Dr John Nicholas Saunders

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

Honorary Associate


Phone: +61 (2) 9250  1795

Fax: +61 (2) 9251  3687

Building.Room: A35.

Research interests

Research on teaching and learning

  • Creative and performing arts
  • English and literacy


Arts Education, Drama Education, English & Literacy Education

Professional biography


Dr John Nicholas Saunders BCI (Drama), BEd (Secondary), MEd (Research), PhD, is the Head of Drama at Ambrose Treacy College Brisbane.


Initially a Drama and English teacher, John has extensive experience in Drama, Arts, English and Literacy Education and has taught in primary, secondary, tertiary and in juvenile justice contexts.  He has held positions Head of Department: The Arts at Southern Cross Catholic College; Senior Curriculum Co-Writer with the Queensland Studies Authority; Board member of Playlab Press; Associate Academic at Australian Catholic University; President of Drama NSW and Drama QLD; Education Consultant to the Brisbane Festival and guest lecturer at The University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and University of New South Wales; Chair of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) Education Network; and, Drama Curriculum Advisor to ACARA.


He currently holds positions as President of Drama Australia and Chair of National Advocates for Arts Education (NAAE), and Honorary Associate at Sydney Theatre Company. John also teaches Drama Curriculum at Griffith University, Queensland.


John is an Honorary Associate at The University of Sydney where he completed his PhD exploring the impact of drama-based pedagogy on English and literacy learning.


  • Future Leaders Award, Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) (2014).

  • The Drama Australia Christine Sinclair Research Award for a distinguished research thesis (2020)

Professional and community roles

  • President, Drama New South Wales

  • President, Drama Australia

Selected publications


Book chapters

  • Ewing, E.A. & Saunders, J.N. (2019). The School Drama Partnership: Beyond an Artist-in-Residence Program. In Finneran, M. & Anderson, M. (Ed.), Education and Theatres: Beyond the Four Walls (pp. 149–164), Springer.
  • 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.

Journal articles

  • Saunders, J.N. (2018). Imagine the dramatic (r)evolution: A good revolution always involves a lot of drama. Article. ADEM (Australian Drama Education Magazine), 14, 41–46.
  • Saunders, J. & Stinson, M. . (2017). Drama in the Australian national curriculum – the role of advocacy. NJ, 40(2), 113–116. DOI:10.1080/14452294.2016.1276737
  • Stinson, M. & Saunders, J. . (2016). Drama in the Australian national curriculum: decisions, tensions and uncertainties. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 21(1), 93–104. DOI:10.1080/13569783.2015.1126173
  • Saunders, J. (2015). Advocacy : the arts : prepare for the battle. Drama Queensland Says, 35, 8–17.