1400 Ninth St. N
Beaver Brae Secondary School

CODE is on the road again for a one day regional conference in Kenora. On Saturday, September 30, 2023, educators and members of the CODE Management Board will come together for a day of drama and dance, of sharing ideas and expertise, and learning from each other. The day will include: four drama and dance workshops, snacks and drinks, a catered lunch, and time to network with like minded colleagues. 

CODE acknowledges that this conference is taking place on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We invite participants to wear their own Orange Shirts to commemorate the day.

Time Event
9:30-10:00 Registration opens
10:00-10:30 Welcome & Movement Warm-up
10:30-11:45 Session 1
11:45-12:30 Lunch
12:30-1:45 Session 2
1:45-2:00 Break & Snack
2:00-3:15 Session 3
3:20-4:00 Session 4
4:00 Closing


Dynamic Workshops:

You will get the opportunity to partake in four workshops that will leave you with material to bring back to your classroom. Our presenters have created workshops focusing on culturally responsive drama and dance practices, storytelling, and addressing contemporary issues through drama and dance. These presenters come with a wealth of experience that will be inspiring to learn from and work with.

Session 1: 10:30-11:45am

Creative Approaches to Complex Topics

Workshop Description: Teaching challenging subjects to elementary school students can be daunting. It's possible to approach these topics in a way that is respectful of the subject matter, trauma-informed, and empowering. Meeting you where you are at, we will share best practices for creating a safe and supportive learning environment that honors the lived experiences of all students and fosters productive classroom discussions.
In this active workshop, elementary teachers will explore how to guide students through complex issues using a variety of drama and dance techniques and conventions, including image theatre. Importantly, we will use the concept of "universals and particulars" when approaching complex themes, relying on fictional and abstract parallels to complex topics that help foster empathy and critical thinking in students.
The workshop will model the issues of death and grieving, and wealth inequity and houselessness. Participants will come away with a variety of strategies and a clearer framework for approaching complex topics that impact their students' daily lives.

Headshot for Tessa Lofthouse

Tessa Lofthouse is an experienced teacher with a passion for using process drama to facilitate learning, particularly about social justice perspectives. She is currently a full-time Grade 1-5 Drama and French teacher in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB). She is also currently Vice President of the CODE Management Board.
Tessa is a professional curriculum writer and translator, having written elementary lessons for HWDSB's Reimagining Wellness curriculum and Mental Health and Wellness Week, incorporating drama and dance. Tessa has written elementary lessons that added arts extensions to the existing social justice/equity lessons for the HWDSB’s Learn. Disrupt. Rebuild. curriculum in 2021. In the same year, she wrote drama and dance resources for CODE's Grounded in Space and Place Writing Project.
Tessa has developed, written, and facilitated professional development workshops for various school boards and organizations, including ACPI where she was the 2019 Laureate du concours des professionels créatifs.

Session 2: 12:30-1:45pm

Flocking and Creative Movement

Workshop Description: Movement and the utilization of space are important elements of drama and dance. This workshop will explore several creative movement activities that can be used to get students exploring space, creating character and meaning, and familiarizing themselves with the use of movement in performance and expressions. All activities and exercises will be accessible and applicable to many different age groups and range of abilities. This workshop will focus on breaking down theories of movement and having participants walk away with several exercises that they can put into action with their students on Monday. Be prepared to move!

Matthew Sheahan is the current CODE president and former Eastern Regional Coordinator.  He is a past presenter at CODE conferences, the OTF Curriculum Forum, as well as the International Drama and Education Association.  Matthew is a secondary drama teacher and Instructional Lead Teacher of Indigenous Studies in Picton, Ontario.  He specializes in accessing Indigenous issues, content and perspective in the classroom without appropriation of voice or culture.  The 2019 student collective A Call to Action, of which he was the director and producer, was featured at the Children, Youth and Performance Conference 2019 at Young People’s Theatre.  He is a member of the editorial board for Provocations Drama and Dance Journal.

Session 3: 2:00-3:15pm

Deconstructing the Tempest for North Western Ontario

Workshop Description: In this workshop, we will be exploring how to take the story of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and how it can be applied locally to NWO, including an exploration of reconciliation, and connecting classical works to local culture. The technique and lessons learned will be able to be applied to all grade levels, and include ways of engaging literacy, visual arts, movement, and drama.

Heather Newman is an Ontario Secondary Drama educator based out of Kenora, ON for the Keewatin Patricia District School Board. She is the North West Coordinator for CODE. She graduated from the University of Windsor with a BFA in Theatre Acting and obtained her BEd from Kingston University, including a placement with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Session 4: 3:20-4:00pm

Dancing a Story through the Elements of Dance

Workshop Description: This session invites participants to explore the connection to the world around them using the life cycle of a star to inform the movement. Motivated by the prompt, ‘we come from the stars’, to explore the elements of dance as it connects to science curriculum in all levels. Resources including, Lessons from the Earth and Beyond, the periodic table of elements and Tasha Spillett-Summer's picture book, I Sang You Down from the Stars will be offered as entry points to build kinesthetic understanding of literacy and science.

Cheri-Anne Byrne is an Ontario Secondary Drama and Dance educator with 17 years of classroom experience and the current treasurer of the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators.  Her teaching practice is anchored in infusing anti-oppressive and anti-colonial approaches to breakdown bias and barriers in educational spaces. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours degree in drama and obtained her BEd from Ottawa University.  Cheri-Anne has facilitated professional development in Alglonquin-Lakeshore,  Hamilton-Wentworth and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.  Currently she is an consultant in Indigenous Education with a focus on supporting Indigenous Youth in DPCDSB.

Conference Fees

Conference fees include admission to workshops and food. They cover the cost of renting the space.

  • CODE Members: $50
    Please note that your CODE membership must be active at the time of the conference.
  • Non-Members: $80 (includes membership)

For any questions please email the 2023 Conference Chair:
Heather Newman heather.newman@code.on.ca