"He combined strength with gentleness. It explains the influence he had
on young people. He could guide them, but make them free and give them
the joy of their own life."
Edward Bond, playwright, 2014
John was the founder and artistic director of North West Drama. He was a writer, teacher, director, arts entrepreneur and practitioner of drama who worked for a sense of meaningfulness and social purpose in each setting. His skill, warmth and sense of humour meant that his reputation always proceeded him.
John's work was built around the understanding that people are actively waiting to be changed, to be 'transformed', and to find meaning in their own experiences. He knew that their world can be transformed in an instant, their eyes and minds opened with a carefully selected question or profound provocation. He couldn't imagine a world in which children and young people would not be challenged and invited to come to know their own humanity.
John sadly passed away in September 2014, following a long illness. North West Drama drew from this a renewed sense of purpose; a willingly accepted responsibility to preserve and develop his legacy.
John Doona the teacher...
John had signifiicant experience as secondary drama teacher, senior manager, advanced skills teacher and local authority drama advisor. Recognising the need for development of high quality drama for learning, John launched North West Drama to do just that.
John Doona the writer...
As a writer John had an extensive (what we might kindly call “underground”) writing career. He ran the gauntlet of the new writing industry with productions, showcases and development work at the Royal Court, Lyric Hammersmith, Soho Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre and new writing initiatives such as Northwest Playwrights.
He enjoyed full productions of his work at the Riverside Studios with the London New Play Festival and in Manchester with Bare Witness Theatre Company. His work was also produced by BBC Radio Four.
John was also the author of three acclaimed books, published by Routledge.
A practical Guide to Shakespeare in the Primary Classroom "It is written with knowledge and experience of its subject – but also with the knowledge of the young people with whom that experience was shared" Edward Bond, playwright
Drama Lessons for the Primary School Year "This book really will offer some new and exciting ideas for teachers to teach" Jo Howells, english advisor, Warwickshire Educational Development Service
Secondary Drama: A Creative Source Book
"imaginative, culturally-disciplined, focused work... Each chapter reveals the move to make [John's]
beliefs work in the day-to-day contacts with his students"
Dorothy Heathcote, drama teacher and academic
The above books are available from all good book retailers. To view them on Amazon click on the images above.
'John Doona is an artist and a teacher of exceptional quality. He brings both artistic and human integrity to a wide range of drama work from the classroom to performance of the highest standards. His significant practice is firmly rooted in principle and knowledge of drama and children and young people. I recommend him to you as an exceptional and effective teacher and practitioner.'
Professor Jonothan Neelands
The John Doona
John cared passionately that our work should be accessible to as any schools who wished to participate. Due to circumstances beyond their control, some schools are prohibited from engaging with our work due to cost.
The John Doona Memorial Fund was established by John's wife Heather, in order that those wishing to contribute to the future work of North West Drama could do so, therefore supporting John's legacy.
if you wish to make a donation in John's memory, please contact us.
Some of John's published writings are available to read here:
The Sheet of Glass
From "Edward Bond and the Dramatic Child", edited by David Davis and published by Trentham Books, 2005.
The Short Electra
Published in DRAMA, by National Drama, 2006 and “The Journal of NATD”, 2006