30 Australian Plays for School Use

In my previous post about The Elements of Drama I mentioned that a good strategy for looking at character/role and/or time/place/situation is to do some script extract work.

With so many plays available sometimes it is difficult to choose which ones would be best for school use. Here I’ve compiled a short list of plays that would work well for either Years 7-10 (Stage 4-5) and Years 9-12 (Stage 5-6). The main differences being that in the plays in each list deal with different themes and require a certain maturity level.

They are all Australian plays which works well for teacher’s in Australia who have to teach an Australian text at some point in their programming. However, international teachers may like to use these as a way of gaining perspectives on other countries.

When preparing to use a play in a class it is important that you:

  • Read the entire play before you start working on selected scenes.
  • Have a discussion or do some activites that provide a context for the play as well as discussing the themes and issues in the play.

Year 7-10 (Stage 4-5)

  • Fossils by Manuel Aston
  • Spitting Chips by Peta Murray
  • Two Weeks with the Queen  by Mary Morris
  • Blabbermouth by Mary Morris
  • No Worries by David Holman
  • Beauty and the Beast by David Holman
  • The Small Poppies by David Holman
  • What’s the Matter with Mary Jane? by Wendy Harmer

Year 9-12 (Stage 5-6)

  • A Property of the Clan by Nick Enright
  • Cloudstreet by Nick Enright
  • The Venetian Twins by Nick Enright (also great for Commedia dell’ Arte)
  • Gary’s House by Debra Oswald
  • The Club by David Williamson
  • Don’s Party by David Williamson
  • Stolen by Jane Harrison
  • Ruby Moon by Matt Cameron
  • 7 Stage of Grieving by Wesley Enoch
  • Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Ray Lawler
  • Norm and Ahmed by Alex Buzo

The following plays may not be suitable for all school’s but short extracts could definitely be used:

  • Diving for Pearls by Katherine Thompson
  • Navigating by Katherine Thompson
  • Wonderland by Katherine Thompson
  • Wolf Lullaby by Hilary Bell
  • Running Up a Dress by Suzanne Spunner
  • The Black Sequin Dress by Beatrix Christian
  • Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell
  • Summer of the Aliens by Louis Nowra
  • Cosi by Louis Nowra
  • Away by Michael Gow
  • Secret Bridesmaid’s Business by Elizabeth Coleman

Can you recommend any other good Australian plays or play book series that would be great for the classroom? Share them with us in the comments.

Image Credit:Sydney Harbour Bridge / Christopher Chan / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



  1. I’ve performed The Small Poppies with my Year 11 Drama class.

    Here is a link from the NSW Board of Studies which gives you a plot summary of a whole stack of Australian Plays you may like to do in class:

    In terms of script excerpts on the net they are hard to find. Copyright is a tough one. I have a copy at school that I can photocopy and either send/fax to you if you’re in Australia. Otherwise, you may be able to view excerpts on book websites. I tried Amazon without much luck either but you never know what you might find…

    Essentially The Small Poppies requires adults actors to play 5 year old children on their first day at school. There are a couple of characters that are Vietnamese but I’m sure that could be interachangeable.

    Anything else I can help you with please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m also on Twitter @karlao_dtn if you use it.

  2. Right now i’m thinking of having my class perform the small poppies. Do you know any website where i can can get a snippet of the script or the type of characters the would be playing?

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