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Sticks and Stones

Horrifying domestic violence statistics in Australia show that one in six women have experienced violence from a current or former partner, sixty three women have been killed by family violence this year and childhood exposure to partner violence increases the likelihood of intergenerational violence.

With the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently pledging $100 million to tackle domestic violence, including $5 million for school education programs, and with White Ribbon Day happening on 25th November, we talk to three inspiring high schools that are rewriting the script and helping students to develop respectful relationships using theatre-based education.

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With the launch of ‘The Wellbeing Framework for Schools’ by the NSW Education & Communities Department in April 2015, more and more schools are developing initiatives that are aimed at empowering students to take better care of their wellbeing; as well as that of others. 

One school that’s had a long-running student wellbeing program is All Saints’ College Bathurst. Their successful approach is focused on teaching skills that students can use in their everyday life, not just about conveying information on what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ behaviour. One example of this is incorporating Brainstorm Productions anti-bullying and violence prevention program ‘Sticks & Stones’. 

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R U OK 2015

At Brainstorm Productions, we did lots of important and substantial things to support R U OK?Day 2015. That’s because we believe conversations do make a difference. We believe we can help each other by taking the time to ask, “are you ok?” We believe that having a meaningful conversation is powerful. And of course, R U OK? is such an inspiring message with potentially life-changing consequences.

We also loved this year’s campaign drive to encourage people to give a big old-fashioned thanks to someone who had asked “are you ok?” when they needed help through one of life’s ups or downs. It was a great way to give our activities focus and help students reflect on the types of conversations that can be helpful to a friend who’s not doing so well.

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Thanks for asking 1

Communication plays such an important role in human interaction. A heartfelt note is always a great way to let someone know how you feel, as it carries with it sincere words, personal thoughts and our deepest gratitude. In the days of Snapchat, text messages and twitter, a thank you note might seem old-fashioned – but R U OK? is bringing it back with their 2015 campaign ‘Thanks for Asking’.

Thanks for Asking is all about celebrating the power of a conversation. By encouraging people to give thanks for someone who’s helped them weather one of life’s storms when they needed a bit of support, it will help prove that conversations do make a difference. Whether you’re the writer or the recipient, it’s an opportunity to reflect on how we can positively influence the lives we touch.

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Buddies 2 Anti Cyberbullying at School

What is the number-one social issue for students across Australia? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics CensusAtSchool survey, reducing bullying in schools [1]. Longitudinal studies have consistently found strong links between school bullying and mental health problems with victims at risk of developing depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Similarly, perpetrators of bullying are also at risk of developing depression, anti-social personality and substance use disorders [3]. With a long history, over 30 years, Brainstorm Productions helps more than 350,000 students across Australia each year with anti-bullying, cyber bullying and wellbeing education programs via a range of live in-school theatre productions. 

The use of theatre in education can help unite students in a shared experience and is a great springboard for opening up discussion and assisting with change; be it bullying, peer pressure, binge drinking and violence. Research and evaluation have revealed that the ‘overwhelming majority of students demonstrate enjoyment and enthusiasm through watching educational theatre, are receptive and listen attentively, and can correctly identify the educational messages being portrayed’ [2]. In this way, theatre gives strong and emotional lessons to students, whilst being entertaining.

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How does theatre help deliver the anti bullying message in schools, and is it effective? Australia's largest independent women’s website, Mamamia, talked to Brainstorm Productions co-founder Jenny Johnson about bullying, cyber bullying and how Brainstorm Productions uses theatre to bring about effective change and make a real difference in kids lives. Below is a full transcript of this interview:

 

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Posted by on in Cyber Safety Articles

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Brainstorm Productions is proud to be an education partner for Privacy Awareness Week 2015. This annual event is designed to promote awareness for privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information. Check out these great privacy tips from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on how to protect your personal information:

Privacy Awareness Week 2015 — Privacy Everyday

The theme for #2015PAW is Privacy everyday. Privacy should be an essential component of everyday life, including in transactions such as internet banking, social media and online shopping. It’s about you and the choices that you make every day. How often do you think about your privacy (or your family and friends’ privacy) when doing any of the following everyday things?

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Bullying-Program-2015

We were thrilled to be featured on the Generation Next website this week with an article about how theatre can help school students deal with bullying and violence. We're huge fans of this website and the tireless work they do to help tackle social, cultural and emotional challenges affecting young people today. Read the article below:

How Can Theatre Help School Students Deal with Bullying and Violence? 

What is the number-one social issue for students across Australia? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics landmark CensusAtSchool survey, reducing bullying in schools [1]. So how can theatre help students deal with the far-reaching and negative effects of bullying and violence?

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Anti bullying

One of the most significant dates in the 2015 Brainstorm Productions calendar is March 20th 2015. Firstly, Brainstorm Productions will be taking part in the 2015 National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence by raising awareness about the impact of bullying and providing real-life strategies to help primary and high school students stand together against bullying. Actors from Brainstorm Productions will be visiting 10 Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide schools on 20th March and sharing the Bullying. No Way! message with more than 2,500 students. 

The importance of this anti-bullying initiative cannot be overstated. Not only does the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence aim to raise awareness about the destructive impact of bullying on March 20, but it also encourages schools and students to implement longer-term strategies and programs to help address this issue.

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Book a theatre production for your school and it will touch the lives of your students for years to come. There is a certain magic that only theatre can create which reaches out and grabs onto us all; regardless of age, gender, background and religion. As long time theatre professionals (over 32 years!!!) and past teachers, our experience has taught us a thing or two about how to best book your in-school educational theatre production. So let’s take a look at our top essential tips:

YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS! 

An experienced school theatre company will have visited thousands of schools and know exactly what is required from the first initial phone call, to when they leave your school grounds and wave goodbye. We know that any school day, week, month, term, year is always going to be B-U-S-Y, so we ensure the experience is hassle and stress-free. When you choose an experienced school theatre company, like Brainstorm Productions, you’re not only getting a great experience for your students but also the reassurance and peace of mind that everything will be managed professionally including:

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Buddies Bullying Program for Primary Schools

What is the role of theatre companies in schools and how can theatre companies have a positive impact on students?

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White Ribbon Day 2014

Brainstorm Productions teamed up with Canterbury Girls High School and Girraween High School for White Ribbon Day 2014 on 25th November to help raise awareness and much needed funds to support White Ribbon Australia’s work to break the silence around violence. 

Violence against women is at epidemic proportions. Devastatingly, on average, one woman is killed every week in Australia as a result of partner violence. While death is at the pointy end of a broad spectrum, violence against women and girls encompasses verbal, emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuses, which all form part of a destructive cycle of violence.

The two Brainstorm Productions White Ribbon Day events held at Canterbury Girls High School and Girraween High School used educational theatre to address anti-social behaviour and how this can have a profound effect on student mental health and wellbeing. Students participated in a performance of ‘Cyberia’ which tackled digital violence in the form of cyber-bullying, one of the biggest threats to teenagers today.

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The Herald-Sun recently reported that bullying behaviour is starting in children as young as age three; with research from the University of Wollongong revealing 93% of early childhood educators believe young children are capable of bullying. With most instances of bullying beginning in the playground with name calling, pushing and hair pulling, anti-bullying programs are vital to help guide primary school children who may already be displaying challenging or aggressive behaviour or to help kids who are being bullied.  

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R U OK? Day may have wrapped for another year, but this is no reason to stop asking each other “are you okay?”. As the ‘R U OK? at School Partner’, Brainstorm Productions, is helping to inspire teenagers across Australia to start conversations that can make a real difference. Our aim is to visit over 200,000 high school students in the next 12 months and provide advice and tips on how to ask someone if they’re okay and to regularly check-in with their mates.

Posted by on in Student Wellbeing Articles

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As the big yellow R U OK?Day Mateship Bus tours around Australia in the lead up to R U OK? Day on 11th September 2014, we asked our actors to take 5 and share what mateship means to them:

 

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Tagged in: Bullying Program

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‘Are you okay?’ - 3 Little Words That Can Make a Difference

On Thursday 11th September 2014 thousands of students across Australia will participate in R U OK?Day. How? By taking the time to stop and ask the question “are you ok?” to anyone who might be struggling with life. R U OK?Day is about taking the time to discuss life’s challenges in a positive way through active listening and sensitive questioning. 

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MEDIA RELEASE

Brainstorm Productions – one of Australia’s largest educational theatre production companies – has partnered with R U OK? to help more school students start regular, meaningful conversations with each other to improve youth wellbeing.

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Recently we had the great pleasure of performing our cyber bullying program 'Cyberia' at Cairns State High School. The program is designed to empower students to address bullying, cyber bullying and digital responsibility through a live in-school theatre performance and curriculum-based activities.

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How have 1.7 million Australian students learnt how to use effective conflict resolution, manage their anger and look at violence and bullying in a new light? From engaging with our 'Sticks & Stones K-6’ and 'Sticks & Stones Yrs 7-10’ school programs. 

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Bullying is a difficult issue for schools everywhere. Research from the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics ‘Census at Schools’ survey shows that bullying is now the #1 issue for Australian school kids, and with the average weekly time schoolchildren spend on a computer jumping from 3 hours in 2006 to 13 hours in 2013, there has been a correlating increase in kids struggling and falling victim to cyber bullying. 

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