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A first for online theatre

A partnership between New Zealand’s highly regarded Tim Bray Theatre Company and leading teaching resource provider Essential Resources has been heralded as a bold step in opening up new learning opportunities for students from early childhood to primary levels. As Essential Resources Managing Director Nicola Smith sees it, Tim Bray Theatre Company’s interpretation of popular children’s literature, now captured on high-quality videos, is a natural fit with the educational expertise of her publishing team.

“Teachers are now able to easily access theatrical interpretations of works such as Greedy Cat, The Lion in the Meadow, and Badjelly the Witch from popular children’s authors,” she explains. “Each work is accompanied by related learning resources that assist teachers to provide curriculum-aligned outcomes for students who have watched the Online Theatre.”

Tim Bray Theatre Company is hugely popular in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland through its children-focused theatre works but sees Essential Resources as enabling it to reach a much wider audience. “Essential Resources provides us with the platform to reach the majority of schools across New Zealand and Australia,” Tim Bray, QSM says. “Together, we can create a highly affordable dramatic experience that is accessible to children regardless of where they live or what school they attend. And as well as increasing geographical access, our Online Theatre also broadens accessibility with NZ Sign Language option for Deaf students, captioning for hard of hearing learners and Audio Described option for blind (or vision impaired) students.”

“For those who find reading a challenge, it also provides a different way of introducing popular literature that doesn’t rely on reading,” he says. “We have worked with Essential Resources to further develop the related teaching resources, adding as much value to the learning programme as possible.”

Available to early childhood settings and schools in both New Zealand and Australia, the Online Theatre sits alongside a wide range of thousands of teaching aids Essential Resources makes available in both printed and digital format. “We are constantly looking for new ways to help teachers make lessons as engaging and rewarding for students as possible,” says Nicola Smith. “Online Theatre is an incredibly exciting medium for taking theprinted page to the stage for as many students as possible.”

Credit: Photos by David Rowland /

Visit Essential Resources page in the directory or their website to find out more.