TaKe flight with drama!

Canvas Bag Drama School is one of Christchurch’s greatest artistic expression treasures, and we’re taking 2023 enrolments now! Watch your child take flight with drama in 2023.

Imagine, create, perform:

Our three-tiered approach to building confidence through drama


At Canvas Bag Drama School we take stories; everything from traditional fables to modern day tales, and imagine ourselves inside the stories. We can be anyone or anything; from a mermaid to an ogre.

We run age ranked drama classes for children and teenagers, aged from 5-17 years.

Our classes combine a structured fun-filled social environment with extensive use of improvisation and role-play to develop positive feelings of self worth and the ability to confidently express thoughts and feelings.


We go on to create our own stories and scripts with characters we have explored. We can be anyone or anything, from a genie inside a lamp to an erupting volcano.

Our classes are intense, energetic and move at a fast pace. They are designed to generate enthusiasm and initiative through various games and skill based tasks.


Tutors write plays each year using ideas generated in the class by the students. Every year we rehearse and perform these original scripts to a public audience.

We use costumes, props and musical instruments as tools; students love using all these resources to experiment and create their own stories.

There’s always lots of laughter and lots of fun in a Canvas Bag drama class and for many students it is the highlight of the week!

The Benefits of Drama for Children

An important area of childhood/youth development is the growth of creativity, self confidence, and social skills. Learning drama from an early age has a huge number of positive benefits for young people. Read on to find out how children of all ages can benefit from attending Canvas Bag Drama School!

Builds confidence

Drama and theatre are unique forms of creative expression – it takes a lot of courage to stand on a stage and speak in front of an audience. Our drama school encourages all children to express their creative ideas in an interactive, nurturing setting. Even the shyest of children will be able to build up their self-esteem through drama.

When a child is given space to be creative and their imaginations are supported, their confidence and self-esteem levels grow. This confidence gained from learning drama will be very applicable in school, careers and in life.


Develops creativity

In our classes, we explore new worlds, become people from different times and places and learn about different perspectives and ways of thinking. Exploring these things can give us the skills needed to be creative and imaginative. In an ever-changing world, having a creative and imaginative approach is so important for thinking ‘outside the box’ and coming up with new and interesting ideas and solutions. Our improvisational activities and games encourage children to come up with ideas and respond imaginatively to a range of scenarios.

improves verbal and non-verbal communication skills

Learning drama helps children develop their speech, communication and presentation skills. In our drama workshops, we include activities where children take on different personas – this gives children the environment to develop their vocabulary, vocal projection, articulation and expression. Drama can develop children into becoming better communicators, and storytellers.

Develops empathy

Drama requires participants to play different characters. A good understand of characters, roles and subtext of plays will allow participants to relate better to different situations, context and even cultures. As a result, participants are encouraged to develop empathy – the ability to view the world from another persons’ perspective without judgement. This in turn will build our participants’ emotional intelligence through the use of imagination.

Develops concentration

Drama develops a child’s ability to be able to focus the mind, the body, and the voice. Many drama activities and games during class are designed to develop concentration. Rehearsing and performing lines or movements will require concentration and thus improves memory, which requires plenty of exercise, just like a muscle.

encourages teamwork & collaboration

Teamwork is undoubtedly an essential element of drama – without it, there can be no performance. Our drama classes are a strong platform to foster and develop teamwork in our participants.

Every participant in a performance has a specific role to play during a scene and must learn to work together as a team. Learning how to work together is a skill that students will carry with them their entire lives.

develops new friendships

There is nothing that bonds a group of people quicker than making a piece of theatre together. This is because drama is fun, and we bond through laughter and enjoyment. Drama requires children to openly express themselves throughout the activities, which helps participants become friends by supporting each other.

An emotional outlet

Acting and drama games allow students to express a range of emotions and encourage them to understand and deal with similar feelings they may be experiencing. Aggression and tension are released in a safe, controlled environment – often allowing for a period of reflection afterwards.


Canvas Bag Drama (formerly Mozarts Drama School), began in 1995.

It was established by educator and writer Felicity Williams, to provide children and young people with a high quality after school activity that developed inquiry, creativity and imagination. And it also had to be fun!

In 2016 we renamed and rebranded to become Canvas Bag Drama. Our classes are held in The Theatre, on the grounds of Rangi Ruru High School, Merivale, Christchurch. In 2017 we opened a satellite campus in South Brighton and in 2018 we did the same in Halswell.

Over the last 25 years we have been privileged to see hundreds of children and teenagers benefit from our classes which embrace the full spectrum of performing arts.


Get Ready for the New Canvas Bag Drama School Season!

We’re Back to School February 7th, 2023



Terms are all 9 weeks. We are closed on statutory holidays.

Term 1: Tuesday 7th February – Thursday 6th April
Voice and movement techniques, scene study and improvisation are a key focus.

Term 2: Monday 24th April – Thursday 27th June
We concentrate on storytelling, characterisation and devising an original script for our public performances in September.

Term 3: Monday 17th July – Thursday 14th September
We offer Canvas Bag Theatre – rigorous rehearsal and performance curriculum.

Term 4: Monday 9th October – Monday 11th December
We hone in on television and media as a way of further developing presentation and storytelling skills. We also focus on comedy and absurdist theatre.



Classes are made up of age groups.

Thumbelina: 5-7 Years Old

From the dusty desert to the depths of the ocean, let’s go anywhere we want using our imagination! Classes use myth and story, all designed to draw out children’s natural inclination to play pretend while learning the basic elements of theatre. These pretend play scenarios promote significant cognitive and social development. Children are given opportunities to display joyful self expression using physical movement, voice, props and music. A class full of superheroes, pixies and dragons.

Starfleet: 7-9 Years Old

In this age group, pretend play is used as scaffolding through which more complex cognitive development can take place. Children learn how to develop and write scripts through improvising and devising. Regular performing and subsequent peer evaluation within the class time, allows vital interaction to occur within the “safe zone” of the drama environment.

Quangle: 10-13 Years Old

This class moves from pretend play into symbolic. A range of activities sees participants using sophisticated role-play and script work as a way of exploring their own and the wider environment. Dramatic play in this group allows children to “make mistakes” and experiment — to be funny and serious, to practice again and again until they understand and perfect the role. In other words — learn how to think-on-your-feet when things go awry!

Quangle Senior: 13-17 Years Old

This class will offer students the ability to begin working on their craft in a more individualised, guided approach. The teenage class will be a project based class. Students will learn how to create and develop their ideas into a performance that they will showcase to friends, family and their peers. This class will allow students to find their strengths, whether it be acting, script writing, directing, devising and more. Students will be able to find their niche whilst building in the skills that they have already gained from Canvas Bag.



Merivale Campus:
Thumbelina (5-7 yrs), 4-5pm
Starfleet (7-9 yrs), 5-6pm
Halswell Campus:
Thumbelina (5-8 yrs), 4-5pm
Starfleet (9-13 yrs), 5-6pm


Merivale Campus:
Quangle (10-13 yrs), 4-5.15pm
Quangle Senior (13-17 yrs), 5.15-6.30pm


Merivale Campus:
Quangle (10-13 yrs), 4-5.15pm
Quangle Senior (13-17 yrs), 4-5.15pm


Merivale Campus:
Thumbelina (5-7 yrs), 4-5pm
Starfleet (7-9 yrs), 5-6pm

South Brighton Campus:
Thumbelina (5-7 yrs), 3.30-4.30pm
Starfleet (8-9 yrs), 4.30-5.30pm
Quangle (10-12 yrs), 4.30-5.30pm
Quangle Senior (13-16 yrs), 5.30-6.30pm


OWNER AND DIRECTOR Felicity Williams, BMus (Hons), LTCL, LRSM, Dip Tchg

Felicity believes that imaginative games are the catalyst for the intellectual and emotional growth of children and to this end, she develops and participates extensively in children’s play patterns while teaching drama classes at Canvas Bag Drama School. She considers her work with children to be a privileged joyful interplay, and loves to see children, through the dramatic play she provides, move effortlessly between a real world and an imagined one.

Felicity has an Honours Degree in Composition from the University of Canterbury.

Gina Fowler, Owner and Director of South Brighton and Halswell Campuses, ASB NZ Speech Board

Gina has been teaching speech, creative drama and singing for the past twenty years. She is presently completing her licentiate diploma in Speech and Drama with the New Zealand Speech Board and her associate and licentiate diplomas with St Cecilia’s School of Music in voice. Gina is a member of the institute of Registered Music Teachers and is able to incorporate the love of drama and music to bring plenty of creativity to the classroom. Gina is inspired by how drama encourages confidence, creativity and courage. She works with all ages, encouraging her students to be fully involved in all aspects of the drama experience.

Annabel Brodie, Dip Perf Arts

Annabel trained at Excel School of Performing Arts in Auckland in 2005 and then for the successive 2 years, at Hagley Theatre Company in Christchurch. Annabel brings energy and excitement to her drama workshops and loves bringing out imagination and creativity in children. She is currently completing her Batchelor’s degree in Education at Canterbury University.

Maeve Burns

Maeve has been involved in all aspects of performing arts from a young age, but with a particular focus on musical theatre. They have performed with Showbiz Christchurch, and performed, directed, produced, and choreographed with MUSOC. They are passionate about storytelling in all its forms. Maeve is currently in their fourth year of studying law, international relations, and sociology at the University of Canterbury.

Josiah Morgan

Josiah believes that involvement with the arts is a journey of constant learning, central to his belief system as an artist is openness, honesty and punctuality. He is an author of poetry and prose; with his first book coming out in 2019 and his second scheduled for release in late 2020. Josiah’s practice has embraced amateur theatre, combined with the occasional professional or semi-professional role. Currently he is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Anthropology – fuelled by a keen interest in people and what makes them tick.

Harry Lawrence, B.Sc. (Hons)

Harry is an actor/director/playwright who has been in performing arts circles by the time he could talk. Originally from Swansea (Wales), Harry has been involved in a wide variety on theatre disciplines including musical theatre, improvisation, physical theatre and puppetry and has toured with Creature Encounter, an internationally acclaimed street theatre puppetry group. Since moving to Christchurch Harry now runs the Hwyl Theatre Company with his partner Emma which provides original theatrical productions across the South Island.

Andrew Gilbert, B.Sc. Dip CHPsy

Andrew has a keen interest in improvisation, and encourages imagination and quick thinking within conventional storytelling structure, and improvisation itself. As a deep appreciator of storytelling, Andrew encourages his students to find the patterns within all stories, and to understand the rules of regular storytelling so that they may be broken in interesting ways!

Currently pursuing a Masters in Child and Family Psychology, Andrew’s focus is on the students; their growth, learning and fun. But Andrew is no slouch in the performing arts; as a classically trained singer with many plays and musicals under his belt, he is ready to impart his knowledge effectively. His teaching is characterised by empathy and humour.





Quangle & Quangle Senior (longer classes):

Halswell Campus



South Brighton Campus



Quangle & Quangle Senior:

Three Convenient Christchurch campuses

Merivale Campus

The Theatre at Rangi Ruru Girls School

Halswell Campus

Halswell Community Hall

South Brighton Campus

St Luke’s Hall

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Filling out the enrolment form does not immediately lock you in to lessons – we will contact you to discuss your enrolment and aid in picking the class(es) that suit your child best.

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