John Nicholas Saunders

BCI(QUT), BEd(QUT), MEd(Sydney)

Honorary Associate


Phone: +61 (2) 9250  1795

Fax: +61 (2) 9251  3687

Building.Room: A35.

Professional biography

John Nicholas Saunders is a former secondary school teacher and the Education Manager at Sydney Theatre Company (STC).  Prior to joining STC, John Nicholas was a drama teacher and Head of Department: The Arts.  His research and teaching concentrates on the role of Drama pedagogy on improving student academic and non-academic outcomes.  In 2014 John Nicholas was awarded the CHASS Australia Prize for a Future Leader in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

John Nicholas has extensive experience in Arts Education and currently hols the following positions; President of Drama NSW; Director of Arts, Education Policy & Curriculum with the Drama Australia Board; Chair of the Drama Australia & New Zealand International Conference Committee; Board Member of Playlab Press; Reference Group Member of the Arts Learning Forum with the Australia Council for the Arts; and Drama Education representative on the National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE).

Recently, John Nicholas has held positions as Co-Writer of the Senior Drama Syllabus with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA); President of Drama Queensland; Board Chair of the Festival of Australian Student Theatre (FAST); Conference Co-Director of the Drama Australia National Conference (2012); Education Advisor to the Brisbane Festival; and a member of the Queensland Theatre Company’s Youth and Education Reference Group (YERG).


John Nicholas holds an Honorary Associate position at the University of Sydney, where he teachers as a guest across a range of courses focusing on Drama, Literacy and Creativity in Education.  He regularly presents work at local, national and international conferences.  John Nicholas’ work has been published in a number of journals and he has contributed chapters to several books (including Nice Arts edited by Rachael Jacobs, and The State of The Arts: Teaching drama in the 21st century edited by Michael Anderson & Colleen Roche).  Most recently, he has co-authored a book detailing the School DramaTM program with his esteemed colleague Professor Robyn Ewing AM, The School Drama Book: Drama, Literature & Literacy in the Creative Classroom.  


Selected publications


Book chapters

  • Ewing, R. & Saunders, J. . (2018). Towards 'grown-up ness in the world' through the arts as critical, quality pedagogy. In C. Naughton, G. Biesta & D. Cole (Ed.), Art, artists and pedagogy: Philosophy and the arts in education (pp. 96–106), London: Routledge.
  • Ewing, R., Gibson, R., Campbell, V., Saunders, J. & Hristofski, H. (2015). School drama: Towards state of the art in drama professional learning?. In M. Anderson & C. Roche (Ed.), The state of the art: Teaching drama in the 21st century (pp. 25–48), Sydney: Sydney University Press.