Anti-Bullying Dance Program | The Yard

Shaun Parker & Company, The Yard. Photo Prue Upton

Award Winning Anti-Bullying Show Returns for 2018 School Performances

‘The Yard’ Improves Social Interaction & Mental Health of  Young People through the Language of Dance

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The Yard is an award-winning anti-bullying dance program by Shaun Parker & Company addressing themes of bullying, social exclusion, peer pressure and resilience.

The Yard creates a theatrical world about life in the Australian school yard. Unique, gutsy and ground-breaking, five dancers take the students on a visual experience dealing with the social issues pulsating within the schoolyard. Workshops follow the performance to unpack these themes, ultimately finding unity in the diversities of culture, gender and ethnicity that exist in our schools and society.

“Our objective is to not only empower children to deal with the issues addressed in the performance, but to also inspire and motivate them in their future careers and life choices,” says Shaun Parker.

This self devised work was originally created in 2012 from a collaboration between Shaun Parker, one of Australia’s leading dance theatre practitioners, and teenage performers from Captivate (the performing arts unit of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta) in Western Sydney. These teenagers came from migrant and refugee families and five of these original dancers still work with the company to deliver this program to schools throughout Australia.
Drawing inspiration from William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ and its analysis of human behaviour, The Yard extrapolates these themes and breathes new life into them by way of the Australian school yard. The Yard is taught with the tension and humour of conflicts played out every day even as it celebrates the extraordinary in the ordinary.
This production was nominated for Best Presentation for Children at the 2013 Helpmann Awards & was the  winner of 2012 Australian Dance Award fo Outstanding Achievement In Youth And Community Dance.
The Yard is suitable for students from Year 2 – Year 8. It runs for one hour (plus additional set up and pack time) and can perform to a maximum audience of 400 in an appropriate school hall, gymnasium or outdoor space.
Learning Areas

  • The program meets Education syllabus outcomes in HSIE, Creative Arts, Dance, Drama and English syllabus.
  • Connects with strategies to promote wellbeing and intercultural understanding among students using positive psychology.
  • Focuses on social issues such as bullying, mental health and resilience.
  • Enhances social management, social awareness and self management capabilities.
  • Investigates themes using storytelling, contemporary street dance languages, sporting skills, parkour and acrobatics that children strongly identify with to develop their appreciation of performance.

Impact on Students

Findings from interviews with 1,100 primary students in 2017:

  • 62% of children have been bullied
  • 17 % of children have been a bully themselves
  • 95% of children said after watching the performance that they would NOT bully again
  • 81% of children said that they felt more resilient against the acts of bullying after watching the performance
  • 85% of children said that they learnt some ways to help someone who is being bullied
  • Of the children who said they were bullies, 91% said that they would not bully again after watching the performance

Shaun Parker & Company is an internationally acclaimed Sydney-based dance company led by award winning Artistic Director and Choreographer Shaun Parker. The Company creates contemporary dance productions and education programs, which are internationally renowned for their integration of stimulating choreographic forms, arresting musical scores and theatrical invention.