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.


Vale Christopher Ross-Smith OAM

Christopher Ross-Smith, theatre director, actor and teacher who maintained a lifelong passion for training theatre educators, supporting emerging practitioners and promoting professional work across regional centres, has passed away on 3 August 2021.

Mr Ross-Smith was appointed the first deputy director at NIDA in 1974. During this time, from 1973-78, the Old Tote was the resident theatre company at the Sydney Opera House and at the Parade Theatre. The Old Tote Theatre Company provided opportunities for NIDA students to work with a professional theatre company.

Mr Ross-Smith went on to become the foundation head of the Theatre Studies Department at University of New England.

He was well-known amongst the acting fraternity in Armidale as an actor in Equus, End Game and King Lear.

Mr Ross-Smith was a hands-on supporter of the arts. He helped establish a Cultural Centre in Armidale, and was its first coordinator.

He also founded theArmidillosTheatre Company in 1985, and was part of a group that ran the Armidale Biennial Arts Festival for 10 years from 1978 to 1988.

He directed many plays and following retirement he continued to act and direct. Productions included The Plague and The Moonflower, God’s Drawing Board, Kids Stuff, Walton’s Henry V, Love Letters, Enemy of the People and Under Milkwood.

In 2009 Mr Ross-Smith’s service to the performing arts, and the community of the Armidale region was acknowledged when he received an OAM.

Those looking for more information on Christopher can visit the University of New England website.