NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the sacred lands, from the mountains to the sea, on which we learn and tell stories.

The lands of the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

In Conversation series

NIDA's In Conversation series has been taken over by an impressive line-up of curators spanning film, theatre, tv and digital media, assembling a diverse line-up of guests who explore their role in impacting and changing Australian culture through the arts.

Curators include: Multi-award-winning theatre and opera director Imara Savage (St Joan, Top Girls); AACTA Award–winning director and screenwriter Beck Cole (dir. Black ComedyWentworth, co-writer Samson and Delilah); playwright, screenwriter and multidisciplinary Thai-Australian artist Anchuli Felicia King (White Pearl); director, playwright and dramaturge Tasnim Hossain (ABC TV’s Carpark Clubbing); actor and one of Casting Guild of Australia’s Rising Stars of 2020 Bridie McKim (Bump, The Heights); and director and actor Darren Yap, whose 2020 directing credits alone include Joseph and His Amazing Dream Coat (C.A.T and Shinjuku Productions in Tokyo), Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam (Belvoir St Theatre), Double Delicious (Contemporary Asian Australian Performance/Sydney Festival), and Next to Normal (NIDA graduation season).

Scroll down to discover our impressive lineup of previous guests.

Previous guests

Emily Dash hosted by Bridie McKim - Thursday 2 December 2021

Writer, actor, producer and speaker Emily Dash joins us In Conversation with actor, series curator and NIDA alumna Bridie McKim (Acting, 2018).

Tune in as Bridie chats to Emily about her involvement in performance, writing and theatre-making, her upcoming projects, and what drew her to working in screen.

On the eve of International Day of People With a Disability, Bridie and Emily will also discuss how the arts and entertainment industry is incorporating inclusive practice and showcasing more disabled stories as well as what the industry could be doing to better support disabled artists.

Osama Sami hosted by Tasnim Hossain - Thursday 28 October 2021

We were so excited to welcome award-winning actor, writer, director, poet, and stand-up comedian Osamah Sami In Conversation with Tasnim Hossain.

Osamah is the star and writer behind the hit Australian film Ali’s Wedding (Netflix), which has received numerous awards and accolades. On stage, he has performed in over two dozen productions across half a dozen countries. His memoir Good Muslim Boy was published by Hardie Grant in 2015 to critical acclaim.

Angus Cerini hosted by Imara Savage - Thursday 14 October 2021

This In Conversation invited multi-award-winning writer, performer and theatre-maker, Angus Cerini (Wonnangatta, The Bleeding Tree, Resplendence) and was hosted by theatre and opera director, series curator and NIDA alumna Imara Savage (Directing, 2008).

Angus Cerini’s plays have been produced by companies including Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Arena Theatre Company, and widely within the independent sector. He is the Patrick White Playwrights Fellow and is currently under commission by Sydney Theatre Company to write a new play.

Anne-Louise Sarks hosted by Tasnim Hossain - Thursday 23 September 2021

We were so excited to welcome internationally acclaimed director, writer and dramaturg Anne-Louise Sarks (incoming Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company) In Conversation with director, playwright, screenwriter and series curator Tasnim Hossain.

Catch up on an enlightening chat about Anne-Louise's incredible body of work, the importance of building and maintaining relationships in the arts, what she's excited for in her new role at MTC and her vision for Australian theatre over the next few years.

Sue Giles hosted by Tasnim Hossain - Thursday 9 September 2021

We were thrilled to welcome award-winning theatremaker, Sue Giles AM (Artistic Director/co-CEO of Polyglot Theatre and President of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People), to our In Conversation with playwright, screenwriter, director and series curator, Tasnim Hossain.

Tasnim chats to Sue about her work making theatre for young audiences (TYA) and the role of design in creating immersive theatre. They also discuss Sue's work with ASSITEJ in Australia and internationally, how TYA in Australia compares to TYA internationally and the impact of the pandemic on the sector, both locally and abroad.

David Finnigan hosted by Tasnim Hossain - Thursday 26 August 2021

Award-winning playwright, David Finnigan, joined host and series curator, Tasnim Hossain, for an exciting discussion on David's career and ongoing work with research scientists to produce theatre about climate and global change.

David is a playwright from Ngunnawal country in Australia. In 2017, his playscript Kill Climate Deniers was awarded the Griffin Playwrights Award: it has since been produced in more than 10 cities worldwide. David’s solo show You’re Safe Til 2024 was performed at the Sydney Opera House in 2019. In 2021, he was awarded Melbourne's Green Room Award for Best New Writing for Are You Ready To Take The Law Into Your Own Hands.

David is a Churchill Fellow, an associate of interactive theatre company Coney in the UK and the Sipat Lawin Ensemble in the Philippines.

Brian Quirt hosted by Tasnim Hossain - Thursday 12 August 2021

We were thrilled to welcome dramaturg, playwright, director, and theatre-maker Brian Quirt for this In Conversation, hosted by playwright, screenwriter, director and series curator Tasnim Hossain.

Brian is the founder and Artistic Director of Nightswimming, a dramaturgical company based in Toronto, and Director of the Banff Centre Playwrights Lab. With Nightswimming he has commissioned and developed 35 new works, created ten of his own plays, and directed the premieres and national tours of many Nightswimming productions including new works by Anita Majumdar, Carmen Aguirre, Anosh Irani, Judith Thompson, Michael Redhill, Jason Sherman, and Jane Urquhart.

Nightswimming’s initiatives include Pure Research, dedicated to innovative performance research, and 5x25, a national commissioning project for artists born in 1995, the year of Nightswimming’s first production. For more info, visit

David Henry Hwang hosted by Anchuli Felicia King – Thursday 29 July 2021

Internationally acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, television writer and the most-produced living American opera librettist, David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, ChinglishYellow Face) is hosted by screenwriter, artist and series curator Anchuli Felicia King (White PearlGolden ShieldSlaughterhouse) for an inspiring conversation about David's career and influence, the recurrent themes of identity, Asian-American relations and activism in his work, and his advice for theatre-makers and artists in a post-pandemic world.

Anthea Williams hosted by Bridie McKim – Thursday 1 July 2021

Anthea Williams is an award-winning theatre and film director. She is a Churchill Fellow and develops theatre and screenplays. Anthea’s short film Safety Net was part of the official selection for the Sydney Film and Slamdance Festivals and was shortlisted for the New Zealand International Film Festival’s Best Short Award. A feature film of this concept is currently in development with funding from Screen NSW.

Bridie graduated from NIDA in 2018 and at the same time became the first disabled actor to play a lead role on Australian television as Sabine in two seasons of The Heights, produced by Matchbox Pictures for the ABC. Bridie has also made guest appearances in the Stan original series Bump, as well as Dive Club, which is due to air on Netflix this year. At the start of 2021, Bridie played the role of Anya, in the Black Swan State Theatre Company’s production of The Cherry Orchard.

Callum Francis and Chloe Zuel, hosted by Imara Savage – Thursday 3 June 2021

We were thrilled to welcome two team members of We The Industry Inc., Callum Francis (Lola in Kinky Boots) and Chloé Zuel (Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton), hosted by Imara Savage. We The Industry Inc. was established in 2020 to create greater representation and inclusion within the Australian theatre industry.

Julio Himede, hosted by Darren Yap – Thursday 20 May 2021

An In Conversation featuring Design alumnus Julio Himede, founder of Yellow Studio in New York City specialised in production design, creative direction and art direction for television and live events – curated by director and actor Darren Yap (Next to Normal for NIDA, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat for CAT productions in Tokyo, the re-mount of Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam at Belvoir and National Theatre of Parramatta and Double delicious for Contemporary Asian Australian Performance and The Sydney Festival, to name a few).

Tasnim Hossain, hosted by David Berthold – Thursday 6 May 2021

A playwright and a dramaturg, Tasnim most recently directed Yellow Face at Kings Cross Theatre (Dinosaurus Productions) and Sydney Theatre Company’s Rough Draft #49 – Garage Sale. She was assistant director on Banging Denmark (STC) and The House at Boundary Road, Liverpool (Bontom).

Anchuli Felicia King, hosted by Imara Savage – Thursday 22 April 2021

Multi-award-winning former Sydney Theatre Company Resident Director Imara Savage (St JoanTop GirlsAfter DinnerMr Burns) interviews playwright/screenwriter and multidisciplinary Thai-Australian artist Anchuli Felicia King, best known for her international playwrighting debut White Pearl, satire at its sharpest’, on toxic corporate culture, casual racism and pan-Asian relations.

Jeffrey Seller – Wednesday 24 March 2021

On Wednesday 24 March, we were thrilled to welcome ‘the CEO of Hamilton Inc.’ (New York Times), lead producer Jeffrey Seller, for an exclusive In Conversation in the NIDA Playhouse with NIDA Director in Residence David Berthold. Jeffrey is the winner of four Tony-Awards for Best Musical, for Hamilton (2016), Rent (1996) – both of which also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama – Avenue Q (2004), and In the Heights (2008). He is also credited with the invention of Broadway’s first ever rush or lottery ticket policy early in the production of Rent.

Shari Sebbens and Bridie McKim – Thursday 3 December 2020

Actor Bridie McKim (Acting 2018) and actor/director Shari Sebbens (Acting 2009) joined us for a talk on Thursday, 3 December 2020. Among other projects, audiences will recognise both actors from series one and two of ABC's The Heights, the second series of which concluded on 1 October 2020.

Shari is a proud Bardi, Jabirr-Jabirr woman born and raised in Darwin. At 19 Shari was one of ten young artists chosen for “SPARK”, the Australia Council for the Arts first theatre mentorship program. In 2006 she was accepted into Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) where she completed the certificate 3 course in Aboriginal Theatre. At the end of the year she was accepted into NIDA, graduating in 2009.

For Sydney Theatre Company, Shari has appeared in The Battle of Waterloo directed by Sarah Goodes, Black is the New White (2017 & 2018 return season) directed by Paige Rattray, The Bleeding Tree (Griffin Theatre's production presented at STC) directed by Lee Lewis and A Cheery Soul (2018) directed by Kip Williams. Other roles include A Hoax for La Boite/Griffin Theatre; Radiance and Back to the Dojo for Belvoir Theatre; and Octoroon for Queensland Theatre Company. Shari is a proud and passionate advocate for Indigenous theatre especially the development of new and contemporary works.

In 2011 Shari was cast in her first film role of Kay in The Sapphires. TV appearances include Redfern Now, The Gods Of Wheat Street and 8MMM Aboriginal Radio for ABC; Warwick Thornton’s feature The Darkside; the web-series Soul Mates; Foxtel's first feature Australia Day; Matchbox Pictures The Heights; comedy The Let Down 2; and feature Top End Wedding. Other film appearances include Thor: Ragnarok and the lead in Teenage Kicks. Shari is the recipient of the Graham Kennedy Logie Award for Outstanding New Talent (2012) and Sydney Theatre Company's 2019 Richard Wherrett  Fellow for emerging directors.

Bridie McKim graduated from NIDA in 2018 and at the same time became the first disabled actor to play a lead role on Australian television as Sabine in two seasons of the drama The Heights, produced by Matchbox Pictures for the ABC.

Bridie’s other screen credits include the comedy web series All We Have Is Now, Laura Nagy and Daniel Monks’ short film Bodies, and the multi-award winning short film Gimpsey, directed by Sofya Gollan, for which Bridie won the Award of Merit for a Lead Actress in the Best Shorts Competition as well as a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the Madrid International Film Festival. In 2019 Bridie starred in Fat Salmon Production's short film, Cinderella, for which she won Best Australian Actor at the Focus On Ability Short Film Festival.

Bridie’s theatre credits include The School Girl in Downstairs Belvoir’s production Tuesday, as well as This Hollow CrownFace itNot Our Story and Saison de L’amour all for the Queensland Theatre Youth Ensemble. In 2020,
due to the pandemic delaying its stage production, Bridie completed an online workshop of The Cherry Orchard in the role of Anya, for the Black Swan Theatre Company of Western Australia.

Bridie was also recognised in 2020 by the Casting Guild of Australia as one of the Rising Stars of 2020, an annual list of 10 actors with the potential to break out on the world stage.


Andrew Bovell – Thursday 19 November 2020

Playwright Andrew Bovell and NIDA actors Alex Stamell and Thomas Dawson joined us Thursday, 19 November 2020 for a
conversation about NIDA's recent production of When the Rain Stops Falling.

Andrew Bovell is one of Australia’s most respected and successful playwrights. His work has been produced extensively throughout Australia and internationally.

His most recent work for stage, Anthem premiered at the Melbourne Festival in 2019 with a subsequent season at Sydney Festival 2020.

Things I Know to Be True premiered in Adelaide in 2013 in a co-production between The State Theatre Company and the UK’s Frantic Assembly. The production opened in London at the Lyric Hammersmith in September before touring the UK.  It returned to the Lyric Hammersmith and an extensive
UK tour in 2017/2018. A new production opened at Belvoir St Theatre in 2019. Andrew is currently adapting the play for TV with Amazon Studios and Blossom Films, starring Nicole Kidman.

The Secret River premiered at the Roslyn Packer Theatre in the 2013 Sydney Festival. When the Rain Stops Falling premiered at the 2008 Adelaide Festival of the Arts before touring nationally and internationally and going on to win numerous awards.

Earlier works for the stage include Holy Day, Who's Afraid of the Working Class, Speaking in Tongues, Scenes from a Separation, Ship of Fools, After Dinner, The Ballad of Lois Ryan and State of Defense. After Dinner received new productions with Sydney Theatre Company
in 2015 and State Theatre Company of South Australia in 2018.

For film he is currently adapting the American novel Stoner, by John Williams for Blumhouse Productions and the Sebastian Barry novel Days Without End for producer Tessa Ross. Other films include Edge of Darkness, Blessed, The Book of Revelation, Head  On, Lust, The Fisherman's Wake, Piccolo Mondo, Strictly Ballroom,
the multi-award winning Lantana, the French language In the Shadow of Iris directed by Jalil Lespert and A Most Wanted Man starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams.

Darren Gilshenan and Roger Pulvers – Thursday 5 November 2020

NIDA alumnus, actor, and director Darren Gilshenan chats with acclaimed author, playwright, and director Roger Pulvers on Thursday, 6 November.

Gilshenan’s acting theatre credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Ensemble Theatre), Strictly Ballroom (directed by Baz Luhrmann) Mother and Son national tour (Mother and Son Live P/L) and Tartuffe (Black Swan Theatre Company); Elling, Don Parties On (MTC); Machu Picchu, Fool’s Island, Loot and Our Town (STC). His recent television credits include Harrow co-starring Ioan Gruffudd, Here Come the Habibs 1&2, The Moodys 1&2, Rake 3, Janet King and Top of the Lake.

Pulvers has published more than fifty books in Japanese and English, including novels such as Star Sand, Liv, Half of Each Other, Peaceful Circumstances, and The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn, and two memoirs, The Unmaking of an American and My Japan. In 2017 the feature film of Star Sand, written and directed by him, had wide release throughout Japan.

Their paths crossed again in 2020 for NIDA’s October Season of Student Productions, for which Gilshenan directed Pulver’s translation and adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector.

Beck Cole and Liz Hughes – Thursday 22 October 2020

On Thursday, 22 October writer/director Beck Cole joing NIDA CEO for a conversation..

Hailing from Alice Springs, Beck Cole has worked in most corners of Australia, writing and directing a wide range of drama and documentary projects. She’s just wrapped on the final season of Wentworth and previously directed Between Two Worlds for the Seven Network, Mustangs FCThe Warriors and Redfern Now for the ABC and SBS children’s series Grace Beside Me. She  wrote two episodes and voice directed all 13 episodes of the children’s
animation series Big J and Little Cuz, wrote for the miniseries The Circuit and directed on three series of the ABC’s Black Comedy, which won a 2015 AACTA award for Best Direction in a Light Entertainment or Reality Series.  Her debut feature Here I Am
was released in 2011 and won the ImagineNative Film & Media Arts Festival Jury Award for Best Dramatic Feature.

Beck wrote and directed Making Samson and Delilah, the cheeky little sister of the feature film and was a director on the acclaimed SBS history series First Australians: The untold story of Australia. Beck has written and directed several short films, two of which premiered at the Sundance Film festival; Flat
in 2004 and Plains Empty in 2005. Flat also screened at Edinburgh. Beck again won the Jury Award at ImagineNative for Best Short Documentary for Wirriya (Small Boy). She was featured as one of seven filmmakers (including Jackie Chan and Apichatpong Weerasethakul) in the 5th
Asia‐Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). She is currently writing on several TV series and developing her next feature film.

S. Shakthidharan and Courtney Stewart – Thursday 1 October 2020

On Thursday, 1 October 2020, writer, director and producer of theatre and film, and composer of original music S. Shakthidharan actor and director and dramaturg Courtney Stewart joined us for a conversation.

Shakthi is a western Sydney storyteller with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. He’s a writer, director and producer of theatre and film, and composer of original music. His debut play Counting and Cracking (Belvoir and Co-Curious) received community, commercial and critical acclaim at the 2019 Sydney and Adelaide Festivals. The script won the Victorian Premier’s Literature Prize and the NSW Premier’s Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting; the production won seven Helpmann Awards and three Sydney Theatre Awards. Shakthi has a new commission with Sydney Festival, a number of new plays in development with Belvoir and a feature film in development with Felix Media. He's the Artistic Director of Kurinji and Artistic Lead at Co-Curious. Co-Curious is a sister company to award-winning community arts company CuriousWorks, where Shakthi was the Founder and Artistic Director from 2003-2018. Shakthi was the inaugural Carriageworks Associate Artist, is currently a Belvoir Associate Artist and is a recipient of both the Phillip Parson’s and Kirk Robson awards.

Courtney Stewart is an actor, director, dancer and teaching artist. She has worked with Sydney Theatre Company, La Boite, Belvoir, Queensland Theatre Company, Imaginary Theatre, ATYP and LATT’s children’s theatre company in South Korea. Her performance credits are extensive and she recently worked on White Pearl for STC as a Dramaturg. Courtney is a participant of the current CAAP Directors Initiative with the STC, a member of the MEAA  and is the Chair of the Equity Diversity Committee and a delegate to the National Performer’s Committee.

Daniel Monks and Bridie McKim – Thursday 24 September 2020

On Thursday, 24 September 2020, actor and filmmaker Daniel Monks and actor Bridie McKim had an engaging conversation about acting, disability and more.

Daniel Monks was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Feature Film at the 2018 Australian Academy of Cinema & Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, and Best Male Actor in a Play at the 2018 Helpmann Awards & the 2018 Green Room Awards. He was a finalist for the 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship and was nominated for Best Actor at the 2016 WA Screen Awards. In 2015, he received the Arts & Fashion Award at the NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards, and he was awarded the Young Filmmaker of the Year at the 2014 WA Screen Awards. He was named the Best Theatre Actor at the 2019 Monsta Awards, and was nominated for Best Actor in a Play at the 2019 BAL Awards.

In 2020, he will be playing Konstantin opposite Emilia Clarke as Nina & Indira Varma as Arkadina in Chekhov's The Seagull on the West End, directed by Jamie Lloyd and adapted by Anya Reiss. In 2019, he played the lead in Teenage Dick by Mike Lew at the Donmar Warehouse in London, directed by Michael Longhurst as part of his debut season as Artistic Director. He also starred in Sydney Theatre Company's production of Lord of the Flies alongside Mia Wasikowska and Eliza Scanlen, directed by Kip Williams. In 2019, he also guest starred in Sister Pictures & BBC One's The Split and BBC One's Silent Witness.

In 2017, he starred in the title role in Malthouse Theatre's production of The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man, directed by Matthew Lutton and written by Tom Wright. He also played the lead in the World Premiere of Are We Awake? at the Old Fitz Theatre, directed by Sean Hawkins and written by Charles O'Grady, which he reprised at the Kings Cross Theatre for Sydney Mardi Gras 2018. His previous stage work includes Felix Turner in Australian Marriage Equality's Staged Reading of The Normal Heart at the Darlinghurst Theatre in 2017, the title role in Orpheus with Lies, Lies & Propaganda and Suspicious Woman Productions in 2016, and The Kings Collective's The Wonderful World of Dissocia in 2015.

In 2016, he completed his first feature film Pulse, which he wrote and edited, was the lead actor and one of the key producers. The film had its International Premiere at the Busan International Film Festival 2017, where it won the Flash Forward Busan Bank award - the first Australian film to do so. It also screened at the Sydney Film Festival 2017 as part of their Screenability program, was the Centrepiece film for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2017, and screened at the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival 2018. It was selected as one of the "12 Best Queer Films of 2017" by SBS, and won the Best Australian Independent Film Peer Award at the Gold Coast Film Festival 2018.

His short films have screened around the world at more than 50 film festivals, including three at Palm Springs International ShortFest. His shorts have received such awards as the Jury Prize at the San Francisco International Short Film Festival and the Celluloid Casserole award for Best Short Film at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

He was accepted into Screen NSW's inaugural Screenability internship program as a screenwriter, and co-wrote the short film Bodies with filmmaker Laura Nagy, which was funded by Screen NSW's Generator: Emerging Filmmaker's Fund. He was also granted Create NSW Screenability Short Film funding for his short film Broken, which Daniel wrote, produced & acted in, and screened at the Sydney Film Festival 2018.

He is a graduate of the Australian Film, Television & Radio School (AFTRS), & PAC Screen Workshops where he received the award for Consistent Excellence. He has trained as an actor with Elizabeth Kemp, Jeneffa Soldatic, Larry Moss, Benjamin Mathews & Lynette Sheldon, amongst others.

He played the title role in The Farm & co3's production of Frank Enstein in 2017, directed by Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood, which premiered at Gold Coast's Bleach Festival 2017, and toured to Perth's State Theatre Centre WA. He also starred as one of the core lead cast-members on the children's television program Go Happy Feet!, produced by Sandbox productions.

He was a recipient of an Amplify your Art grant through Accessible Arts in 2014, which enabled him to be mentored in dance by Philip Channells and Dance Integrated Australia. He is a performing artist with Murmuration Dance Theatre, and in 2015 began development on the Bowerbirds dance duet film with Dan Daw, directed and choreographed by Sarah-Vyne Vassallo. In 2016, he was invited by Accessible Arts to speak about his work & career at the Arts Activated conference.

In 2016, he became an Ambassador for the Starlight Children's Foundation, and in 2018 he was named the Ambassador for the "Evolution to Inclusion" Float at the 40th Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, for People with Disabilities Australia, Northcott, Cerebral Palsy Alliance & the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Bridie McKim graduated from NIDA in 2018 and at the same time became the first disabled actor to play a lead role on Australian television as Sabine in two seasons of the drama The Heights, produced by Matchbox Pictures for the ABC.

Bridie’s other screen credits include the comedy web series All We Have Is Now, Laura Nagy and Daniel Monks’ short film Bodies, and the multi-award winning short film Gimpsey, directed by Sofya Gollan, for which Bridie won the Award of Merit for a Lead Actress in the Best Shorts Competition as well as a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the Madrid International Film Festival. In 2019 Bridie starred in Fat Salmon Production's short film, Cinderella, for which she won Best Australian Actor at the Focus On Ability Short Film Festival.

Bridie’s theatre credits include The School Girl in Downstairs Belvoir’s production Tuesday, as well as This Hollow Crown, Face it, Not Our Story and Saison de L’amour all for the Queensland Theatre Youth Ensemble. This year, due to the pandemic delaying its stage production, Bridie completed an online workshop of The Cherry Orchard in the role of Anya, for the Black Swan Theatre Company of Western Australia.

Darren Yap and Anneke Harrison – Thursday 27 August 2020

On 27 August, director and actor Darren Yap chatted with writer Anneke Harrison for the In Conversation series.

In 2020 Darren recently directed Joseph and His Amazing Dream Coat in Tokyo, the remount of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam for National Theatre of Parramatta at Belvoir Street Theatre and Merrigong Theatre, and Double Delicious for The Sydney Festival and CAAP. He performed as the Sultan in Disney’s Aladdin touring New Zealand, Adelaide and Singapore. Other productions he has directed include the world premiere of The Great Wall, for Glowstick Productions in Singapore; Miracle City for Hayes Theatre and Theatre Division at the Opera House; the national tour of A Murder is Announced for  Louise Withers and Associates, Letters to Lindy for Merrigong Theatre; Ghost the Musical for Toho productions in Tokyo; Diving for Pearls and Ladies Day for Griffin Theatre; The Serpent's Table (co-directed with Lee Lewis) for CAAP and Sydney Festival. He is currently in development of a new opera for Opera Queensland and La Boite scheduled for September 2021. Darren’s large-scale events and stage musicals include; Associate Director for The 2019 Abu Dhabi National Day and Betty Productions UK; Artistic Director for The City of Sydney Chinese New Year Parade for two years; Segment Director for The Closing Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games in Qatar; Artistic Consultant on the Opening of The National Gallery of Singapore. Associate Director for Kong Kong for Global Creatures, The Cairo Pre-Show Celebrations for World Events; Miss Saigon 2007-2014 (Australia, Japan, Korea, Amsterdam, West End) and Mamma Mia 10th Anniversary Australian Tour 2009. Darren won the Broadway Regional Award for Best Director of a Play: Diving for Pearls and also was nominated for Miracle City for best outstanding main stage production in 2017.

Anneke has worked in theatre professionally in the UK, Australia and internationally for over 35 years. Her career has spanned a range of theatre genres including drama, opera, musical theatre and dance. In 2018 she took a break from full-time work to concentrate on her interest in writing.
Whilst at NIDA, she worked on two stage plays, a short radio drama and developed an idea for a screenplay. She made the short film Reverse Quartet, as involved with the devised production Fireside for Midnight  Feast at the Sydney Opera House and has enjoyed collaborating on many projects with her student colleagues. Anneke is a 2019 graduate of NIDA's MFA (Writing for Performance).

Anna Tregloan and Marion Potts – Thursday 13 August 2020

Anna is a multi-award winning artist, designer and creative producer who collaborates with major cultural institutions and an array of smaller and independent companies, galleries and artists. She creates beautiful, innovative and intriguing environments to explore complex ideas and has an extensive  history in contemporary performance, dance, physical theatre, opera, live-art, exhibition design, participatory events and immersive installations. She has a Masters in Animateuring from VCA, University of Melbourne. Anna is also a member of the NIDA Board of Directors and NIDA Academic Board.

Marion joined the Performing Lines team in October 2017 as Executive Producer. She has held prominent roles at Malthouse Theatre (Artistic Director/CEO), Sydney Theatre Company (Resident Director) and Bell Shakespeare (Associate Artistic Director). She was Director of Theatre – Australia Council for  the Arts from 2015-17. Marion has also worked as a practicing director with over 50 production credits for most of Australia’s major theatre companies and holds a Helpmann Award for best direction of a play. She has always maintained a strong connection with the small-to-medium sector both as a freelance  artist and Board member: she was a founding directorate member of Hothouse Theatre (Albury-Wodonga) and Chair of World Interplay (Townsville), as well as a Board member of Griffin Theatre, Windmill Theatre, Playworks and Curator of the National Playwrights Conference – all companies representing diverse  scales of operation, governance needs, producing complexities and audience expectations.

Sean Stewart – Thursday 30 July 2020

One of the most influential digital storytellers in the world, Sean Stewart pioneered the field that became alternate reality games (ARG). He is renowned for using transmedia storytelling to create worldwide pop culture phenomena, such as his legendary work in the launch of Microsoft’s Halo 2 with ilovebees, Steven Spielberg’s A.I.: Artificial Intelligence with The Beast, and Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero.

A Primetime Emmy Award-winning storyteller, Sean is also creating Roundabout, an interactive farce for the digital age, to headline the National Institute of Dramatic Art’s Digital Theatre Festival.

Robyn Nevin AO – Thursday 23 July 2020

Robyn Nevin AO has been an actress for nearly 60 years, graduating from NIDA in 1960. She has also been a director for stage and screen and a theatre producer, running two state theatre companies as Artistic Director and CEO.

Robyn has played leading roles at all of Australia’s major theatre companies, in London's West End and the US, including Carnegie Hall in New York. Her many memorable roles include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Miss Docker in Patrick White’s A Cheery Soul, Maria Callas in Masterclass, Hecuba in Barrie Kosky's Women of Troy, Mary Tyrone in Long Days Journey Into Night (opposite William Hurt), Joan Didion's one woman play, The Year of Magical Thinking. She recently won another Helpmann award for her work in Angels in America for Company B. Through 2016 and 2017 Robyn toured with My Fair Lady, directed by Julie Andrews, playing Mrs. Higgins.

Robyn has appeared in many of Australia’s most important films and telefilms, including The Eye of the Storm with Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling, The Castle, Emerald City, Careful He Might Hear You, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Caddie. She also appeared in the highly successful Matrix films, in several seasons of Halifax, Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, co-starring with Elisabeth Moss and David Wenham. Robyn also starred in the award-winning television series Water Under the Bridge, and alongside Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in the short film Reunion, directed by Simon Stone.

Tommy Murphy, hosted by Helen Dallimore – Thursday 16 July 2020

Helen Dallimore talks with award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tommy Murphy. His most recent stage play was Packer & Sons which closed in January after breaking box office records at Belvoir. Another recent work, Mark Colvin’s Kidney is currently in development for a screen adaptation. Murphy’s earlier stage adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s memoirs, Holding The Man, is regularly produced around the world with recent productions in Florence, Chicago, Nashville and London. His screenplay for Holding the Man, for which he was Associate Producer, won the Australian Writers’ Guild Award and the Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay. Netflix distributes the film globally. The stage play Holding the Man started at Griffin, directed by Murphy’s regular collaborator David Berthold, before transferring multiple times across Australia culminating in a West End production. It won multiple awards including the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, the Australian Writers’ Guild Award and the Philip Parsons Award.

Tommy was the youngest and only dual winner in consecutive years of the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, having won for Strangers in Between at Griffin in 2005. Strangers in Between was revived in Melbourne, Sydney and on London’s West End in 2018. Tommy’s adaptation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding formed part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. His play Gwen in Purgatory (Belvoir/La Boite) won the WA Premier’s Award and the Richard Burton Prize. His other plays include Troy’s House (Old Fitz/ATYP) and an adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Massacre at Paris (ATYP). He is a graduate of NIDA’s directing course, a former president of SUDS and a Patrick White Fellow at Sydney Theatre Company. Tommy is currently developing a series with Fremantle Media having been on the writing teams for Foxtel’s Fighting Season (Goalpost Pictures) and Devil’s Playground (winner of the 2015 Logie for Most Outstanding Miniseries and AACTA Award for Best Miniseries). He is also under commission from the Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir. In 2020 he received the national theatre prize from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Nancy Denis, hosted by Dr Jessica Olivieri – Thursday 2 July 2020

Nancy Denis is a Haitian-Australian artist.  She has worked across stage, television and film including roles in The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe directed by Ros Horin, One the Bear for La Boite Theatre Company, Belvoir’s Sami In Paradise directed by Eamon Flack, ABC TV’s Clevermen and feature films The Great Gatsby (dir. Baz Luhrmann) and Truth (dir. James Vanderbilt).In 2017 she performed in Urban Theatre Project's (UTP) production Home Country in Blacktown. The following year she undertook a residency with the company with collaborator Kween G. Later that year, she was a featured artist in UTP’s festival Right Here. Right Now. In 2019, she was invited by the company to develop M’ap Boule - her first solo show. This is highly personal work told through original song, poetry and spoken word.

Working on the Darug, Gadigal, Kulin and Palawa nations, Dr Jessica Olivieri is the Artistic Director of UTP, an organisation with intersectionality at its heart. Her practice as an artist and curator sits at the intersection of visual art, performance, dance and theatre. Her specific areas of interest include accessibility to the arts for all, the intersection of queer, feminist and POC thinking, and working models with communities that address collaboration. Olivieri undertook her undergraduate degree at University of Western Sydney and completed a PhD at Sydney College of the Arts on the politics of cross disciplinary work in community settings, she also have an extensive exhibition history both nationally and internationally. She is also an instructor for NIDA's MFA (Cultural Leadership) program.

Leticia Cáceres – Thursday 9 July 2020

Leticia Cáceres has been lauded as "one of the most electrifying directors in this country". As a theatre maker, Leticia has directed for most mainstage theatre companies in Australia and her work has toured nationally and internationally. Her productions have received Helpmanns, Green Rooms, Matildas, Drama Victoria and Sydney Theatre Awards. Leticia was Associate Director for Melbourne Theatre Company from 2013 to 2015, Artistic Director of Tantrum Youth Theatre from 2006 to 2008, and Associate Director for Queensland Theatre between 2003 and 2005. As a filmmaker Leticia’s short films have been screened in numerous Oscars qualifying festivals around Australia and have won awards overseas. In late 2020, Leticia is directing her first block of television series, produced by Rough Diamond, staring Claudia Karvan and distributed through Stan.

Alice Babidge – Thursday 18 June 2020

Alice Babidge (Design, 2004) designs costumes in film and television and set and costumes in theatre and opera.

Her feature film credits include upcoming Netflix film The Dig, True History of the Kelly Gang, Holding the Man and Snowtown. Short films include Reunion, Eaglehawk, Red, Apricot, Castor and Pollux and Some Static Started. She also costumed designed the MTV drama pilot Hammer Bay, and has designed music video clips for The Mess Hall, You Am I, The Vines and End of Fashion, fashion shoots, magazine covers and TVCs.

Theatre highlights include Sydney Theatre Company’s production of The Present, which transferred to Broadway at the Barrymore Theatre in 2017, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Yerma, both with the Young Vic. Yerma transferred to the West End and Broadway in 2018. Alice designed set and costume for STC's The Maids, which premiered at New York's Lincoln Centre Festival in August 2014. Alice previously designed the costumes for Gross Und Klein in 2011, and in 2009 the costumes for the 4-part adaptation of The War of the Roses staged at the Sydney and Perth International Art Festivals. In 2006 she costume-designed Barrie Kosky’s eight hour epic The Lost Echo.

Alice’s opera credits include La Traviata at Paris Opera and Ballet in 2019; Hotel Strindberg for Burgtheater Vienna (Set and Costume); Hamlet at Glyndebourne Festival (Costume); Peer Gynt at Deutches SchauSpielHaus Hamburg, The Ring Cycle at Opera Australia (Costume); Caligula, The Return of Ulysses (Costume, Eno) and The Marriage of Figaro (Costume) and Bliss (Costume, Opera Australia Sydney/Melbourne/ Edinburgh Festival Seasons).

Alice graduated from the NIDA Design Course in 2004 and was Associate Artist at Sydney Theatre Company. Gross Und Klein won best costume at 2011 Sydney Theatre Awards and The Lost Echo and Capricornia were nominated for Best Costumes at the 2007 Sydney Theatre Awards. Alice and the company won a special OBIE award for Yerma on Broadway and Alice won the 2018 Nestroy Award for Best Set & Costume Design for Hotel Strindberg.

Peter Sellars – Thursday 11 June 2020

Peter Sellars is one of the key figures of world performing arts of the last 40 years. As an opera, theatre, and festival director he is renowned for groundbreaking work with an extraordinary range of creative artists, illuminating many contemporary social and political issues. His transformations of Bach, Mozart, Handel, Shakespeare and Sophocles are legendary – made with the world’s best orchestras and companies – and he has also brought many 20th century and contemporary operas to the stage, including works by John Adams (Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer and more), Olivier Messiaen, Paul Hindemith, and György Ligeti. He has regularly worked across cultures.

Sellars is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of World Arts and Culture at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he teaches Art as Social Action and Art as Moral Action. He was a mentor for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture and the Gish Prize. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize and named Artist of the Year by Musical America.

The talk was hosted by NIDA Director of Creative Practices David Berthold.

Kate Mulvany OAM – Thursday 4 June 2020

Kate talked with NIDA Director of Creative Practices David Berthold, sharing insights from her prolific and award-winning career as a playwright, screenwriter and actor.

Currently in the Amazon Prime series Hunters as Sister Harriet opposite Al Pacino, Kate’s film career spans roles in the AACTA-nominated The Little Death and The Merger and in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and in Griff the Invisible.

Audiences are still talking about her breathtaking performance as Richard in Richard III for Bell Shakespeare in 2017, which won her a Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor, and her one-person play Every Brilliant Thing for Belvoir in 2019.  

Her tenacious creativity has seen her write The Seed, currently being adapted into a series, The Danger Age, The Web, Masquerade, the musical Somewhere with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, Medea, co-written with Anne-Louise Sarks, the stage adaptation of Craig Silvey’s award-winning Jasper Jones, and her acclaimed and award-winning stage adaption of Ruth Park’s epic The Harp in the South trilogy for Sydney Theatre Company.

Kate’s determination and hardworking ethic has been celebrated in episodes of Australian Story, 7:30 Report and One Plus One.

Sally Riley, hosted by Kyas Hepworth – Thursday 28 May 2020

Industry powerhouse and proud Wiradjuri woman, Sally’s  influence has seen both the rise of high-end Australian television finding success on the international stage (Stateless, Mystery Road) and the rise of groundbreaking Indigenous-led content (Cleverman, Redfern Now, Black Comedy). Sally is a 1993 NIDA Directing alumna.

Many of Sally’s commissions have created history. Stateless and Mystery Road were the only two Australian series selected for the Berlin Film Festival’s inaugural and prestigious television biennale. Redfern Now was the first series to be commissioned, written, acted and produced by Indigenous Australians.

As Head of Scripted at the ABC, Sally is responsible for the development and production of all drama, comedy and Indigenous programs. Last year was another resounding victory for Sally and her team, with Total Control winning Best Drama Series at the AACTA Awards and The Letdown winning Best Comedy, for the second year in a row.

The talk is hosted by Kyas Hepworth (nee Sherriff), a Cisgender Bundjalung woman who has spent her career in the  Screen and Creative Arts space. Currently the Senior Commissioning Editor at NITV/SBS, Kyas was previously AFTRS Head of Indigenous.

Annette Shun Wah, hosted by Courtney Stewart – Thursday 21 May 2020

Influential theatre and television producer, AFI Award-nominated actor, director and executive producer of Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, Annette Shun Wah, talks with actor, director and dramaturg Courtney Stewart.

Annette’s career has spanned traditional broadcast to live performance to digital media. From triple j and ABC Radio Australia, Annette went on to produce and present television programs for the ABC TV + iview and SBS Australia, such as The Noise, Eat Carpet, Imagine, Studio 22, Media Dimensions and The Movie Show.

In the field of live performance, Annette has co-directed storytelling shows for Performance 4a and Contemporary Asian Australian Performance, alongside storyteller and photographer William Yang. These have included Stories Then & Now, Who Speaks For Me, The Backstories and they co-dramaturged In Between Two.

In 2014, Annette co-devised one of the sold-out highlights of Sydney Festival 2014, the food/performance event The Serpent's Table – co-produced with Griffin Theatre Company. She repeated this success with a new version of the show Double Delicious, which premiered at Sydney Festival and Asia TOPA this year.

As an actor, Annette was nominated for an AFI Award for her role in Floating Life (dir. Clara Law), Australia’s first foreign language feature nominee in the Academy Awards.

In the field of digital media, Annette is the writer and director of mobile phone app and website, China Heart, which combines drama, oral history and game playing. Recently Annette was appointed Artistic Director of the annual multi-arts festival OzAsia Festival.

Courtney Stewart is an actor, director, dancer and teaching artist. She has worked with Sydney Theatre Company, La Boite, Belvoir, Queensland Theatre Company, Imaginary Theatre, ATYP and LATT’s children’s theatre company in South Korea. Her performance credits are extensive and she recently worked on White Pearl for STC as a Dramaturg. Courtney is a participant of the current CAAP Directors Initiative with the STC, a member of the MEAA  and is the Chair of the Equity Diversity Committee and a delegate to the National Performer’s Committee.

Shannon Murphy – Thursday 14 May 2020

Hailed by Variety as one of 10 directors to watch in 2020, please join us for a very special In Conversation with multi-award-winning film, television and theatre director and NIDA Alumna Shannon Murphy.

After an award-winning career in theatre and having established herself in television, Shannon’s debut feature film Babyteeth (2019) earned her accolades around the world. Starring Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis and Eliza Scanlen, Babyteeth competed at Venice Film Festival in 2019 where it was nominated for the Golden Lion – one of only two films directed by women in competition that year.

Babyteeth went on to win the Teen Jury Award (Luxembourg City Film Festival), Directors to Watch (Palm Springs International Film Festival), People's Choice Award (Pingyao International Film Festival), New Directors Competition (São Paulo International Film Festival) and Special Mention (Zurich Film Festival), as well as many nominations.

Prior to this Shannon had established herself as a television director, with episodes of Killing Eve (2020), Rake (2018) and more to her name, and a strong career in theatre, having been Director-in-Residence at Griffin Theatre Company, Emerging Artist at Virginia Stage Company, recipient of the 2010 Mike Walsh Fellowship, and a Sydney Theatre Award Winner.

Hosted by NIDA’s Director Centre for Creative Practices, David Berthold

Joel Edgerton – Thursday 7 May 2020

One of Australia’s most lauded actors and filmmakers, Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior, Midnight Special, Loving, Star Wars: Episodes II and III, The Secret Life of Us) talked with NIDA’s Director Centre for Creative Practices, David Berthold on 7 May, 2020.

Joel shared insights from his multi-award-winning creative work life, as a writer and director (The Gift and Boy Erased) and as an actor, which has seen him recognised with multiple AFI Awards, AACTA Awards, Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, a Golden Globe nomination and many more.

His next project is a feature film, The Unknown Man, which he produces and co-stars in, and will shoot in South Australia.

Essie Davis and Justin Kurzel – Thursday 30 April 2020

On 30 April, 2020, NIDA’s Director Centre for Creative Practices, David Berthold talked with multi-award-winning creative duo, director Justin Kurzel (True History of the Kelly Gang, The Snowtown Murders, Shantaram, Assassin's Creed) and actor Essie Davis (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, The Babadook, Game of Thrones).

Justin (Design, 1995) and Essie (Acting, 1992) shared insights from their latest projects and creative work life, which has included coveted wins at Cannes Film Festival and the Laurence Olivier Awards.

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