‘Happiness is A Place called School’ was the quote used to elicit the experiences of chosen adults as they traversed the journey from teen to adult. The stories recorded described how school experiences affect identity and shape the future and include such themes as surviving bullying, family dysfunction, forging friendships, falling in love, confronting sexuality and how the ‘school of life’ affects the choices you make long after the school days are over. A list of themes emerged which became the Scenes of the play: Who We Are, Love/Hate School, Surviving, Bullying and Rebellion, Family, Love, Epilogue – In Conclusion; themes which highlight the similarities and distinctions between individuals as they recall how friendships, resilience, mischief and humour helped them find their way; a plethora of truths disclosed over a night in the theatre.

The cast totals 7 characters, 2 being pre recorded. Both Lucy & Keegan appear via skype (pre recorded video footage) on screens above the stage. The characters we meet are: Lucy, representing the innocence and gaiety of youth. As the sole Primary school student, Lucy highlights where the school experience begins and where it might lead. Ben: a Drama teacher who struggled to belong as a gay man in a regional town. Keegan: A student who speaks candidly about her yearning for intimacy and her struggle with body image; Kirby, a young, strong willed artist who was bullied for a speech impediment and targeted by a street gang. Buck, a middle aged Musician who was once a school bully, having learnt bullying from his Mother; Chez, a middle aged Interior organizer who was left alone as a child to care for herself and her three brothers and lastly; Sonya, whose artistic personality has seen her through her troubled youth marred by depression.

  • verbatim
  • 90
  • 7 total
  • 5 female identifying, 2 male identifying
  • lgbtqia+, history
  • 3 to 8, 8 to 12, 12 to 16, 16 to 18, 18+
  • children, teen, young adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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Male | Unspecified | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 28

EXTRACT: Cut forward ten years and it's been a real journey, and friends of mine would say if that were my parents I'd tell them to fuck off and I wouldn't put up with that but I'm like, you know, its context, I get where they're coming, it's something y'know that for them, growing up in Newcastle - their representation of gay is - its HIV, its promiscuous sex, it's Mardi Gras. It's not committed relationships, it's not any sense of normality and so when Alan came on the scene it was really that sense of...

Adult themes


Female | 20s | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 20

EXTRACT: I had a really good friend, we were like bad girls, I would smoke and we would drink and what happened was, her cousin was dating this little Italian girl who said, um, his cousin was a bitch, and I was standing with them at the station and they were like oh telling me this story how she called the girl a bitch and all this kinda stuff and ... no one calls me a bitch, we're gonna go bash and fuck that, you know what I mean, but I still didn't think they were really going to bash her

Adult themes, Adult language


PDF (897kb) download of the Teacher's Notes for Anni Finsterer's 'School of Life' play.

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