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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NIDA’s graduating make-up artists create, transform and inspire at final Showcase

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Above: Ella Colhoun (left) creates a Na'vi character inspired by Avatar, with assistance from Jessica Tatchell (right).

Incorporating a year’s worth of learning, experimentation and boundless creativity, this year’s Make-up Showcase spotlighted the talents of NIDA’s graduating artists of the Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services).

As well as the design and application of make-up, students showcased their skills in special effects, prosthetics, body painting and wig work, in a series of short scenes brought to life by the 24 actors of the Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance. With the 2021 Diploma of Live Performance and Technical Services students managing the event, the show was a spectacular collaborative collage of live performance, art, and audiovisual mastery.

Performers were transformed into different characters, embodying the creative vision of the artists, and thrown together in scenes both entertaining and absurd. Imagine Narnia’s Ice Queen falling in love with Freddie Mercury, or Deadpool meeting Felicia Jollygoodfellow from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Showcase director and NIDA alumnus Garth Holcombe (Acting, 2006) said, “The make-up artist is a powerhouse of storytelling… they turn a dream into reality and by doing so remind us of the magical and of the impossible.”

With scenes exploring comedy, horror, drama and musical theatre, the audience was transported to new worlds, from the high seas of Pirates of the Caribbean to Avatar’s Pandora, to Whoville and the House of Gucci, just to name a few!

For the artists, Showcase is an opportunity to bring all their hard work, honed skills, and different experiences together as they prepare to enter the industry.

The eleven graduating make-up artists had a chance to introduce themselves, discuss their creative process, and speak about their future goals. For Melanie Gjura, prosthetics and hair and make-up were the focus of her final work, which featured a scene from Nightmare on Elm Street between Nancy Thompson and the terrifying Freddy Krueger. Melanie said, “After this course, I’m hoping to do some work in prosthetics and special effects in films and theatre.”

Anthony Bonfanti chose Moulin Rouge characters for their drag-inspired make-up and themes of individuality and self-expression. He hopes to work in theatre and explore styling wigs and wig-making.

For Jessica Tatchell, the opportunity to re-create make-up looks for Harley Quinn and The Joker was the perfect way to explore character. “I would love to specialise in special effects, character work and prosthetics. I’m so excited to get out there, I can’t wait to get into the industry!”

A big congratulations to NIDA’s graduating make-up artists: Ahdinda Ley, Amy Dillon, Anthony Bonfanti, Eliza Young, Ella Colhoun, Jessica Tatchell, Joshan Ramadani, Lachlan Masters, Melanie Gjura, Polly Cooper and Teagan Hay.

To learn more about the Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services) and express interest for next year, visit

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Grizabella Joker Freddy
Ice Queen Breaking Dawn The Grinch

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