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.


NIDA congratulates the class of 2018, the new ‘citizens of the city of ideas’

Last Sunday (26 May), the National Institute of Dramatic Art officially launched the careers of 158 creative artists at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2018.

Last Sunday (26 May 2019), the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) officially launched the careers of 158 creative artists at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2018.

In the Order of Proceedings, NIDA Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bott AO welcomed the graduating students on behalf of the NIDA Board of Directors, the Academic Board and staff. Alumna Priscilla Jackman (MFA Directing, 2016) delivered an inspirational Occasional Address and graduating BFA (Acting) student Yerin Ha delivered the Graduate Response.

The ceremony included the awarding of an inaugural honorary Master of Fine Arts degree to Brian Thomson AM, the presentation of the Leslie Walford AM Award, the Lynne Williams AM Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Leadership and a musical item by 2019 Diploma of Musical Theatre students.

Photo: Dr Peter Yanada McKenzie (credit: Maja Baska)

Photo: NIDA Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bott AO (credit: Maja Maska)

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

The event began with a Welcome to Bidjigal and Gadigal Country by Dr Peter Yanada McKenzie, an Eora/Anaiwan man of the historicLa Perouse Aboriginal community in Sydney.

Ms Bott opened by stating that, ‘our education is something that is part of us forever, unlike material possessions, positions and titles. The Greek poet, Cavafy, says that with education you become “a citizen of the city of ideas” – a magical place to be.’

She also remarked that in 2018 the students worked with guest artists from Australia and all over the world, including director Oleg Glushkov from the Russian Academy GITIS in Moscow, international director and puppeteer Finn Caldwell from London, directors Anthea Williams, Susanna Dowling, Elsie Edgerton-Till, Kate Gaul, Adam Mitchell, international vocal specialist Nancy Krebs, film and television designer Andrew Chan, award-winning designer James Croke and cinematographer Stuart Edgeworth, Oscar-winning costume designer Tim Chappel and more.

Photo: Alumna Priscilla Jackman (MFA Directing, 2016) (credit: Maja Maska)

Priscilla Jackman, writer, director, dramaturg, lecturer and advocate for innovative arts and theatre practices began her Occasional Address by saying: ‘the one thing that binds most of us in this room, regardless of discipline, is that at some stage in the next year or so, you are likely to have to create new work. You will have to forge opportunities for yourself and you must throw yourselves into the face of utter uncertainty to fulfil your creative potential.’

‘I have had to carve out space and convince companies to take a risk on me and on new work and to believe in my vision of what might be possible. It was the dramaturgical grounding of my NIDA training that has supported the success of my creative process and has given me the confidence and skills base to lead all my projects.’

Jackman encouraged the students to ‘create a community for one another – support the graduates who have gone before you and those to come after you – see each other’s work, support each other on social media, speak with generosity about each other. Artists understand the enormous effort and personal cost that goes into the work we make.’

Photo: Graduating BFA (Acting) student Yerin Ha (credit: Maja Maska)

Graduate Yerin Ha (BFA Acting, 2018) delivered the Graduate Response, saying , ‘I challenge you to think and see this degree as a ticket that will allow you to change the world in the most creative and unimaginable ways. Disrupting the normal and instilling positive change in this industry.’

‘There’s a Japanese method called kintsugi where broken objects are mended by filling the cracks with gold, because the flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history. So don’t hide beneath the cracks. Flaunt them. Own your failures. Own your triumphs. Own your gifts. Own your sexuality and own your ethnicity.’

Photo: Brian Thomson AM (credit: Maja Maska)

Brian Thomson AM was presented with an honorary Master of Fine Arts in acknowledgement of his contribution to shaping the arts in Australia.

Ms Bott commented that, ‘Brian’s designs went on to pioneer global awareness of Australian stage and screen culture. From the original production of The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar to winning a Tony Award for the King and I, and extravaganzas on Sydney Harbour, Brian has been described by authoritative theatre critic Harry Kippax ‘as being among the handful of the world’s greatest theatre designers. Director Jim Sharman says that Brian, “is one of the great stage wizards”.’

Ms Bott said that despite Brian’s exceptional career, he also found time since the late 1990s to teach NIDA Design students and has mentored many into the profession. His loyalty and dedication to NIDA and his nurturing of students past and present has been outstanding.

MFA (Cultural Leadership) Course Leader Karilyn Brown presents the Lynne Williams AM Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Leadership to Samuel Moynihan (credit: Maja Maska)

MFA (Cultural Leadership) Course Leader Karilyn Brown presented the Lynne Williams AM Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Leadership to Samuel Moynihan. Moynihan’s specific interest is in creating works with and for young people developed through his international placement with the Freedom Theatre, a Palestinian community-based theatre and cultural centre in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the West Bank.

The Leslie Walford AM Award was presented by Gary Simpson AM. The award is open to applicants from all undergraduate disciplines at NIDA and was, for the first time in its history, awarded to two winners. Class of 2018 Acting graduates Tim Walker and Chika Ikogwe were presented with the award for their two different projects, which boasted thoughtfully designed plans to build collaborations among emerging artists. One project seeks to elevate young minorities by telling their stories. The other will engage emerging artists, fostering new creative communities and connections. Both projects also aim to engage the large pool of talented NIDA graduates.

Note: Learn more about NIDA BFA and MFA courses at Open Day on Saturday 15 June. Register here:

Gary Simpson AM presents the Leslie Walford AM Award to acting graduates Tim Walker and Chika Ikogwe (credit: Maja Maska)

Photo: NIDA Diploma of Musical Theatre students perform that the Graduation (credit: Maja Maska)

NIDA Graduating Class of 2018

CUA50415 Diploma of Live Production and Technical Services
Jordan Anderson
Courtney-Jane Bell
Natalie Condliffe
Mackenzie Cullimore
Harrison Dow
Peter Howie
Matthew Milne
Adrienne Patterson
Abraham Ramsden
Elly Rickwood
Zachary White
Ash Armitt
Jack Dutson
Sabrina Flower
Lachlan McCorquodale

CUA50213 Diploma of Musical Theatre
Aisha Aidara
Abbey Blackmore
Grace Driscoll
Charles Hollands
Charlotte Lucas
Rachael Mayrick
Callum Mcglinchey
Jade Naidu
Emily Ritchie
Daniel Ross
Tonny Shim
Andrew Waldin
Luke Arthur
Isaac Broadbent
Alexandra Duncan
Jonah Keown-Halley
Blake Lovely
James Macalpine
Calista Nelmes
Talia Sigsworth

CUA51015 Diploma of Screen and Media (Specialist make-up Services)
Breh Abric
Jessica Andrews-Devine
Jenna Berger
Annabel Cameron
Shea Dosiak-Mills
Georgina Gigg
Ciara McCarthy
Emily Selwood
Elizabeth Smith
Eilidh Strachan
Indigo Fisher
Emma Hooley
Melinda Naylor
Polina Pais

10196NAT Diploma of Stage and Screen Performance
Madison Ayton
Oliver Durbidge
Alicia Fox
Regan Grgurovic
Elizabeth Hancock
Ilkay Kemahli
Jack Langford
James Lowther
Eve Madden
Tahlia Merlino
Drew Parker
William Robertson
Brodie Townsend
Skye Williams
Chelsea Yarad
Kaitlyn Elliott
Isabella Schroder
Lucas White-Smith
Jake Woodhead

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting)
Joseph Althouse
Vivienne Awosoga
Laurence Boxhall
Nick Burton
Nyx Calder
Joshua Crane
Daya Czepanski
Danen Engelenberg
Andrew Fraser
Yerin Ha
Chika Ikogwe
Laura Jackson
Emma Kew
Deborah Lee
Heidi May
Tuuli Narkle
Mark Paguio
Jack Richardson
Ned Napier
Timothy Walker
Alexander White
Bridie McKim

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Costume)
Lauren Ballinger
Evangeline Samoilov
Sasha Wisniowski
Natalie Beeson
Marnie Perkins

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)
Kate Beere
Grace Deacon
Aislinn King
Kelsey Lee
Lucy McCulough
Camille Ostrowsky
Olivia Rowlands
Brianna Russell

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Properties and Objects)
Bella Bowman
Luke d’Alessandro
Lewis Dean
Siobhan Earley
Nick Gregson
Jack Pope
Britanny Worboys

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Staging)
Kallan Crosbie

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Theatre and Stage Management)
Imogen Bouchier
Ellen Castles
Josephine Clucas
Ella Griffin
Felix Hauge
Harrison Lowrencev
Aron Murray
Peemawat Poolpol
Corey Potter
Ethan Shepherd
Mattison Tabone
Jared McCulla

Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership)
Jordan Gibbs
Benjamin Greaves
Helen Healy
Ben Hughes
Bernadette Killin
Libby Lincoln
Samuel Moynihan
Louisa Norman
Viviana Sacchero
Mel George

Master of Fine Arts (Design for Performance)
Veronique Benett
Gabrielle Rowe
Emma White
Madeleine Barlow
Rose Montgomery

Master of Fine Arts (Directing)
Tait De Lorenzo
Darcy Green
Samuel Lucas
Claudia Osborne
Riley Spadaro
Christopher Thomson
Mikala Westhall
Ellen Wiltshire
Sam Allen

Master of Fine Arts (Voice)
Nick Curnow

Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance)
Sally Alrich-Smythe
Christopher Edwards
Veronica Flynn
Anneke Harrison
Adam Moulds
Jackson Used
Elliot Vella
Alexandra Bayer
Rebecca Hurd
Oliver Shaw