drama Magic Ltd is located in Auckland, and we can quote for and arrange delivery throughout New Zealand.

Contact us now for your no obligation free quote and list of product sizing and specifications :  info@dramamagic.com

List your details:

Name:
Contact email address:
School name :
School Address:

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Cup Magic – Essential Reading

Scholastic New Zealand is featuring Susan Battye’s Cup Magic – My New Zealand Story  novel on its School Essentials website. The book has  also been listed in the  Teacher’s Bookshelf brochure and is proving popular at Scholastic book fairs. Thanks Scholastic!

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Report on Eleanor Catton in Hokitika

Eleanor Catton, author of the Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Luminaries, appeared  in Hokitika on Thursday 13 March for a special one-off event. A long time West Coast supporter and former Greymouth High School teacher, Susan Battye  of Drama Magic was there to witness the unique event.

 The award-winning novel, which has been on the best-selling lists in New Zealand since its publication in August, is set in Hokitika during the 19th century gold rush. It was obvious that Catton was delighted to be able to come to Hokitika to talk to readers and that they in turn were keen to congratulate her on her win and acknowledge the hard work that she must have put into writing the book.

Accompanying Catton were her New Zealand publisher, Fergus Barrowman of Victoria University Press, and her UK publisher, Max Porter of Granta.

Catton was in conversation with Max Porter for the hour-long session which was held at Hokitika’s Regent Theatre on Thursday 13 March 2014. A full house of 470 listened attentively to the talk before rushing to have their copies of The Luminaries signed.

During the event Fergus Barrowman proudly announced that New Zealand sales of The Luminaries have passed a record breaking 100,000 mark.

There was some suggestion that Catton was a little nervous about receiving questions as to the historical veracity of her novel. What became clear was that the astrological references, the Hokitika location and the date of the gold rush are true, as is the local ancestral name of Tau Whare, although the character himself is invented. The rest of the novel is, according to Catton, a work of fiction rather than history. But that has not stopped people from searching Hokitika for places mentioned in the book!

The success of The Luminaries has seen Catton much in demand internationally and she has been overseas promoting and talking about the book to media and book festivals since the Man Booker Prize was announced in October. She will spend the best part of next year as a guest at literature festivals in Europe, Brazil, the USA and Canada.

‘An evening with Eleanor Catton’ was proudly organised by Victoria University Press, Take Note Hokitika and Hokitika’s Regent Theatre and with the support of the Hokitika Museum which supplied a wonderful historical slide show for the event.

 

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Stage Set and Props Supply to New Zealand schools

Drama Magic Ltd is now able to offer a no obligation free quote for the build and supply of the following stage set items.

1) Free standing stage door (with side or reverse bracing)

2) Three Panel Accordion flats

3) Single Flats (able to be bolted together)

4) Bi-fold Flats

5) Sandbags (for Flat stability).

6) Cubes (Two sizes)

7) Platforms (Three sizes)

8) Other items on request

Important information

  • Our registered builder  has recent  experience of working with Opera New Zealand.
  • Personal consultation at no cost during the quote phase offered.
  • We can design and build additional items on request to suit your needs including school production stage sets.
  • All items are OSH compliant.
  • Stage set and props items are built with quality, durable ply woods, and are painted matt white or black,  to your specifications.
  • Our  robust but lightweight set items are deliberately designed to fit together in terms of their relative heights for ease of movement by students.

Drama Magic Ltd is located in Auckland, and we can quote for and arrange delivery throughout New Zealand.

Contact us now for your no obligation free quote and list of product sizing and specifications :  info@dramamagic.com

List your details:

Name:
Contact email address:
School name :
School Address:

 Recent Testimonials

30 June 2014
Just wanted to let anyone thinking about buying some stage set items from Drama Magic that it will be money well spent. The Marist College Performing Arts Department bought a free standing stage door and the girls have had a lot of fun with it. In addition we bought 2 pairs of wooden flats which the girls can now ‘mantle’ and dismantle with ease, as well as boxes and platforms which were immediately put to use in our drama room. We had a small issue with the door which Frank the builder attended to in a timely manner. All in all I thought the service was great and that the stage set items are of good quality, robust and value for money. The school production Fame made use of them all during our show and they stood up well to the pressure, apart from chips coming off the edges of the plywood platforms.

Hilari Anderson
Head of Performing Arts
Marist College 
Auckland

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12 June 2014
The doors are solid, and stable on the floor as if they were in a wall. The door swings firmly and closes with a lovely thump. It is held by a magnet so no annoying latch. The on-stage side is clear of bracing and allows flats to be butted up to the sides of the door. Maybe a piece above the door to meet the taller flats would be needed but that will depend on the height of the flats. The doors are superb – strong, solid, durable, dull black and unobtrusive. The real treat is their remarkable simplicity and unobtrusiveness. It took barely a week from order to delivery. Frank came out to check our needs and brought them over. These doors will be a long lasting visitor to our productions. I’d love more and will be budgeting accordingly.

I am supremely satisfied with your company’s service and the quality of the product.

Bruce deGrut
Takapuna Grammar School
Auckland

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11 March 2014
In case you were interested in having pieces of set, boxes and other stage pieces built for you, I can recommend Drama Magic. They just built and painted us a stage door, with a fabulous design, constructed to be light enough to move but robust enough to withstand the antics of teenage boys!

 Frank the Builder was awesome, great communication and built a fantastic final product. We are really pleased.

Julie McInnes
Dilworth School
Auckland 

 

 

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ESA Study Guide: Level 3 Drama

Susan Battye of Drama Magic is one of the contributors to this recently published book. ESA Publications (NZ) Ltd 2014.

ISBN 978-927194-70-6

Authors: Jacqueline Hood, Jane Luton and Marty Watson with Susan Battye and Anton Bentley

The Level 3 Drama Study Guide covers all nine NCEA Level 3 Drama Achievement Standards. This text guides students through their internal assessments with practical advice covering the key areas of Drama Creation, Drama Performance and Drama Study.

It is a ‘go to’ guide for any questions you might have while developing your knowledge and practice as a Drama student.

Students are given the opportunity to:

• gain understanding of concepts and ideas, with practical examples provided

• learn about drama techniques, elements, conventions and technologies and understand how these are used in performance

• complete activities specific to the concepts and ideas that are dealt with in the text

• use given resources to stimulate ideas in their own work

• view photos to help illustrate ideas

• see examples from New Zealand theatre

• be introduced to a wide range of theatre practice and the work of practitioners

• challenge themselves through the activities provided

• develop critical thinking skills

• get advice and ideas to help them prepare for the external examinations.

An index gives easy access to important Drama terms and definitions highlighted in the text.

This comprehensive Study Guide has been written by Drama Practitioners who have all been teachers and are highly experienced Drama Educators / Directors / Performers and Writers.

This Study Guide can be used in the classroom or for home study to help with internals and prepare for the end-of-year examinations

Susan Battye contributed  a section on Maori theatre practitioner, Jim Moriarty’s work. Susan worked closely with  Jim on his theatre-marae in schools projects. She also contributed a section on the Mantle of the Expert regarding the work of renowned drama educator Dorothy Heathcote with whom Susan studied at Newcastle University in England 1978-1979. Susan wrote the chapter related to AS 91519 (Drama 3.8) Script a drama suitable for live performance. 

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The Treaty in Action – Nga Mahi Tiriti

Drama Magic Ltd is proud to announce the publication of this book which is aimed at Social Studies and Te Reo Maori students in upper primary and junior secondary school. The authors, Susan Battye and Kiri Waitai are grateful for the care, attention and guidance provided by the designer, Sarah Kindlean and editor, Helen Alcock at User Friendly Resources.  Click through to the User Friendly Resources website and follow the prompts to look through the book before making your  purchase of either a PDF or print copy of the book.

The Treaty in Action : Nga Mahi Tiriti

The Treaty of Waitangi is one of eight core principles that underpin The New Zealand Curriculum. Developed by New Zealand teachers and authors Kiri Waitai and Susan Battye, The Treaty in Action – Ngā Mahi Tiriti is a comprehensive, photocopiable resource that supports teachers and students to explore the unique bicultural nature of New Zealand society that has developed from the history and signing of the Treaty of Waitangi to the present day.

Students will gain knowledge, skills and experience to:

· understand how cultural practices vary but reflect similar purposes

· understand how people pass on and sustain culture and heritage for different reasons and that this has consequences for people

· understand how people make decisions about and use values in their schools.

Curriculum links: Social Sciences, English, Te Reo

The Education Review Office (ERO) suggested in recent report that many schools could consider building their understanding of the Treaty and its implications for school policy, organisation and planning. “Schools need to consider to what extent the Treaty of Waitangi principle is evident in the interpretation and implementation of their school curriculum and is enacted in their classrooms.” This resource will support schools to do that.

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Powhiri in Action – He Kete O Te Reo Powhiri

We note that Wintec in Hamilton has included the book written by Susan Battye and Kiri Waitai on its recommended Year One reading list for the Bachelor of Teaching (ECE). Powhiri in Action – He Kete O Te Reo Powhiri is published by User Friendly Resources in Christchurch, New Zealand. Thanks Wintec!

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Book Review: Drama Cuts and Drama Cuts Teacher’s Resource Book.

 (Putney., Australia: Phoenix Education, 2010)

ISBN 978 1 921586 27 9     Edited by Susan Battye.   

ISBN 978 1 921586 30 9  Written by Susan Battye

By David O’Donnell: Victoria University of Wellington

On a rainy winter’s afternoon in 2006 I attended a performance of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead directed by Peter Brook at the Bouffes Du Nord Theatre in Paris. In the romantically shabby-chic auditorium of this crumbling 18th century theatre, two African actors on a stage bare apart from a few simple props and a costume rack held the audience in thrall with this parable on the impossibility of maintaining one’s identity and dignity in the face of a racist political system. Although apartheid had been abolished nearly twenty years beforehand, Fugard’s drama of oppression in a racially segregated South Africa seemed just as moving and relevant as ever, earning a standing ovation from the audience.

 Sizwe Bansi is Dead is one of thirteen plays featured in Drama Cuts, a new anthology of play extracts suitable for study and performance in secondary schools. Editor Susan Battye has chosen scenes from plays representing a cross-section of dramatic literature from ten Commonwealth countries, many of which deal with the legacy of European colonisation. The anthology is an efficient way for students to access a wide range of historically important plays, and the cultural diversity in the collection reflects the increasingly intercultural demographics of many 21st century schools.

An accompanying Teacher’s Resource Book supports the play collection, containing a range of discussion questions on each play, notes on performance and on the playwrights.  Clear and impressively detailed synopses of each play enable the teacher to quickly put a scene in context. The Resource Book is a substantial piece of work on its own, and I imagine will be a godsend for busy drama teachers everywhere.

The collection in Drama Cuts includes work by two Nobel prize-winners, Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott from the Caribbean. Like Sizwe Bansi, the plays all feature strong moral and/or political dilemmas. Read as a collection, this volume highlights the considerable political power and social relevance of great theatre, and illustrates that the canon of dramatic literature can stand alongside the greatest literary achievements (a fact not always acknowledged by English departments in schools and universities). Susan Battye is to be congratulated in raising the standards for drama education with this book. For New Zealand students, it is important to see the two New Zealand works, Bruce Mason’s The Pohutukawa Tree and Lynda Chanwai-Earle’s Ka Shue: Letters Home, in the context of playwriting internationally, and to recognise that New Zealand plays can stand up alongside the best of world drama.

The old colonial bogey-man, Britain, is represented by two plays written sixty years apart, J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls,with Priestley’s critique of the inequities of the British class system reflected through a feminist lens in the scene from Churchill’s play. Battye chooses an extract from the naturalistic second act of Top Girls, and I wondered if the epoch-bending feminist allegory of Act One, with the invention of a dinner party of ‘top girls’ from throughout history, would have been a more stimulating choice. Theatricality is embraced, however, in the extract from Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers, a Faustian fable set during an 18th century slave rebellion. In this delightful bi-lingual mix of song, dance and allegorical action, Ti-Jean out-wits the Devil, exposing the evils of colonialism and striking a symbolic blow for freedom. Walcott’s work embraces performative variety, illustrating the potential for theatre to unleash the imagination, to fly beyond naturalism with the use of a more metaphoric and entertaining application of physicality. By contrast, Indian playwright Usha Ganguli’s Rudali is very naturalistic but equally delightful in its vivid depiction of poverty among village women. The feminist theme highlighted in this extract punctuates a tale of grim poverty, disease and survival, leavened by compelling humour based in dynamic characters which would be a brilliant challenge to bring to life in a classroom production. The dignity and power of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horsemen is represented perfectly in the chosen scene in which the wife of a British colonial officer displays outrageous cultural insensitivity by wearing a sacred garment and mask as a fancy dress costume

Many of the extracts draw parallels between the politics of families and wider themes, as in Aroha’s gut-wrenching disappointment in her children in The Pohutukawa Tree, the contrasting experiences of different generations of Chinese women in Ka Shue, and the poignant scene from Leaving Home by Canadian David French. The extract from Ugandan playwright Mercy Mirembe Ntangaare’s The Man His Son and Their Donkey has some parallels with Rudali in its depiction of a wife rebelling against her useless husband. In the husband’s use of the Bible to justify his work-avoidance, it also contains an ironic critique of Christianity. In the extract from Sizwe Banzi, however, the dignity of family is upheld in Sizwe’s letter to his wife, expressing his agonising decision to adopt the identity of a dead man, thus giving up his name and personality, in order to find work under the apartheid passbook system. While this play also contains humour, Sizwe’s realisation that his change of identity will also mean the loss of his family is heart-breaking. Battye has chosen expertly to show how in the theatre, truthful emotion and empathy are among the playwright’s most powerful tools, no matter what theme they are aiming to convey.

While the post-colonial emphasis pervades the collection, Malaysian playwright Huzir Salaiman’s  Atomic Javaalso refers to latter-day American imperialism. This hilarious satire of nuclear proliferation gains much comedy from a premise that Malaysia develops its own atomic weapons, despite the inconvenience of having no deserts or isolated atolls to test them out on. The heightened parodic style of acting required to perform this play makes an effective contrast with the naturalism of many of the other extracts.

Overall, the scenes are perceptively chosen to illustrate a diversity of world cultures, while also containing many thematic echoes between them, and a wide variety of performance possibilities. The collection serves both English and Drama curricula, by the judicious choice of extracts that are equally useful for comparative literary study and for performance. Battye rightly stresses the importance of reading the plays aloud, and encourages teachers to get the plays up on their feet to be performed in the classroom or in public. The balance of performative difficulty in the extracts is about right, with many of them being relatively easy to stage, while some, like Walcott’s play, would create more challenges. The glossary at the back is a welcome aid to comprehension and access to different languages and cultural traditions.

The accompanying guide for teachers is undoubtedly an excellent resource, clearly structured to assist the teacher through various exercises and contains a very good thematic overview of each play. There is attention to detail in both teaching and assessment, with excellent notes on how to develop a scene for performance, including templates of response sheets for both actors and audiences. However, there are a few glitches in presentation, including some typographical errors, and I would like to see the date of first production upfront in each script extract, as is the usual custom. In the ‘Notes on the Playwrights’ there is an excellent photograph of Lynda Chanwai-Earle performing Ka Shue, which draws attention to the lack of photographs of the other playwrights and plays. For consistency of style it would have been ideal to include more photographs in this section, as theatre is a visual as well as literary art-form, and visual aids would help the students’ comprehension of the effectiveness of the plays in performance.

While the international range of plays in Drama Cuts is impressive, it is unfortunate that in a collection edited in New Zealand and published in Australia, there is no representation of playwriting by indigenous writers of Aboriginal, Māori or Pacific Island descent.  The two Australian plays (Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and Cloudstreet) are concerned with white identity and may give the misleading impression that Australia is exempt from the post-colonial issues brought up in the African, Asian and Caribbean plays. The inclusion of one of the many excellent plays by Aboriginal writers would give alternative views of Australian history. Similarly, the lack of representation of Māori playwriting seems odd given the post-colonial focus of the collection, especially as inter-cultural hybrids of Polynesian and European theatre are arguably what make New Zealand theatre unique.

However, I realise that in any anthology hard choices need to be made, and the fact that this collection now exists at all is to be celebrated. The post-colonial emphasis gives unity and purpose to the collection, and I imagine the provocative stance of many of the playwrights will create heated class discussions as well as lively performance exercises.  Susan Battye has undertaken a mammoth task in assembling these extracts with all of their support material, and has done a great deal towards creating a dynamic curriculum for study that will be inspiring and indispensable for many years to come.

Biographical Note:

David O’Donnell is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Victoria University, Wellington, Aotearoa/ New Zealand. David has directed many premieres of New Zealand plays, most recently Heat by Lynda Chanwai-Earle, Te Karakia by Albert Belz, and Collapsing Creation by Arthur Meek. Other research interests include post-colonial drama, Australian and New Zealand theatre, Māori and Pacific performance, community theatre and Shakespearean performance. He co-edited Performing Aotearoa (2007) a book on contemporary New Zealand theatre and is currently editor of the Playmarket New Zealand Play Series.

 

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