Dr John Nicholas Saunders

BCI, BEd, MEd, PhD
Honorary Associate
+61 2 93512606
A35 / 307
The University of Sydney

John Nicholas Saunders 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 as 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.

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

John's award-winning PhD, which he completed at The University of Sydney, explored the impact of drama-based pedagogy on English and literacy learning.

Prior to joining Ambrose Treacy College, he was Director of Education and Community Partnerships at Sydney Theatre Company.

Future Leaders Award, Council of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Christine Sinclair Research Award for a distinguished research thesis, Drama Australia

  • President, Drama Australia
  • Chair, National Advocates for Arts Education
  • Honorary Program Associate, The Sydney Theatre Company
  • Board Member, Australian Plays Transform


Book chapters
  • Ewing, R.A. and Saunders, J.N. (2019). "The School Drama partnership: beyond an artist-in-residence program." In M. Finneran and M. Anderson (Eds.) Education and Theatres: Beyond the Four Walls (pp. 149–164), Springer.
  • Ewing, R. and Saunders, J. (2018). "Towards 'grown-up ness in the world' through the arts as critical, quality pedagogy." In C. Naughton, G. Biesta and D. Cole (Eds.) Art, artists and pedagogy: philosophy and the arts in education (pp. 96–106), London: Routledge.
  • Ewing, R., Gibson, R., Campbell, V., Saunders, J. and Hristofski, H. (2015). "School Drama: towards state of the art in drama professional learning?" In M. Anderson and C. Roche (Eds.), 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." ADEM (Australian Drama Education Magazine), 14, 41–46.
  • Saunders, J. and 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. and 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.