In Conversation online

On 30 April 2020 we launched a series of weekly online In Conversation behind-the-scenes talks with a range of amazing artists, livestreamed on our Facebook page every Thursday at lunch time. Click below to watch videos of previous talks.

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To access the live stream, log in to your Facebook account, visit the NIDA Facebook page and access the live stream from 1.05pm.

Latest guest

Sean Stewart – Thursday 30 July

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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