Susan Battye has previously been the Programme Manager for the Bachelor of Maori Performing Arts, at Te Wananga O Aotearoa and head of Drama at Epsom Girls Grammar School. She studied in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1978 for a Diploma in Drama and Education with Dorothy Heathcote and gained M.A. in Education Studies from Loughborough University of Technology in 1993. Most of her plays have been written for use in schools and Susan’s publishing history is a credit to both their calibre and her knowledge of what teachers want. In 2001 she co-wrote Ponsonby Road with Tim Bray for an adult audience.
Susan began writing plays for students she taught at Greymouth High School because she could find nothing to direct that came close to fitting their needs, and nothing in the curriculum that reflected the local community’s social history. Together with Thelma Eakin in 1977 she wrote and directed The Shadow of the Valley, a play about New Zealand’s biggest industrial accident, the Brunner Mine disaster of 1896. The play was subsequently published by Oxford University Press and has since received many performances throughout New Zealand. The playwrights’ co-written historical novel, The Mine’s Afire, based on the play was short listed for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards in 2010.
Susan is a writer who is in this way inspired to write with particular people and communities in mind. For example, her play In the Closet is set in India and New Zealand and it has dialogue in English, Hindi and Maori, reflecting the ethnic mix of the class it was originally written for.
“Once students feel the power of theatre to transform their view of the world, to create metaphors for their lives, they never look back”, says Battye.
Teenager Zaria, sent by her Montenegran parents to live with relatives in New Zealand, struggles to perform well in her all-girls school where institutional and peer group understandings challenge…
The mostly female workers at the Perky Pie restaurant unite to assert their rights over the profit-making demands of their bosses.
Written for young people.
It’s the beginning of the school year and there’s a funny smell coming from the Seventh Form Common Room, as the students get ready to welcome the new arrivals and meet a new international student…
When American tourists, Bob and his wife, Stacey encounter teenager, Amy, the enthusiastic Save the Kiwi collector at the Franz Josef glacier Visitors’ Centre, they get more than they bargain for…
Drama with clear development and strongly delineated characters about women’s solidarity in face of a factory closure. Marlene gears up battle lines in the cutting rooms as the expected…
The arrival of the Chilean naval vessel Esmeralda in Auckland in 1983 leads to demonstrations by Amnesty.
Gay life in Ponsonby Road. The script features a bookshop dealer, real estate agent, the leader of a women’s outdoor experience group, a closet lesbian and a male and female chorus.
Set against a background of surfing, concerns issues of love, trust and friendship among a group of teenagers. Has potential for larger chorus. Written for young people.
The musical is a documentary drama about the life of one of New Zealand’s most famous son’s, Sir Edmund Hillary.
On March 26, 1896, sixty five men lost their lives following an explosion in the coal mine at Brunnerton, a small West Coast coal-mining town.
This play is based on the short story of the same title by Katherine Mansfield, and devised with a fifth form drama class from Epsom Girls’ Grammar School.