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'It's a dream come true.' NIDA Open Equity Scholarship winners excited to begin their courses

NIDA Open Equity Scholarships invested over $25,000 across 11 different locations nationally. As the winners begin their courses, they express their delight and excitement.

Photo: Queensland winner, Payge Karavolos-Dymott, from the rural and remote town of Gin Gin. (Image supplied)

Melbourne's Jade Colletti is one of 50 NIDA Open Equity Scholarship winners, and says it's a 'dream come true.' She will undertake a two-day NIDA Open Equity Scholarship involving rigorous screen acting training.

As part of NIDA Open’s ongoing commitment to access and equity, 50 secondary and high school students all over Australia were awarded scholarships to take part in the Spring Holiday Program. The Equity Scholarships invested over $25,000 across 11 different locations nationally.

Born and raised in Canberra, Estella Brown was an eager recipient of NIDA Equity Scholarship. Estella has always been passionate about performing in circus events. She is growing up in a busy family - her sister is a competitive gymnast and her other sister is a competitive rock climber. Even though she is only in Year 9 at high school, Estella has already trained intensely with the amazing Fruit Fly Circus in Albury. Now she's relishing the unique opportunity to train under the NIDA Open program, to expand her stage and screen training as she considers a career in the performing arts.

In Western Australia, Lucy-Anne Codner was one of only two high school students in WA to receive funding to further their careers in performing arts. The 17-year-old has already made a number of independent short films from scratch, including an anime stop-motion, and has drawn hundreds of incredible images, both on paper and digitally - all with a unique Japanese influence. Lucy has also acted as an extra on a number of movies and completed courses at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has performed her own musical numbers.

In Melbourne, Jade Colletti, will undertake a two-day NIDA Open Equity Scholarship involving rigorous screen acting training. Jade is a Year 12 student at Alkira Secondary College Cranbourne North and said it was her 'absolute dream come true' to win the scholarship. 'Acting is my passion … it’s literally my drive in life — it’s what I love. My dream is to become an actor and it would be amazing to be involved in theatre production. This scholarship adds the spark to the dry embers of my already growing infatuation with the dramatic arts.'

In Darwin, O’Loughlin Catholic College Year 11 student Sean Musgrave has been awarded scholarship. Born and raised in Darwin, Sean is a proud Yawuru-Gurindji man keen to learn skills and gain access to the acting course.

In Tasmania, 17-year old Alexander Weeks from Devonport was thrilled to be awarded the scholarship. She has been working hard at her portfolio, and is currently starring as Ariel in the Burnie Musical Society's rendition of the Little Mermaid.

Payge Karavolos-Dymott from the rural and remote town of Gin Gin, was born in the local Bundaberg Hospital. The scholarship gives Payge access to an acting course she would never otherwise have. Payge is looking to expand her acting skills and her top marks at school as she chooses Drama as an elective in her senior school years. Jamelia Barnes from Bundaberg has also been awarded a scholarship and joins Tenae Ghelfi from Far North Queensland, who will travel nearly 100km to attend the NIDA Open workshop.

Scholarships were awarded to students to take part in short courses to develop their creativity in four locations in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Darwin, Canberra and Launceston.

Register your interest in the 2020 NIDA Open scholarship program here.

For more information on NIDA Open, please visit

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