Brainstorming For a Better Future

Brainstorming For a Better Future

Clinical psychologist Dr Ameika Johnson explains how live theatre can help young people tackle online exploitation and bullying.

The internet is a complex and rapidly changing space. Technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the metaverse have the potential for great benefit but also carry the risk of great harm, for children and young people.

Live theatre provides a platform to explore these opportunities and challenges and empower students to take positive action in the digital world.

The eSafety Commissioner recently reported a 40% jump in cyberbullying reports. There has also been an explosion in reports of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Rather than be overwhelmed when confronted with a problem of this scale it is vital, students are empowered with the skills to deal with the risks from an early age.

They need to take responsibility for their choices, build resilience and contribute to meaningful change in their online communities.

Brainstorm Productions has been creating live online safety performances for schools since 2007, with shows updated annually to align with the curriculum and current risks. The company is endorsed by the eSafety Commissioner as a Trusted eSafety Provider.

In 2023 Brainstorm Productions launched a new cyber safety show for primary schools called Zanna & the Lost Code. The action begins at a coding camp, when Zanna and Eddie are zapped into the Camp Captain's new game for kids.

They discover that they can change the game from the inside, to create a safer and more inclusive experience for players around the globe. The audience is transported into the world of the game with immersive soundscapes, movement, an exciting narrative, and talented actors.

The company’s creative team includes movement director Matthew Wells (Rhum & Clay, UK) and multi award winning composer Sean Peter. The performance is followed by a Q&A with the actors, and curriculum-linked lesson plans to continue the conversations in the classroom.

“Once again, an outstanding production. All our kids loved it. This is the best company – delivers year after year with a clear and entertaining performance. Five stars!” wrote Wendy Jolley from Woodville Primary School.



The performance addresses bullying and exclusion in friendship groups, and unwanted contact with strangers. The protagonists are flawed and relatable, helping students to apply the strategies to their own lives. The interactions between Zanna and Eddie provide a model for healthy friendships, as they lift each other up and cooperate to complete the challenges.

Zanna & the Lost Code reflects a move towards more positive online safety education. Research has found that the most effective programs are those that frame technology in a positive light, while also building awareness of factors that increase and decrease the risk of harm.

Live theatre has the power to energises students, challenge their perspectives, and engage them in discussions. Brainstorm Productions deliver live performances in primary and secondary schools across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.