NIDA comes out: the stories we couldn't tell you
Tom Ballard opens NIDA's year of 60th anniversary celebrations with In Conversation: Love is Love, examining LGBTQI+ stories on stage and screen
For almost half of NIDA’s 60 years, homosexual activity was illegal, persecuted and discriminated against at all levels of law and society in Australia. This had a major impact on how LGBTQI+ stories were told on stage and screen – if at all.
This Valentine’s Day, as part of NIDA’s 60th anniversary celebrations, multi-award-winning Australian storytellers including comedian and broadcaster Tom Ballard, Sydney Theatre Company Artistic Director Kip Williams, award-winning performance artist and theatre director Harriet Gillies, and award-winning filmmaker, writer and director Leah Pellinkhof come to NIDA to lead In Conversation: Love is Love.
Kip Williams, Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company and NIDA Alumni (Directing, 2010) will be on the panel of In Conversation: Love is Love. Photograph by James Green
The panel discussion will look at LGBTQI+ depictions in film, theatre and television, and the impact of these depictions on the lived experience and the national consciousness, including controversies such as straight actors playing gay and lesbian roles, and whether gender fluid roles are being written and viewed differently.
Australia’s most iconic LGBTQI+ story, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, starring NIDA graduate Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp,was released 10 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in NSW, but its writer-director Stephan Elliott didn’t come out as gay to the Australian public until 2012.
Award-winning performance artist and theatre director, Harriet Gillies, NIDA Alumni (Directing, 2012) will be on the panel of In Conversation: Love is Love. Photograph by Laura Brichter
For most of Australian history, being LGBTQI+ was not only illegal, but could end someone’s career and even put their life in danger.
In 2019, those dark times seem well behind us as a cohort of NIDA students are busy fundraising and preparing for NIDA’s inaugural participation in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, an initiative the students spearheaded themselves.
It signifies an important milestone, not only for NIDA, but also for Australia, reflecting a cultural turning point in the stories Australia is now eager to tell.
In Conversation: Love is Love will be held on Thursday 14 February 2019 from 6pm at NIDA Theatres, Parade Theatre. Tickets available from nida.edu.au/love-is-love
Celebrating six decades of supporting Australian storytellers on stage and screen, NIDA’s In Conversation event series brings together exceptional Australian artists and arts practitioners to talk about their work and career path, as well as the inspirations and challenges that shaped their creative voices and craft.