Teacher Notes

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Teacher notes with lesson plans, assessment suggestions and links to the Australian Curriculum: English can be downloaded below, along with Drama activities suitable for both English and Drama classrooms.

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Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs is a brief but thought-provoking comedy about a school Life Skills exercise. It questions the usefulness of school knowledge—so it deals with a situation familiar to every student, and about which they probably have strong opinions. The play dramatises a lesson in which students are asked to care for an egg as they would a baby, exploring issues of responsibility, priorities, compromise and accountability, all of which students are likely to be negotiating as they enter mid-adolescence.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 8.

Download Scrambled Eggs Teacher Resource

Full Circle

Full Circle is a deceptively simple collection of folktales performed in response to a narrator’s question about the Moon. Many students will have seen or read similar folk presentations or theatre-in-the-round performances in primary school and will wonder why it’s being proffered again to more ‘mature’ readers. This is precisely the point of this lesson: simple texts often carry the most powerful ideological agenda and are excellent material to work with as students embark on the challenging concepts and tasks of senior English.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 10.

Download Full Circle Teacher Resource

Wheeler-Dealer

Not only a fun play with moments of rap, magic, singing and dancing, Wheeler-Dealer deals honestly with the experience of acquired disability and the hostility, awkwardness and anger that goes with it. The main character, Mandy, is now wheelchair-bound after a car crash which killed her father. On hearing Mandy’s inner and outer voices, audiences will be struck by her spiky resilience and her willingness to call others on their own barely concealed confusion.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 7.

Download Wheeler Dealer Teacher Resource

Blast Off

Who hasn’t thumped their computer and called it names? Or been convinced that the photocopier ‘had it in’ for them? Blast Off shoots those insecurities into the far future in a comedy about a young man trapped on a spaceship with only three bored, neurotic and supercilious machines for company. A short comic piece in the same vein as Doctor Who or Red Dwarf, the play slyly examines our interactions with machines, their developing ‘personalities’ in the new digital world, and the role and value we set on our uniquely human needs.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 9.

Download Blast Off Teacher Resource

Out of Your Mind

If you’ve ever looked along a railway platform and thought about how many human stories are standing there, waiting for a train, Out of Your Mind will interest you. It’s a striking visual representation of how ordinary spaces brim with people’s bodies, thoughts, grievances, impulses and possibilities. Teachers often have to prompt students to consider how characters’ thoughts and anxieties are almost independent agents in a drama.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 10.

Download Out of Your Mind Teacher Resource

Home Sweet Home

Many famous authors and critics have enjoyed the soap opera as a literary form. They have relished the stock characters and open-ended narrative, the eternal circularity and infinite variations of the plots which can be constructed from a handful of familiar character types. Home Sweet Home will be familiar territory to anyone who has watched Neighbours, Home and Away, or serial sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 8.

Download Home Sweet Home Teacher Resource

Sticks and Stones

Bullying in schools has never been taken more seriously than today. The effect of verbal bullying can be disastrous and a number of subject areas work with students to warn them about the effects of gossip and to help develop ways to deal with it. Sticks and Stones shows the effect of gossip on a number of different students; these teacher notes offer a rigorous and realistic toolkit for identifying the language features of gossip and analysing its uses and abuses. Both these notes and the play aim to help students ‘know their enemy’.

 This lesson plan is suitable for Year 10.

Download Sticks and Stones Teacher Resource

Water Pressure

A fascinating episode and great human achievement is pulled from the archives and presented in this short play, Water Pressure. The Goldfields Pipeline and the man who engineered it, CY O’Connor, are now features in a museum visited by a boy and his mum. The boy, who represents the audience, is fascinated by the epic—and ultimately tragic—story, while his mum is merely keen to see the collection of regional teapots. A study in economy, visual technique and engaging ways to present Australian stories, this play will surprise even the most reluctant students of Australian history and drama.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 7.

Download Water Pressure Teacher Resource

Mango Time

Sue Murray’s short social-issues drama Mango Time will engage even reluctant English students with its accessible language and characters. Students will recognise familiar social and emotional situations in the protagonist’s experience of racist bullying, and can draw on their own experiences of inclusion and exclusion. The upbeat ending affirms the possibility of improvement for both bully and victim, and there’s opportunity for both visual and verbal comedy throughout.

This lesson plan is suitable for Years 8 and 9.

Download Mango Time Teacher Resource

Macbeth Inc.

Although a witty take on Macbeth, Sue Murray’s play actually works as an intriguing demonstration of how the traditional relationship between texts and values is breaking down. The adaptations in Macbeth Inc. show the moral quandary that contemporary society faces as it covertly approves behaviours which its own ethics condemn. With adaptations of Shakespeare becoming more popular, the play subtly questions the relevance of a canon of literature and whether ‘great literature’ still has a moral duty to guide its audience.

 This lesson plan is suitable for Year 10.

Download the Macbeth Inc. Teacher Resource

The Princess and the Nag Hag

Blended families are a reality in almost every classroom in the modern world and students often feel the traditional fairytale narrative seems less and less relevant. This play takes the stock fairytale problem of the stepmother, step daughter, new baby and feelings of rejection on all sides and shows that the optimism and moral baseline of the traditional fairytale—even when it’s complicated by modernity—is just as relevant, heartening and useful as ever.

 This lesson plan is suitable for Year 8.

Download The Princess and the Nag Hag Teacher Resource

Why Are You Here?

Absurdist literature fascinates many senior students. It engages with the notion that life is meaningless and conventional ways of representing life simply use cultural norms without interrogating them. Socially critical students, students who are highly creative or those who simply struggle with conveying their unique perception of the world will enjoy Sue Murray’s absurdist drama about a psychiatrist who’s crazier than her patients. This short play works well as an introduction to the theatre of the absurd and its associated concepts.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 11.

Download the Why are you here? Teacher Resource

Scenes from the Formal

Big school events can bring out the best and worst in participants. As well as a celebration which marks the end of formal schooling, the school Formal is often very stressful. Teachers, parents and children struggle to cope with the many imposed values that the event can entail (particularly for girls). This selection of three brief scenes from Sue Murray’s longer play, The Formal, uses gentle satire to show the collision of values which the Formal can bring.

 This lesson plan is suitable for Year 9.

Download Scenes from The Formal Teacher Resource

The First Australian

This play shows that history, geography, biography and Indigenous studies are all interesting topics in the English classroom—not only as dry texts, but as important, lively questions about people from our past, stories about them and the ethics of representing groups. The First Australian presents an intriguing character and follows his astute and diplomatic analysis of his own historical record. A clever and entertaining play, it provokes students to realise that they can and should question the materials they’re presented with.

This lesson plan is suitable for Year 7.

Download The first Australian Teacher Resource

Scenes from Mirror, Mirror

Eating disorders are an ongoing problem, as ideas of attractiveness and acceptability become ever more rigidly defined. In Mirror, Mirror, the strange games we play with ourselves to shore up fundamentally unhelpful processes of reasoning mould an inner climate which skew, slow and eventually stop the growth of a teenage girl. Sue Murray’s pastiche of styles captures both the inner and outer world of the girl at the centre of this, showing how ideas of beauty are conflated with attractiveness, difference, acceptability, interest and virtue.

 This lesson plan is suitable for Year 8.

Download Scenes from Mirror, Mirror Teacher Resource

Circular Breathing

An unplanned pregnancy is the trigger for this monologue by a young Aboriginal student, Marnie. Sue Murray depicts the young woman’s perspective on life with elegance and economy, showing how we sum up the events of a life and bring them to bear on one, life-changing question. Monologues are a great way to tackle the tricky subject of identifying and analysing literary voice. Circular Breathing will show students how to locate the seeds of voice and gives them a chance to use their own emerging voice in writing.

 This lesson plan is suitable for Year 10.

Download the Circular Breathing Teacher Resource

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