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.


Lose to Win: Mandela Mathia’s Tale of Triumph and Transformation

For NIDA alumnus Mandela Mathia (Acting, 2017), Lose to Win is more than just a play; it’s the story of his journey from hardship to triumph, from South Sudan to the Belvoir St Theatre stage. It’s a celebration of resilience, of the power of imagination, and of the unbreakable human spirit.

Mandela’s life story is nothing short of extraordinary, spanning continents and cultures. Born in South Sudan, Mandela’s childhood was marked by upheaval and uncertainty. Fleeing his homeland as a child, he embarked on a journey that took him from the calamity of war to the streets of Egypt before finally finding his way to the land down under. His experiences, shaped by adversity and resilience, form the heart of Lose to Win.

Some of what sets Lose to Win apart, beyond Mandela’s riveting performance, is the collaborative efforts of fellow NIDA alumni who have lent their talents to bring his vision to life. In the hands of director Jessica Arthur (Directing, 2015), Mandela’s story is told with authenticity and depth. Jessica brings a keen understanding of storytelling and a commitment to honouring Mandela’s narrative with sensitivity and respect.

Lose To Win rehearsal at Belvoir St Theatre. From left to right: Mandela Mathia (Acting, 2017), Jessica Arthur (Directing, 2015), Kate Baldwin (Technical Theatre and Stage Management, 2019), Keerthi Subramanyam (Design, 2019). Photo by Brett Boardman.

Behind the curtain, a team of NIDA-trained professionals have helped to contribute to the success of Mandela’s solo show. With set and costume design by Keerthi Subramanyam (Design for Performance, 2019) to lighting design by Kate Baldwin (Technical Theatre and Stage Management, 2019), every aspect of the show is meticulously crafted to create an immersive and unforgettable experience for audiences. Dramaturgical consultant Ayah Tayeh (Technical Theatre and Stage Management, 2019) brings her expertise to the table, enriching the narrative with depth and complexity, while vocal coach Laura Farrell (Voice, 2020) has helped to ensure that Mandela’s voice resonates with clarity and emotion. Meanwhile, stage manager Jen Jackson (Technical Theatre and Stage Management, 2021) keeps the production running smoothly, orchestrating the behind-the-scenes magic that brings Mandela’s story to life with each performance.

This modern Australian show is not to be missed. Lose to Win is playing from 25 April – 19 May.