All the drama and democracy

It’s not often your students get to stamp, laugh, shout and boo as part of an engaging and enriching lesson about democracy and drama.

But that’s the way things roll during performances for the Martin-Lysicrates Prize, a theatre competition to be held this year on 8 November from 11am to 1pm at the Riverside Theatres in Parramatta.

For your students, the event is free inspiration, taking in the magic of live theatre while feeling empowerment of the democratic vote.

For you it’s a chance to win a return trip for two to Athens. Plus, every teacher who brings 30 students or more to watch the Riverside show will receive two tickets to a performance of Cinderella, opening soon in Sydney.

The idea is that students are issued voting tokens before watching – either live or streamed – the first act of three plays written by accomplished playwrights. They are then asked to judge for themselves which one of the three plays they want to see completed to decide the winner.

That’s where the democracy lesson comes in: they’re told every vote matters, they must be critical and make up their own minds without asking friends or teachers, and they leave the experience feeling empowered after dropping their token into one of three urns.

Teachers of English, History Depth Studies and Drama can sign up for this free and highly participatory experience for year 7 and 8 students, either:

  • In the theatre (for maximum inspiration)
  • In the classroom for a live stream of the event
  • Or online over four weeks after the performance. A film of the competition will be posted on the Martin-Lysicrates website for viewing around Australia and the world.

Attendance is completely free and the best news for all participants is that every student gets to cast their vote for the winning play, worth $15,000 to the writer of the most popular play.

Students will watch three first acts of up to 14 minutes each, which use basic sets and minimal costumes. They will see how well-known Australian playwrights tell a story, construct a character, build tension and make their audiences want more. Perhaps students will get inspired to write their own play.

A Teachers’ Resource Kit accompanies the event, with a comprehensive store of content and classroom activities covering the development of theatre and democracy from their beginnings in ancient Greece.

Please register your interest by sending an email to [email protected] and tell us whether you’d like to:

  • Come to the Riverside Theatre OR
  • Attend via live stream OR
  • Watch the video.