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A writer's life after NIDA

What's life like after a Masters of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) at NIDA? Becca Hurd is heading into a theatre season with The Other Side of 25.

What's life like after a Masters of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) at NIDA? Becca Hurd is heading into a theatre season with The Other Side of 25.

Top: Becca Hurd in The Other Wide of 25, written and performed by her. Photo: Jasmin Simmons.
Below: The cast and crew of The Other Side of 25.

What have you been up to since your MFA Writing degree at NIDA?

I started writing The Other Side of 25 while I was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the NIDA writing course this year. It was the perfect creative environment to write in. We were seeing 3-4 shows a day, many of them one-person shows, so I felt quite inspired to write a piece that I could see going up in a Fringe venue like the ones we were watching. We are taking TOSO25 to Adelaide Fringe in a few weeks, with the hopes of going to the Edinburgh Fringe as well. I wrote the show in August 2018, and then worked with our dramaturg (and fellow NIDA writer) Chris Edwards until December 2018, when we finalized a script to head into rehearsals with. I went back home to America for Christmas, and then returned to Sydney in January 2019 for three weeks of rehearsals before heading into our season at the Old 505 Theatre. So post-NIDA has pretty much been eating, breathing, and living all things The Other Side of 25!

The show includes several NIDA alumni, including Chris Edwards, Dramaturg (MFA, Writing for Performance, 2018), Emma White, Designer, (MFA, Design for Performance, 2018), Ellen Wiltshire, Director (MFA Directing, 2018), Thomas De Angelis, Producer (MFA, Writing for Performance, 2016).

What are some of the creative avenues that have opened up for you in your writing?

Stephen Sewell teaches us the "lull", which in simplified terms is a writing exercise where you let everything out onto the page, everything your subconscious is thinking. We're not allowed to edit or read over our work until the very end. It's loosened me up so much as a writer. I tend to be quite a control-freak in everyday life, but the NIDA course with Stephen really helped to open up my creativity and lay down any inhibitions I previously had. After this past year at NIDA, I now have the confidence to call myself a writer, something I used to be quite hesitant about.

How did your degree prepare you for the world of professional writing you are now in?

NIDA introduced me to the Adelaide Fringe (and the world of fringe theatre in general) and all of the opportunities that can come from bringing your show to such a diverse and resourceful hub. So, I decided it'd be beneficial to take TOSO25 to the Adelaide Fringe and I'm very excited about that choice. We leave in a few weeks, I can't wait! The NIDA degree also exposed me to a vast amount of mediums - from screenwriting, to app developing, to devised theatre, etc. I now feel equipped as a writer to work in multiple fields of the entertainment industry. My goals and future outlooks on my life and my career have totally changed since doing this course. I used to see myself as just an actor, or just a comedian. Now I see myself as a content creator. Someone who is in control of her creative path.

Any advice for someone considering the degree?

It can be quite scary to look inward for an entire year - to dig through your brain and your soul and to turn those things into stories. I think it's quite anxiety-provoking. But in the end, it's quite cleansing. This course will give you confidence. This course will give you lifelong friends. And this course will give you professional industry contacts. I've never seen a person care more about their students and their students' lives post-degree than Stephen Sewell does. He's the biggest advocate out there for his writers, and he'll fight for you to succeed.

For more information about the NIDA Masters in Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) and to apply for 2020, go to

The Other Side of 25 was performed in Sydney,  and moves to Adelaide and Melbourne. Check it out on YouTube.

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