About Us

About the Company

Applied Theatre Company Ltd (ATCo) was established in 1999, with two directors: Professor Peter O’Connor and Briar O’Connor PhD, Grad.Dip.Tchg(Pry). Its primary focus has been in the use of theatre within public education campaigns and as a tool for learning. It is recognised nationally and internationally for its ground-breaking and innovative work.

ATCo does not believe in one-size-fits-all programmes. It believes that programmes should be tailor made for each particular circumstance. This ensures a proper fit between the project and the desired outcomes of any funder.

To have the ATCo team create a programme for you, or to speak with us about our work, simply email everyday@appliedtheatre.co.nz and we will be in touch.

About the Directors

Peter’s role in the Company is now largely one of governance. He is  Professor of Education at the University of Auckland, and Director of the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation (CAST), also at the University of Auckland.  He has served as an Honorary Principal Fellow with the Melbourne University Graduate School of Education, as an Adjunct at the University of Sydney, and worked as a visiting scholar or as visiting professor at many other universities, including Beijing Union, Warwick, Northampton, Royal Holloway (London), Central School of Speech and Drama (London), Victoria B.C. Canada, National Institute of Education in Singapore, Singapore Polytechnic, Otago and the University of Waikato.

In April 2020 Peter led the development of Te Rito Toi, an arts-based resource to help teachers work with children when they first return to school following major traumatic or life changing events. Te Rito Toi is gaining popularity around the world as students return to school following Covid-19.   This follows his establishment of the Teaspoon of Light Theatre in Education Company which worked with young children in the most quake-affected schools in Christchurch from 2011 – 2013.  He was invited to take this work to Mexico in 2017, after the September earthquakes, and he worked there with Katy Perez, previously Programme Manager for ATCo, training local artists in this work.  Along with other projects and commitments, this work earned him two awards: the Griffith University School of Education and Professional Studies Alumnus of the Year award in 2012, and in the same year he was the Inaugural recipient of the Antonio Rosmini Award for contributions to Social Justice (presented by the Rosmini Order).

Peter won the prestigious American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in 2006 for his PhD research.[1] This has strengthened his international reputation in applied theatre as interactive pedagogy which is further reflected in the many invitations to be an invited keynote speaker at conferences. His work is published in many international peer-reviewed journals and books, and he is on the international editorial boards for both Research in Drama Education (RiDE): The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance and Applied Theatre Researcher/IDEA. His paper Unnoticed Miracles[2] was chosen in 2015 as one of the twenty most significant writings in the field and was republished in RiDE’s 20th anniversary edition (2015) (read this paper by taking this link http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569780903286105).  A link to Peter’s university CV can be found here https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/p-oconnor

ATCo’s Managing Director is Briar O’Connor PhD, GradDipTchg(Pry). She oversees the company’s research unit, which has produced numerous research and scoping exercises for government departments and NGOs.  She is a qualified primary teacher, and recently completed a PhD in  Education at the University of Auckland, conducting a case study of how a school normalized its child protection policy.

Games Masters

We thank the many games masters who have facilitated Everyday Theatre over the years.