NIDA is a microcosm of the entertainment industry
Each course is dependent on all the others. Actors, stage managers, designers, costume makers, crafts people are all part of an interdependent team. The creative and professional dynamics of that team is the core of good theatre. Play productions are NIDA's most important teaching activity, with around 15 plays being produced at NIDA each year, in addiiton to other projects. We encourage anyone who is considering applying to NIDA to see the student productions and their high artistic standards.
The common thread linking each day at NIDA is passion, determination and hard work.
Each course is centred around training practitioners for work in a demanding and unpredictable industry. Each day provides students with a structured series of activities, which balance the acquisition of vocational skills with artistic excellence.
All the full-time courses are conducted in two modes: the Teaching Program and the Production Program.
The Teaching Program consists of formal class work, practical instruction, seminars and research, often supplemented by periods of secondment in the arts industry.
The Production Program provides practical learning experiences. Each student is given the opportunity to apply the intellectual, imaginative and technical skills acquired in the Teaching Program to practical work in the Production Program - in performance, design, manufacture or management of productions for presentation to the general public.
The NIDA year consists of four terms of varying length. While there may be some overlap, each term will focus mainly either on classes or on productions. Term length can vary from year to year.
Term 1 - Tuesday 28 January to Friday 11 April
Term 2 Monday 28 April to Friday 27 June
Term 3 - Monday 14 July to Friday 22 August
Term 4 - Monday 1 September to Friday 31 October
For those involved with Directors’ Productions, these conclude with bump-out on Wednesday 3 December.
The Directing course culminates in the presentation of a number of short plays to the public usually in the first week of December. Directors work with Design 2, Costume 2, Properties 2 and Production 1 and 2 students over a three to four week period rehearsing, building and staging their plays. Involvement of Acting students in these plays is not compulsory but is recommended. The Directors' productions in 2014 will take place in the week commencing 24 November.
For newly enrolled students the first week of first term is Orientation Week with a specifc program designed to introduce the students to NIDA and to each other.
Each course of study is planned as an integrated whole, consequently all subjects are compulsory. There are no electives. Wherever possible, students are encouraged to develop special interests. Productions involve students in individual study programs.
Students are encouraged to undertake creative work in areas which do not come easily to them. Interpretation and courage are as valued as skilled achievements.
NIDA's courses are full-time from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday. Production work frequently involves night and weekend rehearsals or performances. Productions cannot operate without full attendance and punctuality.
Although contact hours can be as high as 40 hours per week, and can be higher than this during production periods, time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study of dramatic roles. For these reasons, it is difficult for NIDA students, particularly in second and final year, to maintain regular part-time jobs.
FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT AND LEARNING AND LIBRARY RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS
NIDA is located in an award-winning building. The building includes a range of facilities, which are used by students at various times during their courses:
- The Parade Theatre, seating over 700 people, with advanced technology in sound, lighting and scenery, suitable for staging plays and musicals
- The Parade Studio, Parade Playhouse and Parade Space, performance venues of various sizes
- The state-of-the-art Reg Grundy Studio for film and television recording
- CAD and multi-media studios
- Rehearsal rooms and teaching spaces
- Workshops for the manufacture of scenery, properties and costumes
- The Rodney Seaborn Library, a library specialising in the performing arts, especially theatre, drama and play scripts.
Although not part of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), NIDA is located at UNSW and NIDA students have access to the UNSW Library, The Learning Centre, student counselling and other services.