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WHERE DO WE STAND? World Mapping of Policies, Politics and Drama/Theatre Education

Asia and Oceania, The Americas, Europe and the Middle East

The 2021 IDEA Webinars Where Do We Stand? are moderated by Sanja Krsmanović Tasić and Joachim Reiss with technical assistance from Liliana Galván from IDEA and Jugoslav Hadžić, Hleb teatar.

Our first session mapping Where Do We Stand? began in Oceania and Asia on the 30th of January with Guest Presenters from New Zealand, Australia, India, and the Philippines.

Emma Bishop, Former President of Drama New Zealand, spoke from Auckland about the current climate of ARTS in EDUCATION in AOTEAROA, the work of DNZ in creating a documentary of the important alliances with doctors, lawyers, judges to showcase the impact of Drama not only in education but also in living. Emma outlined the global work of Professor Peter O’Connor in attending to the Child in the centre of crises in the wake of earthquakes, floods, even massacres.

Dr. John Nicholas Saunders, as President of Drama Australia and Chair of the National Advocates for Arts Education (Australia) provided an overview of the current situation in Australia and how Australian Arts Educators and the NAAE have worked together to become powerful advocates for The Arts, to lobby government to ensure The Arts, including drama/theatre education, were a key learning area within a national curriculum.

Shaizia Jifri Manekshaw (Shez), speaking from the Hills of South India, outlined with deep compassion and innovation her critical work in responding to the immense changes Covid-19 restrictions and infections have wrought from Mumbai and throughout myriad regions of India. As the Leader of content and training at the Theatre Professionals Education and The School Library Project, Shez has spearheaded an amazing project bringing theatre education to individual students, teachers and communities during this pandemic experience.

Beng Santos-Cabangon, scoping a diverse and dynamic situation in her country, noted the grassroots of advocacy, forging links and creative pathways in arts and theatre education where ‘what is on paper’ is different from what is happening “on the ground”. From Manilaand throughout the Philippines, arts educators, especially through PETA, advocate school programs and Youth Theatre Festivals to provide performance opportunities and artistic partnering with different organisations, including the Catholic Church, and government.

Gunter Mieruch’s presentation described the framework conditions and requirements of how theatre could be successfully anchored as a compulsory subject, such as music and visual arts, in the curriculum of all general public schools in Germany. His work as upper-secondary-teacher for theatre, German and sociology/policy and assistant director in different theatres and his voluntary service as president of the local association for drama-teachers in Hamburg includes his advocacy and dedication to theatre education.

Gunter founded the programme, “Theatre and School” (TUSCH). He was Co-president of BVTS, the German national theatre-teachers association, and member of IDEA from 2013-2020.


Linked in their respective acting careers, teaching and research, through the University of Iceland, School of Education, Rannveig B. Þorkelsdóttir, PhD. and Ólafur Guðmundsson outlined their processes, experiences, and advocacy for drama in Iceland in their presentation, Drama now! Development of Drama in Icelandic Compulsory Education. In Iceland, drama is a subject, training students in the methods of the art. Drama is also a teaching method, where the method for teaching is founded in the art form. This presentation has a focus on the teachers’ education, on drama and artistic approaches to teaching and learning and on further implementation of the subject itself in schools.

Today, on behalf of IDEA and Where Do We Stand? I am very happy to announce and remind our colleagues and members of our upcoming Session 4 of showcasing the work and events of 2021 in Africa on the 24th of April!

Finally, next month, during the INTERNATIONAL UNESCO WEEK OF ARTS EDUCATION, on the 29th of May, will hold a Special Summary of our process from Where Do We Stand? This event via ZOOM will cover all the regions of our mapping process to encapsulate the vital advocacy and common political goals of drama/theatre education we have identified for all in schools and communities.

In showcasing so many different situations, case studies, including success and failure stories, Where Do We Stand? is gleaning the range of possible tactics and strategies of drama and theatre organisations and associations, worldwide, dedicated to arts education and empowerment.

Join us on the 29th of May for inspiration and connection with your local and international colleagues and IDEA friends!

By Colleen Roche

Director of Communications

All posters designed by Anastasia Tasić


The second session of the 2021 IDEA Webinars Where Do We Stand? highlighting Drama and Theatre in 2021 in The Americas, featured presenters from Canada, Argentina, Peru, and the USA on the 20th of February.

Kim Snider, Former President of CODE and representing Association for Drama and Dance in Ontario (described as “small but mighty”) in Toronto/Tkaronto, indicated Ontario’s healthy Drama landscape of 50 years through the works of David Booth, Kathleen Gallagher and Juliana Saxton. While advocacy for the Arts is strong here, there is little teacher training in the Arts in Canada. Kim outlined the need more inclusive partnerships and projects with Canada’s First Nations people, to learn to “speak as or for people”.

Beth Murray, IDEA Director of Publications in 2021 from the University of North Carolina, in Charlotte USA, acknowledges the First Nation peoples of her country and poses a further question to Where Do We Stand? for the drama/theatre education communities of the world: “How do we improve the quality of what we do?” In outlining the process of data gathering, statistics and numbers of students and teachers of the Arts and the development of National Arts Standards in many states, although not her own, Beth highlighted the rise of Arts movements and social emotional learning and, ultimately, the death of George Floyd, as a Time of reckoning and Change, to respond with our actions rather than words.

Renzo Cafferata Garcia, a professional actor in Lima, Peru, outlined the region’s policies of Drama/Theatre through his involvement, since 2010in programs, including the Arts in schools with 255 organisations mapped, now, around the country. Peru has 440 members. Renzo’s acting ability and artistic skills have led him to teaching Dramatiza and training teachers, during the pandemic, in general arts education through T.V. online in a program called EXPREARTE around the country.

Esther Trozzo has 20 years’ experience with Dramatiza Argentina, while Erica Pazur worked in Salzburg and Vienna. Together Ester and Erica gave a history of the burgeoning curricula of Dance and Drama in Argentina, noting the political history of the country and its impact on the Dramatic Arts Education program, which was implemented in 1986. However, it has not always been used by teachers, despite more intensification in the Arts through the work of Eric Eisner, Elida Schinocca and Roberto Vega. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll in Argentina, where 50,000 people died, and schools were closed for 1 year.


On the 20th of March, IDEA Where Do We Stand? outlined events and critical changes in Europe and the Middle East through presentations from individuals and teams of drama educators.

Dr. Zeki Özen presented a discussion of the history of drama in education in Turkey, especially the early years of Çağdaş Drama Derneği (Contemporary Drama Association- CDA) and how it changed the future education of the Turkish people. Zeki shared his extensive experiences from Ankara University's Faculty of Educational Sciences Drama Master Programme and as a general secretary of CDA in its current drama program. He included examples of the changing drama work undertaken in pandemic days in Turkey.

Working together at UNATC, the largest theatre and film university in Romania, students and teachers from the Acting department have been in a continuous dialogue with other educational institutions in creating a platform that generates theatre and drama as a means of education for children from various environments. As a team, Dr. Bogdana Darie, Dr. Romina Boldașu, Andreea Jicman and Victor Bădoi offered free theatre workshops for children across Bucharest, travelling into Romanian communities across the country and working with less advantaged communities, in order to understand their needs and how to use theatre to contribute to wellbeing.

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