2024 Duffy Theatre - Teacher Resources

Table of Contents


Kia ora koutou ngā kaiako,

We’re bringing our 2024 Duffy Theatre show, Calling Detective Duffy – Stat! to your school to promote the Books In Homes message: “It’s cool to read and it’s cool to achieve”.

This year we celebrate 30 years of Duffy Theatre – a milestone we’re really proud of. We’ve cast our minds back to the original Duffy Theatre show, Duffy Boots n All by Jusin Lewis, where Duffy must help famous All Black, Zinzan Brooke, find his missing rugby boots. Inspired by the recent success of our Black Ferns (Rarauhe Pango), this year we’ve sent Duffy on a mission to help fictional women’s rugby star, Crystal Kea, recover her stats. There’s been a terrible misprint, and Crystal’s player statistics are circulating on cards in cereal boxes, but they’re all wrong! It’s really knocking Crystal’s confidence and ruining her game. Detective Duffy and little sister Scruffy are on the case!

As always, we workshopped ideas in one of our Duffy schools last year and discovered that lots of kids are keen on mysteries and detective stories. They love finding quiet places to read, and are keen to catch up with Scruffy this year… So, we bring you Duffy and Scruffy’s Detective Agency, based in their treehouse (which is also a great place to relax with a book).

With the guidance of “how to” books, Duffy and Scruffy crack the case and remind their cousin Crystal what really matters in life – her connection to family and friends who love her, no matter what her stat card says. Their journey takes them from school, the tree house, the rugby club, to the Brekkie Bites factory, where Crystal’s stat cards are printed. We meet Crystal’s teammates, fans, and sponsors along the way. And did we mention mouse puppets? We have mouse puppets, just to keep things lively!

The Team

This year’s show is busy and we’re so lucky to have an incredible team of theatre professionals to make it happen. It’s no mean feat to bring to life a fast-moving play full of fantastical locations, props, and puppets, then pack it all up in a trailer and send it out on tour.

Duffy Theatre director, Jeff Szusterman, has spent a very hot summer working with two talented casts to bring Calling Detective Duffy – Stat! to life. Together, Jeff and the actors have created a funny, beautifully crafted show, with a lot of heart. 

We’re grateful to Dr. Sophie Williams and Ranginui Rikirangi-Thomas for providing the Reo our characters speak and to Raymond Bishop for supporting the actors to learn it.

Once again, theatre legends John Parker (set designer) and Elizabeth Whiting (costume designer) prove they can conquer all design challenges, and we know their set and costumes will surprise and delight. And of course, Production Manager David Rumney, calmly manages all logistical challenges while looking after the team with the unwavering support of General Manager (and sporting legend herself) Linda Vagana. 

We love receiving your feedback. Please share what you and your students think about Duffy’s latest adventures by emailing David: david.rumney@booksinhomes.org.nz

Ngā mihi mahana,

Lauren Jackson, Playwright

You can also meet the actors that will be coming to your school.

Teachers' Notes

During the show, the performers will interact with the children to encourage them to engage with our message: “It’s cool to read. It’s cool to succeed.” It’s fine (in fact it helps the actors) if students express themselves during the performance. Our actors welcome this interplay!

These Teachers’ Notes offer some suggestions about how you might prepare your tamariki to participate in this year’s show and ideas for discussions and activities you can engage in afterwards.

Pre- or Post-Show Activities

Craft and Decorate your own Brekkie Bites Box!

Do you think Brekkie Bites look delicious? So do we! We wish they existed in real life, but now you can have the next best thing – your own Brekkie Bites box. Just follow the instructions to print and craft your own Brekkie Bites box, customising it however you choose. It could be a great place to store books and other treasures!

Download the Brekkie Bite Box Template

Create a Classroom Reading Nook

Duffy and Scruffy’s treehouse is a fun place to curl up with a book – why not create your own reading nook in your classroom? Brainstorm with your class about what makes a great reading corner, for example:

Posters/artwork encouraging reading

Comfy cushions / beanbags / chairs to curl up in

Fun tents or structures to relax in

Shelving for books!

Twinkly lights or any other fun decorations

Put out a call to your school community to see who has something they could donate to your reading corner. We Are Teachers has some great free reading posters to download (just enter your name and email address on the right) and provides some reading nook inspiration:

Posters – https://www.weareteachers.com/free-printable-reading-posters/

Inspiration – https://www.weareteachers.com/reading-nooks/

Make Your Own Trading Card

Using a free online template, you can help your students create their very own trading cards. Maybe they want to make one for their favourite sportsperson, musician, artist, or scientist. Maybe they want to profile their friend or themselves, focussing on the qualities they like and admire. Maybe they could create an imaginary creature and describe it all here, complete with a drawing… The possibilities are endless!

Print on card or paper (then stick to card), cut out, write, illustrate, and decorate. (Laminate, if you want to be really fancy.)

Here’s a free template:


Here are some more ideas from Twinkl (who also have great templates, if you have an account):

  1. All About Me Activity – Children can create trading cards of themselves, drawing a picture on the top of the card. They can write their “moves” below. These can be related to their interests and hobbies, such as… summoning a horde of (friendly) dinosaurs!
  2. Battle of the Pets – Design trading cards of family pets or dream pets that children want to own one day, again including a relevant set of abilities. These can be used as a thought experiment. Which pet would be best for helping an old lady cross the street, or clearing up litter?
  3. Notable People Card Game – Put students’ research skills to the test by asking everyone to fill out a blank card template for a famous role-model or celebrity. Will there be any duplicates in your class?


Get Detectiv-ing with a Code Cracker

Create a message and translate it into code with this user-friendly worksheet, then challenge your students to crack it! A fun way to encourage literacy and numeracy.


Make a Machine

In groups or individually, dream up a machine – what does the world need? What can this machine make? Using recycled materials, have fun building, glueing, and decorating a zany machine that just magically pops out the finished product! Just like the machine in our set designer John Parker’s Brekkie Bites factory!

You could even make a machine that (really) works, like this homemade marble run:


Discussion Points

Scruffy collects StatBook All-Stars cards featuring famous New Zealand rugby players.

  • Do you collect any kind of trading cards? What kind of statistics do you find the most interesting to read? Why?
  • Is there anyone else you think deserves their very own stat card?

Crystal Kea is a sports role model in the play.

  • Who are your sporting role models?
  • Why do New Zealanders look up to these sportspeople?
  • What are the qualities we admire?

Crystal Kea loses her confidence when her stat cards are misprinted with the wrong stats.

  • Why does it bother Crystal so much, when her stats are misprinted?
  • What makes her feel better?

Duffy teaches Crystal about being “response-able” – taking a moment before responding.

  • What does Duffy mean when he says there is a magic space between something happening and our reaction? How is this helpful?

Books help Duffy and Scruffy crack the case of the messed-up stat cards.

  • Which book is the most helpful?
  • How do books help you in your life?