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To be
Is always our daily question
To the child
it is the daily bread of becoming
To be or not to be
Is the child's demand and 
The question of our drama is
To Be.

In Drama

I am.

And more

We are.

John Doona after Edward Bond



John Doona


"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



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 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. 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 North West 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                                                          


Drama Lessons for the Primary School Year                                                                                    


Secondary Drama: A Creative Source Book




Edward Bond

"Bond is an important playwright... but there is so much more to discover... the artist who like Artaud,

Brook, Aristotle and the rest has set about a study of the human condition "

                                                                                                                                                         John Doona

Edward Bond was considered to be a giant of British theatre, once described by The Observer as "some would say the world's greatest living playwright". We were honoured to call him our friend and patron, until his passing in early March 2024. 

He was best known for his numerous plays, one of which - Saved - was the first play to be censored by the Lord Chamberlain. But he was also a radical thinker, who wrote extensively about the purpose of drama and theatre. Edward's ideas were a huge influence and driver for the work of John Doona and, therefore, North West Drama. We are indebted to Edward for his support and, when needed, his ability to challenge the accepted understanding of the work. He will be greatly missed. 


John Doona
Edward Bond
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