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.

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NIDA welcomes enthusiastic new students and Course Leader, Design for Performance

Photo: Maja Baska

NIDA opened its doors to a new cohort of bright and enthusiastic students for the 2021 academic year at Orientation Week. In amongst the new faces, NIDA welcomed leading production designer Bob Cousins as Course Leader, Design for Performance.

New students were welcomed across all the full-time Bachelor’s degrees in Acting, Costume, Design for Performance, Properties and Objects (props), Scenic Construction and Technologies, and Technical Theatre and Stage Management, Master’s degrees in Cultural Leadership, Directing and Writing for Performance and diploma courses in Musical Theatre and Stage and Screen Performance, with Live Production and Technical Services and Specialist Make-up Services courses commencing in April.

NIDA CEO Liz Hughes opened the event by welcoming Aunty Lola Ryan, from the historic La Perouse Aboriginal community in Sydney, who formally welcomed the school to Country.

Photo: Maja Baska

In addressing the students and staff, Liz Hughes said, 'At NIDA, you will experience a practice-based creative education which is closely engaged with, and aligned to, the performing arts industries. Empowered through exactly this type of education, NIDA and its stellar alumni have played a pivotal role in shaping Australia’s cultural life, impacting the global industry as well as creating and bringing to life our stories.

'As was evidenced in 2020, we are in an era of disruption, which provides both challenges and exciting opportunities for performing arts practices to invent new experiences and platforms for audiences. As many of you did last year, I urge all of you to take what you learn, be curious, be bold, and be courageous and to create the future of performing arts.'

Photo: Maja Baska

A master at unleashing the power and beauty of live theatre and film design, Bob Cousins is a practising artist who will oversee NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Art course in Design for Performance, in which students learn design, costume design, props and lighting design for live and film productions.

Asked why he has chosen to teach at NIDA at this time, Bob said that ‘I’m a theatre and film designer as much by accident as having followed a traditional pathway.  I am hoping that the collective imagination, enthusiasm and energy of the students across the whole school will give me an education that I never had.’

Cousins’ designs have inspired audiences from his extensive productions in Hamburg, Zurich, Salzburg, London, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Bogata, Berlin, Taipai, Dublin, Utrecht, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vienna and Montreal.

Young designers at NIDA will benefit from his wealth of experience and creative partnerships with the world’s outstanding ensembles, including designing opera sets for Lear and Médée for Salzburg Festspiele; Der Ring der Nibelungen for Opera Australia and Opéra National de Paris. (Read more about Bob Cousins here)

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