Highlights of 2018 at NIDA

12 December 2018

NIDA Executive Chairman Jennifer Bott AO shares highlights from a busy 2018 at NIDA.

1. Innovation drives seasons of productions



Photo: our June and October seasons welcomed international and national guest Directors, including Oleg Glushkov from GITTIS in Russia, directing
Ah Tuzenbach.

Two exceptionally entertaining and provocative Student Production Seasons in 2018 again placed NIDA students at the heart of works unafraid to tackle the big issues of our world. Our NIDA Alumni Directors and Guest Directors were outstanding, including Puppeteer from the UK Finn Caldwell exploring science fiction in Ex Machina for the stage in June, and from Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow, Guest director Oleg Glushkov collaborating with students to create Ah, Tuzenbach. A Melancholic Cabaret in the October Production Season.

2. Congratulations to all our talented students at the 2018 Graduation

Photo: NIDA staff and Executive Chairman Jennifer Bott AO commence the graduation ceremony at NIDA's Parade Theatre.

NIDA officially launched the careers of 147 talented creative artists at the Graduation Ceremony for the class of 2017. Newly-appointed Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts Sam Walsh AO and former NIDA Academic Board member, alumnus and brilliant playwright Alana Valentine (Playwrights, 1989) each delivered an inspirational Occasional Address to our future graduates.

3. NIDA ranked into the world's top 10 drama schools by The Hollywood Reporter
NIDA was excited to be ranked in the top 10 of The Hollywood Reporter’s world’s best drama schools. The Reporter’s international ranking of acting schools places NIDA in the top echelons, along with London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and New York’s Juilliard School. NIDA is the only school in the top 10 not from the UK or USA.

4. NIDA Welcomes Executive Director, Conservatoire, Dr Amanda Morris

Photo: Dr Amanda Morris at NIDA.

NIDA welcomed Dr Amanda Morris in November into the newly-created role of Executive Director, Conservatoire. As it looks to the future, NIDA is refining the focus of its work, with Centres of Disciplines in dramatic arts education. ‘It’s timely to name and profile the programs that are at the heart of NIDA’s being, which is the Conservatoire. Now we are articulating the heart and core of its work,’ said Amanda.

5. Working in the Community

Photo: Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) student Emily Pires at a fitting for Miss First Nations for Midnight Feast.

NIDA is committed to working with the wider creative community, helping to further the artistic interests of organisations outside of our typical remit. In 2018 we collaborated for the second year with Midnight Feast, performers with intellectual and physical disabilities, with our MFA (Writing for Performance) students and Indigenous first-year BFA (Costume) student Emily Pires working on the production of Fireside at the Sydney Opera House.

6. NIDA Open extends opportunities for young creatives to Darwin



Photo: Lily Matthews participated in the NIDA Open scholarship program in Darwin.

This year we were delighted to offer the NIDA Open Scholarships program in Adelaide, Newcastle and Darwin, which enabled 12 aspiring students selected through a competitive application process to access expert drama training. First Nations young student Lily Matthews was thrilled to take up the opportunity.

7. Outstanding industry collaborations: Directors and Designers with Triple J Unearthed 



Photo: NIDA's MFA (Directing) and BFA (Design for Performance) students work with triple J Unearthed artists on Sly Withers.

Each year NIDA’s MFA Directors team up with our BFA Designers and collaborate with some of Australia’s most talented emerging artists, creating some stunning music videos from the Unearthed program. See the full selection of videos and details here.

8. NIDA's Head of Movement takes on Broadway

Photo: The massive puppet moves on stage in King Kong the Musical on Broadway.

In his role as Kong and Aerial Movement Director, NIDA’s Head of Movement, Gavin Robins, was responsible for conducting the giant ape’s actions, as well as those of the performers around him, as King Kong the Musical took Broadway by storm.

9. Starstruck the Musical goes into workshop phase at NIDA

Photo: Gillian Anderson and Mitchell Butell at the launch of the collaboration, which brought talented Australian creators and industry and government partners to NIDA.

Our Diploma of Musical Theatre students were engaged in the potential for a new Australian stage musical, workshopped for two weeks with NIDA students across disciplines, with a particular focus on adapting the ‘book’ of the musical. The project resulted in an informal viewing and plenty of structural feedback for the producers.

10. Directors and Designers Graduating Productions create outstanding season  

Photo: Le Mariage Force by Moliere, directed by Ellen Wiltshire and Designed by Lucy McCullough.

Eight shows were presented at NIDA by MFA Directing and BFA Design students as part of their graduating student season featuring original works and adaptations inspired by Princess Diana’s iconic Panorama TV interview, Australian cult classic Wake in Fright, Peter Garrett’s autobiography set to Midnight Oil, notorious Australian ‘UFO abductions’,  gay conversion facilities, scandalous sex playwright Frank Wedekind, ‘degenerate lunatic’ Hedda Gabler, and a classic Moliere French farce.

11. NIDA Open

NIDA Open offered evening and weekend courses, short courses and school holiday workshops for all ages and abilities across Australia in 2018 throughout the year. As well as the scholarships to 12 young people through the annual scholarship program, NIDA Open provided and a further $10,000 worth of complimentary tuition to young people through schools, sponsorships and donations to programs for young people at risk.

12. NIDA Theatres

This year, NIDA's five theatre spaces serviced around 320 shows: 190 external productions, and 130 shows produced by NIDA students through the NIDA Theatres team.

13. Philanthropy and Alumni

Long-time suppliers for NIDA, European Catering generously agreed to donate weekly lunches for Higher Education students.

14. Partnerships

NIDA established and built deeper relationships as a foundation partner of The Studio, a creative and media tech innovation hub for the next-generation of media and arts-based tech entrepreneurs in NSW.

15. NIDA Melbourne
As well as a series of NIDAnights, NIDA Corporate courses and NIDA Open sessions, NIDA Melbourne hosted the second annual NIDA Launchpad Melbourne artists’ residency program in partnership with Brunswick Mechanics Institute in July.