'Drama Queen' - Drama Performance Officer at The Arts Unit, Department of Education, Jane Simmons
Summary: A young performer's passion is frequently ignited through their engagement with the Arts, at school. Performing Arts teachers recognise and nurture a passion in their students that may one day lead to a professional career in dance, music or drama. A performing arts experience at school also supports the child whose ambition may lie in other industries, providing essential social, personal and analytical skills. The role of the Drama Teacher is immensely fulfilling but equally demanding. It exists beyond the curriculum in co-curricular programs, experiences and productions, generously offered by teachers to foster an appreciation of theatre, culture and the joy of play-making. Jane Simmons has over 25 years teaching experience. She is embraced as a leader in Drama education and is recognised as a generous source of advice, encouragement and practice. In her present role as Performance Officer at The Department of Education Arts Unit, she has produced State drama festivals, camps, ensembles and workshops. Jane has coordinated professional development courses and is an experienced director, administrator and marker. In 2011 she created a social network site, Drama Peeps. The site is a valued resource for the Drama teacher, offering support of pedagogy and nurturing community. Jane also has extensive stage experience. She has performed sold out shows at the Sydney Comedy Festival and is a dynamic presence at Theatresports competitions. For a period she wrote an insightful blog reviewing theatre, called Shit On Your Play. The blog garnered a wide readership from discerning theatre goers and many practitioners from MainStage and Fringe companies. In 2015 Jane received the Australian Council of Teachers leadership award, recognising her excellence and expertise in the arts. Jane joined Stages in a celebratory conversation of the Drama teacher and illuminating reflection on what lead her to a career in arts education.