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.

dollar-line light

Sam Walsh AO inspires NIDA’s graduating class of 2017

NIDA officially launched the careers of 147 talented creative artists at the graduation ceremony for the class of 2017. Newly-appointed Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts Sam Walsh AO and former NIDA Academic Board member and alumni Alana Valentine each delivered an inspirational Occasional Address to the future creatives.

Sam Walsh AO

Photo: Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts, Sam Walsh AO
View photos from the ceremony

Last Sunday (20 May), the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) officially launched the careers of 147 talented creative artists at the graduation ceremony for the class of 2017. Newly-appointed Chair of the Australia Council for the Arts Sam Walsh AO and former NIDA Academic Board member and alumni Alana Valentine (Playwrights, 1989) each delivered an inspirational Occasional Address to the future creatives.

Filled with excitement, hope and determination, NIDA’s gifted graduates left the building with one of the following degrees: Master of Fine Arts in Design for Performance, Directing, Voice, Cultural Leadership or Writing for Performance; Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, Costume, Design for Performance, Properties and Objects, Staging, or Technical Theatre and Stage Management; the Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services; the Diploma of Musical Theatre; Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance; or the Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services).

The ceremony, led by NIDA Director/CEO Kate Cherry, was an opportunity to celebrate the graduates’ aspirations, imagination, dedication, courage and tenacity.

‘NIDA is proud of its legacy of nearly 60 years of conservatoire education, with artistic practice always at the forefront of everything we do,’ said Cherry, as she listed some of the world’s most successful artists that the graduating cohort had experienced, including NIDA guest artist actor/director Judy Davis, director Priscilla Jackman, performer Robyn Archer AO, international vocal specialist Kristin Linklater, Indigenous theatre director Rhoda Roberts, distinguished Icelandic director, Professor Egill Heiðar Anton Pálsson and mentors Margot Robbie, Tim Minchin and Barry Humphries.’

You have been tested and have risked much. You have developed a core purpose and the ability to work in a team. And you have thrived. Today we celebrate your aspirations, dreams, imagination and courage,’ said Cherry.

Sam Walsh AO spoke about his life in business at Rio Tinto and offered advice to the next generation of artistic practitioners. ‘You must learn to take charge and pursue with energy those things that will help you fulfil your goals. Nobody gets a career break just sitting back and waiting for some miracle to happen. You must create your own opportunities.’

NIDA alumni Alana Valentine spoke passionately to the students about the arts in our society. ‘Whether you are in a tiny little co-op theatre production or in an international blockbuster movie franchise you will be doing the cultural work that feeds our spirits and nurtures our souls. You will be the keepers of our hearts and our hopes and without you we cannot continue to cohere the society in which we live. Without you we will turn on each other, we will not be able to go on unless you give us the joys and rage and insight and pain and perspective that only this new generation can.’

Guest speakers included student Nikita Waldron (Acting, 2017) and actor Jessica Marais (Acting, 2007), nominated for a Gold Logie this year.

Two special awards were presented to high achieving students. The Lynne Williams Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Leadership was presented to Yasmin Masri.

‘The Lynne Williams Award was developed in recognition of the former NIDA CEO’s contribution in developing the graduate school and the MFA Cultural Leadership course,’ said NIDA Director Graduate Studies and Head of Cultural Leadership Associate Professor Cheryl Stock AM.

‘Yasmin Masri is not only outstanding academically but has demonstrated impressive leadership qualities and the capacity to contribute to our cultural future. She will use this award to travel overseas and further her creative and curatorial work in architecture, craft and design.’

The Leslie Walford AM Award was presented to Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume) graduate Kathleen Szabo. ‘Kathleen’s work has always been of the highest standard and she excelled in every area of her course. She was supervisor of two of the biggest productions in her final year and I know she will make the best use of this award,’ said NIDA Head of Costume, Annette Ribbons.

Learn more about NIDA's BFA and MFA courses at Open Day on Saturday 16 June. Register here:

Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership)

Andrew Deusien                                                        
Teik-Kim Pok
Daniel Dunlop                                                            
Katherine Quigley
Yasmin Masry                                                            
Jo Thomas
Mathew Millay                                                            
Andrew Westle

Master of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)

Maya Cranny
Nicholas Fry
Genevieve Graham
Nagham Helou
Patrick Howe
Martin Kinnane
Charlotte Mungomery 
Mathilda Robba

Master of Fine Arts (Directing)

Christopher Bond
Shannan Ely
Alanah Guiry
Sarah Hadley
Rachel Kerry
Andrew McInnes
Matthew Taylor

Master of Fine Arts (Voice)

Nina Allinson
Syaiful Ariffin Bin Abdul Rahman
Samantha Dowdeswell
Odile LeClezio
Robert Marshall
Simon Masterton
Bosilka May

Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance)

Georgina Adamson
Angela Collins
Michael Costi                                                    
Suvi Derkenne
Sarah Odillo Maher                                          
Katherine Sullivan
Hannah Tonks

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting)

Violette Ayad                                                    
Toby Blome
Zelman Cressey-Gladwin                                
Enya Daly
Toby Derrick                                                    
Emily Edwards
Nicholas English                                                
Maryanne Fonceca
Ethan Gibson                                                    
Helia Lalanne Sulak
Lucas Linehan                                                  
Mandela Mathia
Wendy Mocke                                                  
Kurt Ramjan
Christopher Ratcliffe                                        
Laila Rind
Ariadne Sgouros                                               
Jasmin Simmons
Alexander Stylianou                                          
Vaishnavi Suryaprakash
Nikita Waldron                                                  
Dalara Williams
Jeremiah Wray

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume)

Isabella Cannavo
Rachel Cherry
Ella Horsfall
Kathleen Szabo

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)

Christopher Baldwin
Ella Butler
Damien Egan
Kyle Jonsson
Heather Middleton
Gabrielle Rowe
Clare Staunton

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Properties and Objects)

Adelle Kristensen
Savannah Mojidi
Indigo-Rose Redding
Jessie Spencer

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Staging)

Mathew Bruhwiller
Taylor Hill

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Theatre and Stage Management)

Veronique Benett
Brittany Coombs
Lachlan Hogan
William Nelson
Raymond Pittman
Emeline Sandt
Millicent Simes
Dana Spence
Julian Starr

Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services

Jenny Chan
Byron Cleasby
Luke Dang
Milly Herberte
Gabriel Jaworski
Jake Mortimer
Joseph Newton
Holden Osborne-Snell
Krystelle Quartermain
Quinton Rich
Ella Van dam
Rachel Wee

Diploma of Musical Theatre

Brianna Altmann-Bishop
Cara Bessey
Tiegan Denina
Ellis Dolan
Lincoln Elliott
Aaron Gobby
Everett Joy
Jack Keen
Jesse Layt
Olivia McLeod
Billie Miles
Kaitlin Nihill
Chaya Ocampo
Daniel Pryke
Adam Spain-Mostina
Grace Stamnas
Harrison Sweeney
Chemon Theys
Rachel Tunaley
Taylah Wright

Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist Make-up Services)

Sarah Abel                                                        
Cailin Christie
Catherine Coad                                                
Olivia Cooper
Emily Dupriez                                                    
Emily Geyer
Georgia Moroney                                              
Hayley Naude
Tegan Sereno                                                    
Naomi Sharp
Amber Watson                                                 
Olivia Watts
Ellen Whitfeld                                                    
Emelie Woods

Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance

Katerina Dominis                                                
Danielle Graham
Lilly Hatwell                                                        
Emma Haughey
Mia Healey                                                        
Anthony King
Holly Lambert                                                    
Francisco Lopez
Joseph Moore                                                   
Courtney Neville
Peyton Sears                                                      
Emily Shelmerdine
Harrison Stacey                                                
Samuel Tye
Edgidio Valastro

Related News