NIDA's graduating class of 2016
The achievements of 75 talented creative professionals were celebrated at the graduation ceremony for the NIDA class of 2015 on Sunday 22 May. Esteemed artist and arts advocate, Robyn Archer AO, delivered the occasional address to an audience of graduates and their families.
The graduates will now become part of NIDA’s elite alumni community of creative artists and practitioners, having all completed one of the following courses: the Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services; the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Acting, Costume, Design, Properties, Staging, Production; or the Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing or Writing for Performance.
Following the tradition of recognizing those who make a significant contribution to the arts industry, NIDA honoured both Robyn Archer, and long-time NIDA supporter and volunteer, Beris Tomkins.
Ms Tomkins commenced her support of NIDA in 2002 as a member of the Friends of NIDA volunteer group and since 2005, Ms Tomkins has volunteered at the NIDA Archives. There, she has drawn on her extensive knowledge of administrative and research processes and Sydney theatre to catalogue hundreds of theatre programs and to identify and catalogue hundreds of photos from NIDA productions from the last fifty years. As a result of her work, researchers and former NIDA students are able to access material that would otherwise have been uncatalogued and inaccessible.
Lynne Williams, NIDA Director/CEO commented, ‘There is a long history of volunteering in Australia and many arts organisations would flounder without their volunteers. I hope that our new graduates will find opportunities during their careers to give back to their industry and to their arts communities as Beris has done.’
A renowned figure in the Australian and international arts sector, Robyn Archer AO is a singer, writer, artistic director and public advocate for the arts. Robyn began her career as a performer, and now combines artistic direction with concert performance, strategic advice, mentoring younger artists and artistic directors, guest speaking and writing about the arts across Australia and throughout the world.
In addition to guiding NIDA’s inaugural Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership) course, Robyn is currently Artistic Director of The Light in Winter for Melbourne’s Federation Square, the City of Gold Coast’s Strategic Advisor, Arts and Culture, ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and has recently been re-appointed as Deputy Chair of the Australia Council.
In her address to Australia’s next generation of creative leaders, Robyn commented:
‘Surely it can’t be long before this dream comes true – that Australians recognise that they use the products of artists every day of their lives, and see that the arts are not just the luxury leisure item, not the frill on the frock of life, but the very fabric from which life is woven. ‘You, today, are stepping fully into the kind of work without which twenty-first century life would be untenable. Recognition of that status is worth fighting for, and what a time to take up that fight.’
Photography by Maja Baska.