2012 Drama Victoria State Conference
Last Thursday and Friday, Drama Victoria held its annual state conference at The University of Melbourne. What a conference it was!
This year’s program witnessed a change from previous years with Friday being a day of extended master classes with experts in specific fields running four-hour workshops split into two-hour blocks.
With workshops across the two days ranging from theatrical styles, middle years drama, senior drama and production analysis to iPad apps for drama, primary drama, puppetry and research, the conference was a smorgasboard of professional learning for drama educators at all levels, gender, age and experience.
Personally, my highlight of the conference this year was Bruce Burton. Talk about expert! Putting it simply, for the past two decades, among many other things Bruce has authored three of the best selling drama education textbooks in Australia. Apart from listening to his highly enjoyable keynote address, Burton’s workshop on Friday was a practical ‘best of’ his three key books for junior, middle and senior drama: Making Drama, Creating Drama and Living Drama 4e.
After years of reading various practical exercises and activities in Burton’s books and trying them out in the classroom with students, it was great to be a part of the master himself running some of them with nearly 50 drama teachers in a four-hour workshop. A bonus was Burton’s commentary and asides along the way detailing exactly how these activities should be tackled in the classroom and for what purpose.
With a career starting in the state of Victoria and a contribution to Victorian drama education that was (and still is) genuinely significant, it was fitting that Bruce Burton was awarded Life Membership of Drama Victoria at this conference, an award previously bestowed upon only a handful of people in its 44-year history.
Drama Victoria will once again attract another significant drama educator for its members, as next March Patrice Baldwin, acclaimed drama education expert, current President of the International Association for Drama/Theatre and Education and Chair of National Drama (UK drama and theatre teachers’ association) will be at the Jumpstart mini conference.