Tom's picks for February - Schools

12 Feb 2014

The latest recommendations from our Literary Manager



Each month Tom delves into our extensive catalogue and suggests plays suitable for classroom use, for tertiary study and performance and for community theatre groups. You can also get these recommendations delivered via email, by signing up here.



by Alana Valentine

by Jamie Forbes

Recommended for schools

Australia Day is over and here we are, buckled in to 2014 with a whole swag of new plays to chew over. To kick off the year, I have chosen two plays that go back quite a bit in the catalogue; one by well-known Sydney writer, Alana Valentine, and one by professional educator and playwright Jamie Forbes. They are very different beasts. Mister Jones by Jamie Forbes is light-hearted and is an excellent opportunity for any drama class to take some revenge on teachers, played out, as it is, in the classroom with a hapless maths teacher. With Multiple Choice Alana Valentine takes on an issue that is increasingly occupying our newspapers and talk-back lines since the tragic events in Kings Cross on New Years Eve – young people and alcohol.
Multiple Choice was written in 1985 and originally presented at the Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney. Despite it having been nearly thirty years since it was written, it still has a currency and has a fresh no-holds-barred feeling about it. It does contain some coarse language and is most certainly aimed for upper high school age, but the issues it raises are, perhaps, more relevant than ever.
Mister Jones is a dark, absurd comedy set in a year 10 classroom over a school period. Maths teacher-on-the-edge Mr Jones finds himself in front of an insolent, hot and bothered drama class. Will he get out of this with his faculties intact and his trousers on? Will he get out of it at all? Written in 1989, Mr Jones was workshopped and performed by St Martins youth theatre in Melbourne and subsequently produced as a radio play by the ABC.

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Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts and Music (VCAM) in 1989 Tom Healey has worked as an actor, a director and a dramaturg with companies and projects around the nation. Positions held include Curator of the Australian National Playwrights’ Conference (2006), Artistic Associate of Playbox (1999-2003), Artistic Directorate (Hothouse Theatre 2006-09), Casting Consultant and Artistic Counsel (Malthouse Theatre 2005-07) and Panellist (Arts Victoria Performance Panel). As a dramaturg he has worked with Australian playwrights both emerging and established, and he has directed premieres of many new Australian works. He has also directed and developed works in contemporary opera, cabaret and music theatre and taught at the universities of Melbourne, Ballarat and La Trobe as well as the VCAM and NIDA. Tom is currently the Literary Manager of the Australian Script Centre.

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