NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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From NIDA Backstage to Australian Theatres with Abi Smith

We’ve been hearing about Abigail (Abi) Smith's work in theatres. Abi graduated with a Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-Up Services) in 2019 and recently, her fellow NIDA graduate divulged that they were working together to prepare him for his performance. We love these reoccurring collaborations! Our team caught up with Abi and asked her about her career.

Abi Smith

Image credit: Courtesy of Abi Smith, 2019 NIDA Make-up Showcase

NIDA: Where did you grow up? Did you always want to pursue a creative/artistic career when you were growing up?

Abi Smith: I was born in the UK but grew up on Sydney’s northern suburbs. From a young age I always loved the performing arts, and watching shows with my mum, so it made sense that I wanted to be part of that.

NIDA: You've done a lot of great work since graduating from NIDA. What made you decide that you want to study Wig, Hair, and Make-Up (WHAM) at NIDA?

AS: I knew I wanted to work in professional theatre, and when you think of theatre you think of NIDA. Particularly the screen and media course.

NIDA: Would you say NIDA helped you in getting your foot in the door for WHAM work?

AS: NIDA gave me a lot of experience and skill, but it also prepared me to freelance and build contacts to get me to where I am today.

NIDA: Did you do an internship/work experience for a production company when you were still a student?

AS: I did work experience on [Vivaldi’s] Farnace with Pinchgut Opera while at NIDA, and it was my first ‘professional work’. Safe to say it was the highlight of my work experience!

NIDA: What are your make-up and hair must-haves? Any personal recommendations for budge proof make-up for daily life or stage wear /on set?

AS: I can’t go anywhere without my trusty tail-comb, I’d be lost without it! And a universal tip for theatre make-up and real life is powder powder powder! Set every product!

NIDA: What's next for you, Abi?

AB: I'm booked to do La Cage at the State Theatre in April and then Mamma Mia at the Sydney Lyric from May, then I’m taking a break to go on holiday so that’s me until October.

It is with great pride that we recognise all our alumni.

Listed below are a few of them who graduated with Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-Up Services):

  • Melissa Katherine King (2022) has recently wrapped Amadeus at Sydney Opera House and is currently on tour with Cruel Intentions.
  • Petrie Porter (2022) is a regular at the Sydney Theatre Company. She’s working on Julia, Importance of Being Ernest and Oil for the 2023 Season.
  • Joshan Ramadani (2021) worked on Moulin Rouge, is currently on Hairspray and will be on Tina: The Tina Turner Musical from May 2023.

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