• triple j Unearthed music video scene designed by BFA Design student
  • Model box created by BFA Design for Performance student
  • BFA Design student models the costume she has made and designed out of paper
  • Actors on set and in costumes designed by BFA Design students

BFA (Design for Performance)

CRICOS CODE 083699F

NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) is an immersive practice-based course that equips students with the knowledge and skills to respond to design briefs as sets, costume or lighting designers.

Recognising that a professional designer requires knowledge and ability across a wide variety of skills, students undertake specialist education and training in design for sets, costumes, properties and lighting, as well as accumulating technical skills in model-making, rendering, virtual visualisation techniques, manual drafting, computer-aided drafting (CAD) and life drawing and pre-visualisation.

Applications for 2019 courses are now closed. There are a limited amount of auditions/interview places left in some locations. For late application requests, please contact the Learning and Teaching Team at applications@nida.edu.au as soon as possible.

Express your interest

Contact NIDA

NIDA also offers a Master of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) course.

About the course

The course equips students with the specific knowledge and skills to pursue careers as designers and assistant designers of scenery, costumes, properties and lighting in the arts and entertainment industries, including theatre, opera, dance, film, television and events.

Students also investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts informing contemporary art, architecture and design, the history of costume and clothing, colour theory and lighting theory.

Students learn in a collaborative environment through workshops, conceptual and realised projects, and major designs for productions, exhibitions and installations.

In the final year, students work as a team to curate, manage and design the EXPONIDA exhibition as well as the design and management of a music video, a short film and student productions. Each student also undertakes an industry placement, during which they are linked to a professional designer who acts as a mentor while the student observes their process of working within a major performing arts organisation or similar area.

Course Dates and Times

Course duration and contact hours

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully. 

All NIDA Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are three-year full-time courses. All NIDA Master of Fine Arts courses, except for Cultural Leadership, are 15-month full-time courses. 

2018 course dates

SEMESTER 1

Welcome week- 5 February- 9 February

Term 1: 5 February- 13 April

Mid-Semester Break: 14 April– 29 April

Term 2: 30 April– 29 June

MID-YEAR BREAK: 30 June- 22 July

SEMESTER 2

Term 3: 23 July– 7 September

Mid-Semester Break: 8 September- 16 September

Term 4: 17 September– 15 November

The semester continues until early December for those involved in the Directors’ productions.

The scheduling and delivery of this course each year is subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

2019 course dates

SEMESTER 1

Term 1: 4 February- 14 April

Mid-Semester Break: 15 April– 28 April

Term 2: 29 April– 30 June

MID-YEAR BREAK: 1 July - 21 July

SEMESTER 2

Term 3: 22 July– 8 September

Mid-Semester Break: 9 September- 15 September

Term 4: 16 September– 17 November

The semester continues until early December for those involved in the Directors’ productions.

The scheduling and delivery of this course each year is subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Subjects

First year

First year at a glance

In brief
  • Studio (design)
  • Model making
  • Manual drafting
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Rendering
  • Life drawing
  • History of Architecture
  • History of Costume
  • Dramaturgy
  • Performance History
  • Arts and Ideas
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Studio work
  • Participation in NIDA productions

Design for Performance Studio

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7101A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

Students are introduced to the fundamental skills and knowledge that Designers for Performance require to interrogate design problems, determine creative solutions and communicate outcomes with clarity. Students study the use of a variety of technical skills in visual communication through classes in life drawing, rendering techniques, model making and technical drawing and also investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts informing contemporary art, architecture and design.

Through basic design exercises, students analyse a series of given design briefs and apply basic creative problem solving in order to arrive at design solutions. Dramaturgical enquiry is a major component of these exercises and involves dramaturgical analysis of the text, and identification of structure and meaning in the work.

Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer review. Completed design projects are presented to the group and subject to a formative critique by peers and tutors.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7101B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

Students are introduced to new skills and tools, including the digital communication tools Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Photoshop.

Students undertake the conceptual design of a naturalistic play, building upon and extending the design exercises undertaken in the previous semester. Part of the design process is to apply discrete analytical lenses to any given work, which students engage with through further application of research and dramaturgical inquiry.

Students present conceptual set, prop and costume solutions to their peers and tutors in a formative critique. They support their design solutions by demonstrating clear research capabilities.

Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7102A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

In this subject, students are introduced to a range of fundamental tools and knowledge that Designers for performance require in the interrogation of design problems and in working collaboratively as part of a team. They initially fabricate a design and then crew a live performance. Each design student is assigned to work as set/props or costume design assistant, working alongside a more senior student designer to help realise the design of a production.

Through this engagement with productions, students are able to reflect on the nature of their contribution to a collaborative art form and the specific focus each of the disciplines bring to this collaboration.

In addition to their roles on productions, mixed cohorts of students from Technical Theatre and Stage Management and Design for Performance apply the knowledge gained from co-taught classes in Technical Drawing to their specific discipline. Introduction to Lighting Theory is also co-taught.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7102B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

Continuing to contribute as part of a production team, each design student is allocated to a different designer (as mentor) and production. Following the fabrication phase, design students take on a new crew role in the presentation of the work. This ensures that by the end of this subject, students will have experience within all of the workshops that contribute to a production and performed the corresponding crew role.

Design students, co-taught with Technical Theatre and Stage Management students, explore more extensive Lighting Theory and Design through a series of practically based exercises. They also utilise the knowledge they have gained in Technical Drawing and apply this to a preliminary investigation of CAD techniques and principles.

Within the studio environment, students also interrogate the nature of working collaboratively as part of a design team undertaking a major model making exercise. 

Performance and Ideas

SEMESTER ONE - COM7101A PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

SEMESTER TWO - COM7101B PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

This subject gives students a theoretical, critical and experiential understanding of key contexts, forms and conventions based on a chronological framework that supports an understanding of the Western theatrical canon.

In understanding the historical and social context ranging from ancient Greeks to contemporary Australian film practices, students will interrogate key figures, forms, conventions, productions, plays and practices of each topic.

Fundamental to ‘Performance and Ideas’ is students’ ability to actively relate these various historic practices of the Western theatrical canon to their own performance-based disciplines as 21st century artists.

Introduction to Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

COM7102A INTRODUCTION TO COLLABORATION (5 credit points)

The focus of Introduction to Collaboration is the theory and practice of collaboration.

This subject introduces students to the principles of collaboration, which includes defining collaboration and creativity and examining how ethics, values and behaviours of collaboration are generated. Students investigate notions of ownership, agreement, creative conflict and how to generate ideas and create innovative practice.

This subject provides a theoretical, conceptual and practical scaffold for other BFA subjects including Student-led Projects and Interdisciplinary Collaboration.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7102B INTRODUCTION TO COLLABORATION (5 credit points)

This subject builds upon the principles of collaboration, skills and conceptual tasks featured in the previous semester. The concepts previously explored are now realised through practice in a group collaborative project. These small cross cohort collaborations are supervised and mentored. They have strategies and articulated milestones for the collaboration built into the conceptual plan so that students remain accountable to the learning outcomes of the subject.

Second year

Second year at a glance

In brief

You will:

  • work collaboratively with students from the directing course
  • continue working on designs for costumes and sets for theatre
  • be introduced to film and events design
  • participate in designing NIDA’s annual end-of-year exhibition of work.
Delivery mode
  • Classes and workshops
  • Practical work

Design for Performance Studio

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7201A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

Students focus on an abstract conceptual design brief followed by a fully realised, albeit small scale, design. These projects utilise the same source material/text and encourage experimentation. Problem solving is at the forefront of these design investigations. The hypothesis generated in the conceptual investigation is tested through the realised project. Students develop a plan to realise their designs within a specific time frame and on a limited budget. By making paper clothing, which they wear and in which they perform, students are encouraged to evaluate the construction methodologies, ergonomics and visual and performative impact of the designs they have conceived.

The accumulated knowledge the students have gained by contextualising the role of the designer in live performance is applied to film through an introduction to art direction and through a film-based design project led by screen professionals.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7201B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (30 credit points)

In this subject students continue to hone a number of key design skills and are introduced to 3D drafting software. Dramaturgy is given greater focus through a series of classes providing students with the analytical tools to identify emotional triggers in any given work and to clarify structure with confidence.

By this stage, students are conversant with a number of digital forms of communication and expression, and are hence equipped to investigate the creation of digital content and projection design as an adjunct to set design.

This subject is closely linked to its Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration counterpart subject. Design students work with Directing students on a major conceptual design project. The skills enhancement and synthesising of knowledge that occurs within Design Studio supports the experiential learning within Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration as students engage in collaborative design projects.

Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7202A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

This subject synthesises the skills and knowledge gained in first year as students engage with more complex conceptual design briefs working with the post-graduate student directors for the first time.

The primary relationship between director and designer is explored through a number of conceptual design exercises that increase in complexity. Collaborative problem solving is at the forefront of these design investigations. A hypothesis is generated through discussion and mutual agreement. The resulting concept is then tested through the use of scale models and renderings.

The creative teams of director, set and costume designer, and lighting designer present the results of their investigation of a given production to their peers and tutors in a formal presentation.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7202B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (15 credit points)

Students continue engaging with student directors on a collaborative conceptual design exercise of increased complexity.

The creative teams draw upon their knowledge from the body of prior learning to conceive the design for an opera. This exercise allows students to demonstrate the ability to devise a concept through collaborative discussion, aided by thorough research and robust dramaturgical enquiry, along with the skills to present their ideas through a raft of visual communication tools including scale models, renderings and digital representations. Finally, they present formally to an invited audience of experts from the profession.

This presentation occurs at the conclusion of the semester, and marks the end of the design students’ formal theoretical explorations.

Performance and Ideas

SEMESTER ONE - COM7201A PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

SEMESTER TWO - COM7201B PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

This subject builds upon the knowledge and analytical skills built in the earlier semesters of Performance and Ideas.

This subject gives students a theoretical, critical and experiential understanding of key contexts, forms and conventions based on a contemporary chronological framework of the Western theatrical canon of the 20th and 21st centuries.

In understanding the historical and social context ranging from Brecht to contemporary gaming storytelling practices, students will interrogate key figures, forms, conventions, productions, plays and practices of each topic.

Fundamental to ‘Performance and Ideas’ is students’ ability to actively relate these various historic practices of the 20th century Western theatrical canon to their own performance based disciplines as 21st century artists.

Student-led Projects

SEMESTER ONE

COM7203A STUDENT-LED PROJECTS (5 credit points)

Student-led Projects derive from the theoretical and methodological frameworks explored in introduction to Collaboration. Students self-select their collaborative teams with cross cohort representation. Together each team shapes an idea for presentation drawing on the individual knowledge and ability of each member to problem-solve in the development and realisation of the collaborative endeavour. Collaborative groups request input from staff or external mentors when it is required. In this subject, students apply their acquired knowledge of behaviours, innovation in practice, leadership, followership, emotional intelligence and negotiation skills to devise a collaborative performative work.

Each group draws on the collective knowledge of different performance forms and processes to decide on the particular shape of their work and has strategies and articulated stages for the collaboration built into a written conceptual plan. A peer-review framework for assessment makes each student individually and collectively behaviourally accountable to the vision of the work.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7203B STUDENT-LED PROJECTS (5 credit points)

In this subject students build on the collaborative practice project established in the preceding semester by bringing their project to realisation and, if they wish, presenting it in a public or semi-public setting.

Students complete their documentation of the whole project in this semester, refine and finalise their framework for peer review, and document the outcome of the peer review process after final presentations of the work.

Third year

Third year at a glance

In brief
  • Work collaboratively with students from the directing course
  • Train with industry professionals in designing for Shakespeare
  • Design for film in industry music videos and short film projects
  • Design for graduate director play productions and the NIDA graduate exhibition
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Liaising with industry professionals
  • Participation in the NIDA Events and Production Program

Design for Performance Studio

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7301A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (20 credit points)

This subject consolidates skills and knowledge development, applying these within decision-making and problem-solving processes, and complementing the progressive shift of emphasis onto collaborative development and realisation of work.

The students continue classes in digital media with a focus on pre-visualisation for film, and Illustrator as an aid to storyboarding and image editing.

Students continue classes in the history of clothing and costume, and materials and technology with a particular focus on costume.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7301B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO (15 credit points)

Students work as a team to curate, manage and design an exhibition presenting selected works representing all of the ‘non-acting’ graduating students. The students plan all aspects of an exhibition, requiring them to negotiate Workplace, Health and Safety considerations within a public space, marketing collateral, exhibition graphics as well tendering their design for costing, supervision of the build, and installation of the exhibits.

The final project within the subject is to document their design work on a major production. Here they will synthesis and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired in technical documentation. The drawing package that is developed will inform the build of the major production.

Design for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7302A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (30 credit points)

In the third year, all design exercises in Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration have a practical outcome.

Students commence the year working as a class group on a collaboratively designed and devised project. The project requires the students to plan the formulation of a design concept through group negotiation, and then utilise the collective skills of the team to realise the concept. This calls for a disciplined approach to creative problem solving and communication, fabrication and the allocation of roles in a public performance.

Students then design a short film, which is shot by a professional crew. Working alongside students from various disciplines, designers observe the disparate elements that come together in film production. They collaborate with students from the Acting course, conceive a design, and plan an approach to achieving a successful outcome within a limited budget.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7302B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (30 credit points)

This subject comprises three complex and demanding exercises with diverse outcomes.

Firstly, the design students re-unite with the student directors to produce a number of music videos. The creative teams each collaborate with a band to conceive and produce a music video, which has a public web and televisual release.

Next, the students work as a team to curate, manage and design an exhibition presenting selected works representing all of the ‘non-acting’ graduating students.

The final project involves working as part of a creative team to design and realise a production with a student director. Each creative team has to collaborate with two other teams to present the production as part of trilogy of short plays in a season. 

Design for Performance Professional Practice

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7303A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (10 credit points)

In this subject, students will explore a raft of tools to enable them to embark upon a successful career as arts professionals and negotiate the demands of establishing themselves as a small business. This will include a basic knowledge of financial and risk management, business and project planning frameworks, marketing, and copyright. Students will learn how to identify sources of funding to apply for grants and sponsorship, to apply for jobs, and to protect their rights within the Industrial Relations landscape. Students will also undertake focused training on Workplace Health and Safety.

Finally, students will undertake a self-directed analysis of the body of work by a professional designer of their choice, reflecting on the design vocabulary the designer has used to express different ideas and how this language has shifted and evolved over the course of their careers.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7303B DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (15 credit points)

In this capstone subject, students are assigned to a professional designer as mentor to observe their process of working with a major performing arts organisation. Here they will engage with the process by which a design is realised through rehearsal and onto the stage/into the studio.

While attached to the professional designer, students will have opportunities to assist on the fabrication of the work through placement within the various workshops responsible for build of the design. They will also observe the rehearsal process and follow the various problem-solving discussions that happen amongst the creative team.

Once the build and the first phase of the rehearsal process are complete, the students will follow the process of taking the production into the theatre/studio. In this way, students synthesise the cycle of design, development and the final presentation of a production.

Admission criteria

Essential requirements for admission

Admission Criteria

NIDA's general entry requirements for accredited courses are:

  • Have completed a High School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school for undergraduate courses
    • NIDA will waive the requirement for completion of year 12 studies where an applicant's work and life experience supports their ability and skills to engage in their selected program (includes those who left secondary education more than 2 years ago).
  • Be 18 years of age by 31 March in the first year of enrolment for domestic students in undergraduate programs (only in exceptional circumstances can this condition be waived) and 18 years at date of commencement for international students (there is no waiver for international students on age).
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English. International students must have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.0 (IELTS 8.0 for BFA (Acting)).
  • Have skills and knowledge appropriate to the level and discipline the applicant is seeking to gain admission into.
  • Have an evidenced interest in the performing arts.

NIDA does not currently have an enabled course or bridging program.

Essential requirements

We select students who:

  • demonstrate commitment, motivation and passion in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study
  • provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively
  • demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline
  • demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness
  • articulate and communicate ideas clearly

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

NIDA welcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. General admissions requirements apply.

Due to the volume of auditions carried out, we are unable to provide you with individual feedback. The decision of the audition panel is final.

It is not possible to defer an offer of a place at NIDA.

International students

We require all international applicants to:

  • attend an audition in Australia.
  • be aware of the visa conditions and financial obligations you are required to meet as an overseas student.
  • accept full responsibility for all arrangements concerning entry into, and residence in, Australia (including visas and health insurance).
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of 7.0 IELTS (8.0 for Acting). Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org This requirement may be waived for applicants that have completed their high school studies in English.

For more information on applying as an international student, see international students.

Domestic applicants with overseas qualifications

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

NIDA's general entry requirements apply and selection is based on merit.

Fees

Tuition fees

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester.

The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

Domestic Students

Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Download the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fees Schedule 2018 (PDF 597KB).

Download the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fees Schedule 2019 (PDF 1115KB).

International Students

Fees and financial assistance vary for international students see International Students for full details.

Tuition fees overview

DegreeCourse duration2018 Annual tuition fee $AUD*Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)Three years$14,277.96$42,833.88

Tuition fee details

Year 1, 2018
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2018    
DFP7101ADesign for Performance Studio300.25$3,569.49
DFP7102ADesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration150.125$1,784.75
COM7101APerformance and Ideas100.083$1,189.83
COM7102AIntroduction to Collaboration50.042$594.92
Total for Semester 1, 2018 600.5$7,138.98
Semester 2, 2018    
DFP7101BDesign for Performance Studio300.25$3,569.49
DFP7102BDesign for Performance Studio Collaboration150.125$1,784.75
COM7101BPerformance and Ideas100.083$1,189.83
COM7102BIntroduction to Collaboration50.042$594.92
Total for Semester 2, 2018 600.5$7,138.98
Total for Year 1 1201.0$14,277.96
Year 2, 2018
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2018    
DFP7201ADesign for Performance Studio300.25$3,569.49
DFP7202ADesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration150.125$1,784.75
COM7201APerformance and Ideas100.083$1,189.83
COM7203AStudent-led Projects50.042$594.92
Total for Semester 1, 2018 600.5$7,138.98
Semester 2, 2018    
DFP7201BDesign for Performance Studio300.25$3,569.49
DFP7202BDesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration150.125$1,784.75
COM7201BPerformance and Ideas100.083$1,189.83
COM7203BStudent-led Projects50.042$594.92
Total for Semester 2, 2018 600.5$7,138.98
Total for Year 2 1201.0$14,277.96
Year 3, 2018
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2018    
DFP7301ADesign for Performance Studio200.167$2,379.66
DFP7302ADesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration300.25$3,569.49
DES7303ADesign for Performance Professional Practice100.83$1,189.83
Total for Semester 1, 2018 600.5$7,138.98
Semester 2, 2018    
DFP7301BDesign for Performance Studio150.125$1,784.75
DFP7302BDesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration300.25$3,569.49
DES7303BDesign for Performance Professional Practice150.125$1,784.75
Total for Semester 2, 2018 600.5$7,138.98
Total for Year 3 1201.0$14,277.96

*The tuition fees are reviewed each year and you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolment.

** EFTSL - Effective Fulltime Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full time study load of 1.0 for an academic year.

Administration fees

Administration and Other Fees 2019

These fees are payable at the time the service is provided or item purchased.

Item/ServiceDetail2019 Cost
Binding supplies1 comb,1 cover, 1 back$2
GraduationAcademic Dress Hire: gown, hood and cap$35
Additional tickets for guests (2 guests no charge)$20 per head
Student ID Card replacementReplacement of a lost student card$25
PhotocopyingB/W – single sided$0.05
B/W – double sided$0.10
Colour – single sided$0.10
Colour – double sided$0.20
Locker keyDeposit$25
Replacement of lost locker key$25
Testamur replacement1 testamur – domestic postage$80
1 testamur – standard international postage$90
Transcript replacement1 transcript – domestic postage$20
1 transcript – standard international postage$30

Additional costs

Equipment List

Refer to pages 15-18 of the 2019 Fee Schedule for a full equipment list.

Compulsory Clothing

Safe working clothing is COMPULSORY when in the workshop area. Closed shoes must be worn at ALL times in the workshop studios and theatres.  Protective footwear such as rubber-soled Blundstones are compulsory for use in all workshop areas and theatre spaces so you must have these at the beginning of your course.

Shortly after arriving at NIDA you will be required to have a set of black clothes (ie. long sleeved black top and long black trousers) for production work.

Recommended Reading

While students are provided with the script of any plays they are involved in as part of the NIDA Production Program, students are encouraged to purchase other scripts and textbooks for subjects such as Performance and Ideas.

Information Technology Recommendations

To access NIDA wireless (iWIRE) network, students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 7 and later), Macbook (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later) or a Tablet (less than three years old with wireless facility). All the devices should comply with 802.11a/b/g/n WPA-Enterprise security. All notebooks should be secured with a Kensington lock to help prevent theft.

For file transfers and data backup, a 500GB hard drive or higher and an 8GB USB stick are also recommended, as is a DVD burner, for optimum visual graphics on your computer(Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc.) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not required.

Further financial information

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

FEE-HELP

WHAT IS FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student's tuition fees. In 2018 the FEE-HELP lifetime limit is $102,392.

A loan fee of 25% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to www.studyassist.gov.au

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FEE-HELP?

You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:

  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa.

The following students are NOT eligible for FEE-HELP:

  • New Zealand citizens - refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students.

Financial assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information.

While at NIDA, students can also apply for consideration for a NIDA student bursary. Each year there are a limited number of NIDA student bursaries to assist with living costs. These are allocated to students on the basis of financial need with second and third year undergraduates and Master of Fine Arts students prioritised. The bursaries are made available through the generosity of donors to NIDA and from bequests.

Statement of Tuition Assurance Exemption

Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, (the HESA) and the Higher Education Provider Guidelines, approved Higher Education Providers must have arrangements in place to protect students if the Provider is unable to continue to offer a course for any reason, unless the Provider has been exempted from this requirement.

As required under 2.5.1.5 of the Higher Education Provider Guidelines of 23 November 2006, NIDA advises that, under section 16-30 (2) of the HESA, NIDA has been granted an exemption from the tuition assurance requirements of HESA. The reason for the exemption is that NIDA is in receipt of funding from the Australian Government. As NIDA is principally funded by the Australian Government, appropriate transition arrangements would be put in place should it be decided to discontinue a course.

FAQs

Entry requirements FAQs

What ATAR score do I need to get into NIDA?

Entry into NIDA courses is by audition or interview only. We do not ask for exam scores or ATAR rankings. However, all applicants applying for any higher education course at NIDA must have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school. In exceptional circumstances this requirement can be waived. 

What subjects should I study at school?

NIDA does not require students to have studied any particular subjects at school. However, it is beneficial during their period of study at NIDA for students to have a high level of literacy and to have read widely. A strong working knowledge of subjects such as English and History is helpful to provide an understanding of historical context and literary references in theatre and literature. It is helpful to have an understanding of drama and, if possible, to have attended a range of theatre and films. Applicants for some courses often study Design and Technology, Textiles and Design, or similar subjects such as Art. Knowledge of a language other than English and understanding of other cultures is also beneficial. 

For courses such as Properties and Objects, Staging, Design for Performance, and Technical Theatre and Stage Management there is a need to have some numeracy and basic computing skills. For the Staging and Properties and Objects courses there is a need to be comfortable with basic applied algebra, geometry and physical concepts but memorisation is not required and use of these concepts is very practically focused. 

Is there a minimum age restriction?

The minimum age for entry into NIDA’s full-time courses is 18 years. Students are expected to be at least 18 years of age at the commencement of their first year, or within a few months of commencement. In exceptional circumstances this condition may be waived. Applicants must be at least 17 years of age at the time of their audition or interview.

Applications from those 16 years and younger will not be accepted.

Is there a maximum age restriction?

There is no maximum age restriction. As a guide to the age distribution at NIDA, the ages of students in undergraduate courses at the start of 2016 ranged from 17 years to early 30s, with the average age being 21.

The average age in the Master of Fine Arts courses is 32, with an age range from early 20s to mid-40s.

Application FAQs

How do I apply for a full-time course at NIDA?

Application to NIDA is by direct entry. Applicants apply online via the NIDA website.

NIDA will accept applications for the 2019 intake from 2 July - 30 September, 2018.

You must then prepare for your audition or interview, the details of which can be found on the course pages.

My application form isn’t working/loading!

If you are having difficulty using the online application form, check your internet browser: Chrome, Firefox and Safari are the recommended browsers. You should also turn off any security that blocks pop-ups, as this may prevent the application screen from opening. While application form will still work on a tablet or mobile device, it performs best on a PC or laptop.

Can I apply for more than one course?

Yes, however a separate online application form and payment of application fee AUD$75.00 will be required for each course you would like to apply for.

What do I do if the audition/ interview dates are not suitable?

NIDA aims to accommodate all Australian states during the audition/ interview period.

If the dates provided are not suitable to individuals applying to non-Acting courses we will try to work with you to create a mutually agreeable alternative. If you cannot attend any of the available dates, please select ‘Other Interstate’ when completing the application form and email applications@nida.edu.au to discuss further options.

Unfortunately due to the large volume of applications to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) course, we cannot schedule any alternative dates other than those advertised.

Audition and interview FAQs

What do I need to prepare for my audition/interview?

All the details for audition and interview requirements can be found on the individual course pages under the ‘How to Apply’ tab.

Does NIDA give audition/interview feedback?

Due to the large number of people being auditioned or interviewed, it is not possible for NIDA to provide individual feedback, either orally or in writing. However, the auditions and interviews are learning experiences, particularly through the opportunity in the auditions to observe the presentation of audition pieces by other applicants and any redirection suggestions provided to you or other applicants by members of the audition panel. 

What are my chances of getting into NIDA’s Acting course straight from high school?

There are around 1700 applicants for the 24 places in the Acting course. Most school leavers who apply for the Acting course are not accepted the first time they apply. There are advantages to having some life experience and maturity to be able to cope with a very rigorous course. However, the audition process is a valuable one and provides useful experience for future applications. There were two school-leavers among the 24 applicants selected for entry in 2016.

Where will my interview take place?

During your online application you will have the opportunity to select the date and location of your audition/ interview. The specific location details will be included in your receipt once you have submitted a complete application form. Please note that NIDA reserves the right to amend your audition/ interview date/ location at any time depending on scheduling requirements.

What happens after my interview?

Final selections are made for each course by mid- December when study offers will be distributed to successful applicants via email.

Please note applicants who do not make it through to the recall stage for Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) and Master of Fine Arts (Directing) courses have not been successful for the 2019 intake.

Studying at NIDA FAQs

What are the contact hours for BFA courses?

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

How are NIDA’s courses structured?

NIDA offers a conservatoire based method of education and training based around intensive practice-based learning.

There is formal class work, practical instruction, lectures and, for some courses, periods of placements in the arts industry. Each course has dedicated time to discipline-specific immersion, as well as common subjects undertaken by students of all disciplines.

NIDA Play Productions and screen work provides practical learning experiences, giving students the opportunity to apply learnt technical skills. Play productions are an important part of NIDA’s higher education courses with usually five productions being produced each semester.

More detailed information about course structure can be found on the individual course pages. 

What facilities does NIDA offer?

NIDA’s award winning campus includes a range of facilities available to students:

  • the Parade Theatre, seating over 700 people, is equipped with advanced technology in sound, lighting and scenery
  • performance spaces of varying sizes. The Parade Studio, Parade Playhouse, Parade Space and Atrium are also utilised for productions
  • the state-of-the-art Reg Grundy Studio is used for film and television recording
  • the Rodney Seaborn Library, specialising in the performing arts
  • computer-aided design (CAD) and multimedia studios
  • rehearsal rooms, teaching spaces and music practice rooms
  • and workshops for the manufacture of scenery, properties and costumes.

What student services does NIDA offer?

Because of NIDA’s close relationship with UNSW, in addition to the NIDA library, NIDA students have access to the UNSW Library, The Learning Centre, health services and the UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre, all located close to NIDA.

NIDA students have access to student counselling services provided through UNSW.

Indigenous students can also use the services of the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Centre at UNSW.

Does NIDA offer credit transfer for study undertaken elsewhere?

Yes, NIDA grants credit for formal study undertaken in recognised higher institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions, where the applicant has met the learning outcomes, attained the knowledge and/or developed the skills relevant to a specific subject. An application for credit must be submitted and approved prior to commencement of the course. For further information see NIDA’s credit transfer policy.

Accommodation FAQs

NIDA does not provide accommodation for students. However the following information will help you consider some options available to you.

UNSW on-campus housing

Although NIDA is not part of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), NIDA students can access the student accommodation at UNSW.

UNSW is located directly across from NIDA on Anzac Parade, Kensington and has a number of on-campus residential colleges and self-catered apartments that Study Abroad students can apply for by going directly to their websites:

Fully catered colleges:

Self-catered apartments:

Seeking rental accommodation independently

Rental accommodation in the immediate vicinity of NIDA is not usually easy to find at short notice, can be expensive and Sydney landlords usually require a minimum six month lease to be signed. It is also in high demand so it is advisable to start searching at least two or three weeks before you start the course. You should also consider that not all accommodation is furnished and you may need to buy furniture.

Students tend to look for accommodation in suburbs near NIDA such as Randwick, Kensington, Kingsford, Coogee and Maroubra or, slightly further away, in Newtown, Surry Hills or Paddington, because of proximity and transport services. Students at NIDA often have to stay late during production and projects times so it is important that transport is available. Some useful websites that list rental agents and/or rental accommodation are:

Seeking share housing

Many students at NIDA find share accommodation in houses and apartments in the surrounding areas. The advantage to share renting is that all costs, rent, electricity, gas etc are shared, reducing the overall cost of living. Share rentals are often advertised on the rental websites given above, but NIDA students also post notices to the student web pages when they are seeking someone to share their accommodation. Students will be able to access these pages as soon as they have accepted their offer of place at NIDA.

Alternatively, there are local, public forums for seeking share-housing independently such as flatmates.com.au and closed Facebook groups such as Eastern Suburbs Housemates and Inner West Housemates (read the guidelines listed and request to join).

For any queries regarding the NIDA Study Abroad program contact us at applications@nida.edu.au.

NIDA Student policies FAQs

Can I defer my studies at NIDA?

Due to the highly competitive nature of NIDA’s admissions process, you must enrol for the year for which you have been offered a place. You cannot defer acceptance of a place. If you want to enrol in a subsequent year, you will need to apply again the following year and go through the audition/interview process again. There is no guarantee that you will be offered a place next time.

A first year student who discontinues a course of study during the year and wishes to return the following year, must re-apply for admission to NIDA in the normal manner. There is no guarantee of re-admission.

Application for leave of absence by continuing students must be made in writing with reasons to the Head of Course for consideration and recommendation to the Director. Approval for leave of absence can only be granted by the Director/CEO. It should be noted that approval for leave of absence will only be granted under exceptional circumstances.

Can students be suspended from NIDA?

In addition to cancellation of enrolment for non-payment of tuition fees, a student’s enrolment at NIDA can be suspended or cancelled on the grounds of misconduct. Refer to the Student Misconduct Procedures below.

Where can I find more information about NIDA Student Policies?

See NIDA Student Policies for more information. 

Fees FAQs

What are the tuition fees for accredited courses?

Full information about tuition fees and FEE-HELP is available under the ‘Fees’ tab on individual course pages. 

Are there any other costs to study at NIDA apart from tuition fees?

There is an optional annual fee of $40 to join the Student Council of NIDA (SCON).While students are provided with the script of any plays they are involved in as part of the NIDA Production Program, students are encouraged to purchase other scripts and textbooks for subjects such as Performance and Ideas.

Acting students must wear “blacks” to class everyday i.e. leotards, jogging pants, sweat pants, simple black tops or T-shirts, so students need to make sure they have at least a couple of sets of blacks to get themselves through the week. Acting students must also supply their own make-up and soft black shoes.

Scenic Construction and Technologies, Design for Performance, Costume, Properties and Objects, Technical Theatre and Stage Management students are required to purchase specific tools and equipment, which should be considered as lifelong investments. Students using workshop spaces are also required to have closed-toe protective footwear. Technical Theatre and Stage Management students should also have a few sets of “blacks” for working on productions.

Design for Performance students are also expected to purchase their own art equipment, drawing paper, cardboard and other material for models and should allow around $1000 for this each year.

To access NIDA wireless (iWIRE) network, students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 7 and later), Macbook (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later) or a Tablet (less than three years old with wireless facility). All the devices should comply with 802.11a/b/g/n WPA-Enterprise security.

For file transfers and data backup, a 500GB hard drive or higher and an 8GB USB stick are also recommended, as is a DVD burner, for optimum visual graphics on your computer(Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc..) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not compulsory.

For a full list of additional costs by course please refer to the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fees Schedule 2019 (PDF 1115KB).

Financial assistance FAQs

Are there scholarships available for studying at NIDA?

NIDA does not offer scholarships that cover the cost of tuition fees. NIDA students, who are Australian citizens, are able to access FEE-HELP loans for assistance with their tuition fees. For more information on FEE-HELP loans see www.studyassist.gov.au.

NIDA offers students the opportunity to apply for financial assistance (bursaries) at the beginning of each year to assist with living costs. The bursaries are made available through the generosity of donors to NIDA and from bequests. Bursaries are paid on a fortnightly basis during the NIDA year, with the value of individual bursaries in 2014 ranging from $1500 annually to $4000 annually, depending on need and the year and course of study. These funds are allocated to students on the basis of financial need, course of study and year of study. Bursaries are only available to students currently enrolled at NIDA.

What other financial assistance is available to undergraduate students?

Eligible students enrolled in NIDA’s undergraduate courses can apply to Centrelink for Austudy, Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information. 

Is financial assistance available for students in the Master of Fine Arts?

The Master of Fine Arts courses are not approved courses for students to receive Austudy, Youth Allowance (student) and Pensioner Education Supplement through Centrelink. Master of Fine Arts students are eligible to apply for a NIDA bursary

NZ and international students FAQs

Is there a limit on the number of international students accepted each year?

NIDA welcomes applications from international students. While there is no quota for international students, there are limited numbers of students in each course.

What are the English language requirements for international students?

Students must be proficient in written and spoken English, with international applicants required to have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of IELTS 8.0 for Acting, Directing and Writing for Performance, or IELTS 7.0 for other higher education courses. Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org.

International applicants who are short-listed for the Acting course after the recall audition must provide evidence of their English language capability by the end of the first week in December in order to be considered in the final selection process. International applications for other courses should bring evidence of their English language capability to their interview.

Where can I find more information about international students at NIDA?

More information about studying as an international student at NIDA can be found at International students

How to apply

Applications for 2019 courses are now closed. There are a limited amount of auditions/interview places left in some locations. For late application requests, please contact the Learning and Teaching Team at applications@nida.edu.au as soon as possible.

Express your interest

Application Process

Application to NIDA is by direct entry. Applicants apply online via the NIDA website.

Entry to the BFA Design for Performance is by interview. Applicants will need to prepare a project prior to their interview - see below for details or download the BFA Application Guide for 2019.

How to apply

There are six steps to successfully applying for a NIDA course:

STEP 1

Create your application account (link to be provided from 2 July).

You will then be sent an automatic email with your log in details to continue your application.

STEP 2

Log in, select the green ‘New Application’ button and complete the online form.

STEP 3

Upload the following documentation to the online form:

  • Evidence of your most recent qualification (e.g. school report, Higher School Certificate, university transcript or testamur).
  • Proof of identification (e.g. passport, driver’s licence, birth certificate; ID must show your date of birth).
  • A passport style photograph (less than six months old, in colour, well lit, plain background).
  • Academic IELTS or equivalent (international applicants only)
  • Any course related documents/portfolios.

STEP 4

Make payment of the AUD$75 administration fee by credit/debit card.

STEP 5

Book your audition or interview date in your nearest capital city.

STEP 6

Attend your audition or interview, having prepared the relevant material for your course.

Interview dates

2018 interview dates to be confirmed.

Your Interview

What to prepare

SUBMIT WITH YOUR APPLICATION

The following may be uploaded with your application:

1. PORTFOLIO

  • You may upload a digital portfolio with your application; otherwise you can bring one with you to your interview. You should prepare examples of past work that you feel will support your application and demonstrate your suitability for a career in design and the arts and entertainment industry. These may include (but are not limited to) photos, life drawings, renders, illustrations, technical drawings, models, sculptures, and paintings. The purpose of the portfolio if to provide an insight into how you think as an artist.
PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW

The following should be prepared in advance to be discussed at your interview.

2. DESIGN PROJECT

  • Select one production from the provided list for your project. Prepare your project according to the requirements and bring it along to your interview for discussion.

What to expect on the day

If interviewing in Sydney, you should be prepared to spend half the day at your interview (i.e. either the morning or the afternoon). Interstate interviews will be scheduled on the hour.

The interview is in two parts:

  • First, there will be a brief talk about NIDA, the Design for Performance course and what will happen during the interview. There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about NIDA or about the interview itself.
  • Each applicant will then be interviewed for around 45 minutes. During the interview, we will discuss your project; your ideas about theatre, film and the broader creative industry; and why you want to study Design for Performance at NIDA.

Interview tips

Preparation! The more time and effort you put into the project and interview preparation in advance, the more confident you’ll be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.

Come with a clear idea of why you want to study Design for Performance at NIDA.

Plan your journey to the interview. Give yourself plenty of travel time to allow for delays.

We know that interviews can be stressful, but every effort will be made to ensure your experience will be as interesting and enjoyable as possible. The interview is designed to give you the very best opportunity to show your potential and readiness to study at NIDA.

Design Project Information

Project options

Select one production from the list below for your project. The texts that have been nominated should be readily available from your local library, bookstore, or online. Should you have any difficulty obtaining any of these texts, please contact NIDA.

  • Buried Child by Sam Shepard (play)
  • Away by Michael Gow (play)
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare (play)
  • Cabaret by John Kander and Fred Ebb (music theatre)

Project requirements

SET DESIGN
  • Prepare a scale model of how you would like to see the production staged (See below to download the plan and section of the theatre).
  • Make your model from any suitable materials that effectively show how you would stage the production in the Parade Theatre at NIDA – common examples are balsa, cardboard or foam-core, but you can choose anything, that is appropriate to communicate your idea (See David Neat’s Model-Making: Materials and Methods, 2008).
  • Use the scale of 1:25 and use a scale rule for accuracy – this is essential.
  • Build the model on a strong base – plywood or thin particleboard.
  • Your model should indicate the colour and finishes of the set.
  • Your model should include at least one human figure (at 1:25 scale) and scale furniture to give a sense of scale.
  • Keep all your research and provide this in a research folder and development sketches etc. as evidence of your process.
COSTUME DESIGN
  • Prepare full colour costume drawings for the central characters in your production (create at least 6 full colour images).
  • Drawings should be on A3 paper.
  • Keep all your research and provide this in a research folder and development sketches etc. as evidence of your process.
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

Consider the following questions when creating your design and for discussion at interview:

  • Why have you chosen this play/opera/musical? Why is it important to you? Why will audiences want to see it?
  • Text: What ideas is the playwright/librettist trying to express? What relevance does the play/opera/musical have for contemporary Australian audiences?
  • Characters and actors: What kind of people are the characters in the play/opera/musical? In what kind of world do they exist? If you had complete freedom of choice, which actors would you cast in the production?
  • Design: How would you describe the imaginative world of the play/opera/musical? Where is it located? In what period/time is the production based? Is the story told in real time, or over a broken time frame?
  • Costume, sets, lighting and props: What is required in each of these areas?
  • (For guidance on how to develop a design, please see Stephen Curtis’s STAGING IDEAS: Set and Costume Design for Theatre, 2014)

Bring your entire project along to the interview – do not send it in advance.

Theatre plans

Download the theatre design documents you will need for your project here.

Theatre Plan (PDF 1.6MB)

Theatre Section (PDF 1.3MB)

Advanced standing

The collaborative nature of NIDA's conservatoire training means that NIDA does not encourage advanced standing/academic credit/recognition of prior learning, particularly for discipline based subjects. However a student can apply for academic credit or recognition of prior learning at the time of enrolment. Details are available on the student policies page.

See definitions for common terminology (PDF, 33KB).

Student profile

The table below gives an indication of the educational backgrounds of the 2018 commencing undergraduate BFA peer cohort in all disciplines at NIDA.

It should be noted that as selection and admission to courses at NIDA is based on merit the statistics below may not be indicative of the educational backgrounds of commencing cohorts on a year to year basis.

Applicant BackgroundNumber of studentsPercentage of all students
(A) Past higher education study7 11.5%
(B) Past Vocational Education and Training study1829.5%
(C) Recent secondary education
Admitted on basis of other criteria and ATAR was not a factor
20 32.8%
(D) Work and life experience15 24.6%
International students1 1.6%
All students61 100%

L/N - Low numbers: the number of students is less than 5.
N/P - Not published: the number is hidden to prevent calculation of numbers in cells with less than 5 students.

Student work

See some of our students' work from productions, events, rehearsals, classwork and student projects.

Careers

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) you will have the necessary skills and knowledge required to succeed across the multidisciplinary field of design.

Potential careers
  • Stage and screen set/production designer
  • Stage and screen costume designer
  • Art director
  • Lighting designer
  • Properties designer
  • Event designer

See NIDA's list of Alumni.

Further Info

For more info, check the course guide (PDF, 2.5MB)

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Email: applications@nida.edu.au

Phone: +61 (02) 9697 7614
+61 (02) 9697 7611
+61 (02) 9697 7654

Mail:

Applications
NIDA
215 Anzac Parade
Kensington NSW 2033

Further information:

NIDA Undergraduate and Graduate policies and procedures
Commonwealth Register
National Register of Higher Education Providers

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