NIDA congratulates class of 2019 in a virtual graduation ceremony

6 July 2020

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP and Director Baz Luhrmann congratulated the NIDA class of 2019 in a virtual graduation ceremony on Sunday 28 June 2020, as NIDA officially launched the careers of 163 creative artists.

The event began with a Welcome to Bidjigal and Gadigal Country by Elder Aunty Lola Ryan from the La Perouse Aboriginal Community of Botany Bay on behalf of the La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council.

NIDA CEO Liz Hughes welcomed the graduating students and guest speakers, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister For Communications, Cyber Safety and The Arts, NIDA Alumnus Baz Luhrmann and graduating student Justice Jones on behalf of the NIDA Board of Directors, the Academic Board and staff.

‘This is our first-ever virtual ceremony and it is an important marker of the hard work and commitment you have shown over your time at NIDA,’ said Liz Hughes. ‘Today is the first of two celebrations, the second will be held when we can all gather again and we look forward to welcoming you to celebrate at NIDA then.’

Above: NIDA CEO Liz Hughes, The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, NIDA Chairman Noel Staunton (photo: Maja Baska)

Above: NIDA CEO Liz Hughes (photo: Maja Baska)

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP warmly congratulated all the graduands and acknowledged that in the last 60 years, NIDA had built a formidable reputation, not just in Australia but globally, and that the graduates would go on to have fulfilling and high impact careers while making a contribution to the greater good.

Above: The Hon Paul Fletcher MP addresses the students (photo: Maja Baska)

Creative leader Baz Luhrmann (Acting, 1985) delivered an inspirational and thought-provoking Occasional Address: ‘The tectonic plates of history are smashing together at this moment. Everything that was, isn’t necessarily so. And what it’s going to be, we don’t really know. But there is one thing that is universal, and that is [your] craft. Whether you are an actor or writer or a tech or designer, the craft of storytelling is not going to change.’

Above: Baz Luhrmann addresses the students (photo: Maja Baska)

Graduating MFA Directing student Justice Jones delivered the Graduate Response: ‘What we do is so important. Art is so important. And the indispensability of our industry has never proved more true than today.’

Above: MFA Directing student Justice Jones (photo: Maja Baska)

Encouraging her fellow students, Justice Jones continued: ‘The world looks to us to see what we are representing, what stories we are telling and what voices we are amplifying – we have chosen a career that gives us public influence and as the next generation of theatre-makers, we can’t shy away from this responsibility. Instead, we must proudly own it, be at the forefront of change and make it our duty to respond to the times and craft a world of justice and substance for future generations.’

The ceremony included the presentation of The Lynne Williams AM Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Leadership by Course Leader Karilyn Brown. The award was presented to graduating MFA student Craig Rogers, who Karilyn Brown said: ‘has made enormous progress demonstrating impressive leadership qualities and the capacity to shape his learnings into action. With a strong commitment and passion for the arts, social justice and community health, he strives to ensure that art is a mechanism for building social cohesion and a vehicle for social justice.’

Above: Course Leader Karilyn Brown presents the The Lynne Williams AM Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Leadership (photo: Maja Baska)

The class of 2019 were conferred their degrees by NIDA Chairman Noel Staunton. NIDA’s Director of Centre for Creative Practices, David Berthold, presented The Leslie Walford AM Award, administered through the Seaborn Broughton and Walford Foundation. The award was presented to BFA Acting graduand Melissa Kahraman who will use the funds to develop a feature film about a first-generation Turkish-Australian woman as she takes ownership of her life through exploring her role in her family, questioning her faith, and her obligation to her Islamic community.

The 2020 Diploma of Musical Theatre students then presented a specially written song for the occasion having rehearsed and recorded their parts remotely.

The ceremony finished with concluding remarks by CEO Liz Hughes. ‘I passionately believe in the power of creativity and storytelling to change the world. Stories in all their guises, allow us to inhabit different worlds and empathise with the perspectives of others. The stories we tell are the vessels through which we relate to each other, to understanding of self, and to the world around us. Stories can enable new possibilities, repair divides, create social cohesion, and positively shape the world around us thereby bringing us together.’

Above: NIDA CEO Liz Hughes and The Hon Paul Fletcher MP (photo: Maja Baska)

Congratulations to the Class of 2019

Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership)
Olivia Allen
Cara Becker
Rebecca Coronel
Stephanie Cox
Merindah Donnelly
Alice Farley
Maeve MacGregor
Joel McGuinness
Craig Rogers
Carl Sciberras

Master of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)
Kate Beere
Luke D'Alessandro
Grace Deacon
Aislinn King
Aron Murray
Camille Ostrowsky
Phoebe Pilcher
Jake Pitcher
Olivia Rowlands

Master of Fine Arts (Directing)
Justice Jones Massaad
Miranda Middleton
Hayden Tonazzi
Mr Sam Trotman

Master of Fine Arts (Voice)
Lara Bouris
Sarah Chalmers
Laura Farrell
Patrick Klavins
Angela Sullen
Nikki Zhao

Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance)
Nicholas Duddy
Isaac Forsyth
Samira Spring
Grace Chapple
Bryce Bofinger
Thomas Owen
Jojo Zhou
Kasia Vickery
Kate McDowell

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting)
Matthew Alexander
Ethan Browne
Laura Cameron
Nicholas Cartwright
Roman Delo
Nick Drummond
Elyse Evans
Charlotte Friels
Kira-Che Heelan
Melissa Kahraman
Declan Kelly
Jazz Laker
Tadhg Lawrence
Mabel Li
Fabian McCallum
Matthew McDonald
Lewis McLeod
Olivia Mortimer-Eade
Pollyanna Nowicki
Thomas Russell
Bronte Sparrow
Sophie Wilde

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume)
Harriet Ayers
Stephany Eland
Evelyn Everaerts-Donaldson
Victoria Perry
Zoe Nicole Rolfe

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)
Angela Doherty
Stephanie Dunlop
Hamish Elliot
Angus Konsti
Hannah Sitters
Keerthi Subramanyam
Meiko Wong

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Properties and Objects)
Meg Hamilton
Sophie Howard
Daniel Mackenzie
Ruby Marchese
Henry Wilkinson

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Staging)
Grace Llanwarne
Eileen Ortiona

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Theatre and Stage Management)
Finn Appleton
Kate Baldwin
Jessie Byrne
Justin Ellis
Susie Henderson
Valerie Lam
Mitchell Marinac
Ryan McDonald
Ayah Tayeh
Wun Zee

VET Diploma (Live Production and Technical Services)
George Brooks
Nathan Bull
James Durham
Logan Hacking
River Heart
Lillian Lee
Israel Leslie
Rhys Mendham
Alexandra Moon
Alistair Moon
Philippa Morey
Thomas Mugridge
Sienna Sergi
Harry Tanswell

VET Diploma (Musical Theatre)
Harmony Breen
Edward Burgess
Jeremy Christie
Charlie Dunbar
Mitchell France
Sophie Gulloch
Samuel Harmon
Chelsea Hawke
Sophie Highmore
Timothy Mason
Krystal Meyer
Megan Mooney
Melanie O'Brien
Hamish Pickering
Thomas Rodgers
William Rogut
Ashley Thompson
Caitlin Weld
Jenna Woolley

VET Diploma (Stage and Screen Performance)
Alexander Barling
Timothy Breadmore
Lachlan Brodie
Alcira Carpio
Rhiannon Cary
Jack Curry
Lewis Defina
Ananya Dixit
Joshua Fabien
Joshua Hammond
William Hannan
Freya Kenay
Hadley Lindsay
Zara McCann
Maisie Owens
Jessica Pearson
Quinton Rich
Naveen Varghese
Georgia Weston-Allen
Ruby Williams
Bill Zeng
Imogen Ziras

VET Diploma (Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services))
Maddison Arena
Holly Ball
Isabelle Coote
Rebecca Crismale
Julianne De Matos
Tasia Linardos
Montana Mozeley
Monique Muskens
Emilee Pedder
Maddison Pepping
Claudia Skelton
Abigail Smith
Rebecca Smith
Briohny Walker