A Conversation with Anne-Marie Shin

April 28th, 2023

Anne-Marie finished her 10 year tenure on the Patch Board in April 2023. We spoke to her about her favourite moments, the importance of children's theatre and more.

You have had a successful career in early childhood education and research. Can you tell us about your career? What are your career highlights?


I’ve been fortunate to work as a teacher and leader across all of the age groups in the birth – 8 years early childhood field, spending most of my time in kindergartens, and since 2016 working in early childhood and arts education at university. I have always had a passion for the arts, however I came to really understand the power of the arts in education at Pennington Junior Primary. Through working with a highly-skilled, dedicated group of teachers and bringing the diverse community together through visual and performing arts initiatives that we became the first school in South Australia to become a United Nations Global Peace school in 2005. 


Photo: Sturt Street Lab project, 2015

What motivated you to join the Patch Board?


I became involved with Patch when I joined Sturt Street Community school as the early childhood director. Patch had begun (what is now a long-standing) collaboration with Sturt Street when it reopened after a period of closure. During my time there, we were also privileged to receive a grant for a national Creative Enterprise Artist in Residence Project, enabling Patch artists to work with educators at the school over a 12-month period.  I was so inspired by the process of Patch’s creative development and ways of engaging teachers’ and children’s thinking that I jumped at the opportunity to become a member of the Board.


Photo: Patch Theatre board Boram Lee, Ben Opie, Janet Worth, Peter Campbell, Anne-Marie Shin, Jason Dunstone and Amanda Wheeler (2019).

What are your favourite moments from your time on Patch’s Board?

So many favourite moments, particularly having behind the scenes opportunities to see the development of new theatre and installation works. Seeing the company move from Dave Brown’s incredible stewardship, through to the current inspirational creative leadership of Geoff Cobham who in partnership with Teena, and now Penny and Sasha are forging new in- school works and installation offerings as well as continuing to push boundaries for children's theatre. I love Patch’s sense of collaboration, within their team, with other companies and artists and amongst the board. Challenges really are seen as opportunities and the generosity of spirit is infectious. Last year’s 50th Birthday celebration was a major highlight – it was wonderful to see the place Patch has in so many people’s lives, it's an amazing creative lineage.

I Wish... 2021 | Photo: Matt Byrne

If you could be anyone in the Patch team for a day, who would you be and why?

That is too hard a question…. It would be fascinating to see light and movement through the eyes of Geoff, or to muck around with putting stuff together with the ingenuity and design eye of Maddog as I’ve seen how much delight their work offers children.


 What is your favourite Patch show?

Again, I can’t choose just one – I’d have to go for two. Of the most recent shows, I just love the vibrant physicality of I Wish…, it opens so many possible worlds of emotional feeling for children; and of the earlier shows I can’t go past Me & My Shadow, I’ve seen it so many times, but it always feels fresh and magical. Both shows represent big powerful ideas, framed simply to be accessible to different ages and viewpoints. They are perfect for the early childhood audience but go far beyond this audience because they are just excellent theatre.


Why is children’s theatre important?

Children’s theatre is critical to acknowledge and foster the power of imagination. Imagination helps us to see how things could be different which is not just about fun, it is a powerful idea for democracy. We can’t change the world for the better without imagining how a better world may be.