Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Presented by: Dr Chris Hay

Date: Friday 25 March 2022
Time: 12–1pm
Location: (Hybrid) in-person in the SCA Writer's Studio (Level 6, Michie Building) and Online via Zoom 


Abstract

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the establishment of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) on the campus of the University of New South Wales in 1958 marked the beginning of institutional actor training in Australia. Even the multiple distractions on this path – the last-minute renaming, the relocation from Melbourne to Sydney – are oft-cited. But like all origin myths, the fabled story of NIDA’s foundation has grown in stature to obscure the false starts, unrealised proposals, and “performance nonevents” (in Pannill Camp’s evocative phrase) that pre-date it. 

Indeed, in August 1947, the University of Melbourne officially approved the development of a Diploma of Dramatic Art. The Diploma was a truly unusual development for the time, as the Board of Studies mandated the inclusion of practical work in speech training, movement and mime, and acting. The University’s courses in Dramatic Art, though, never came to fruition; its novelty may well have been its downfall. In this paper, I will use the unrealised Dramatic Art model at the University of Melbourne to complicate the pre-history of institutional actor training in Australia. 


Presenter

Chris Hay is an ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Theatre History in the School of Communication & Arts at the University of Queensland. Chris’s research into the history of Australian training has appeared in Australasian Drama StudiesAbout Performance, the Journal of Australian Studies, and Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, for which he recently edited a Special Issue on Performer Training in Australia (vol. 12, no. 3, 2021).


 

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series

 


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 11 March
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Tuning In with the Stethoscope in the Nineteenth CenturyDr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham)

Friday, 25 March
12-1pm

Hybrid

Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 8 April
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

Invention and reinvention in the landscape symbolism of Joachim PatinirMichael Levy

Friday, 29 April
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

Negotiating balance of cultures among Chinese Australians to facilitate ageing well

A/Prof Shuang Liu

Friday, 13 May
12-1pm

Hybrid

Redefining crisis in museums: insider’s perspectives on digital engagement

Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June
12-1pm

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A journey through the Australian environmental movement ecosystem

Dr Robyn Gulliver

Friday, 10 June
12-1pm

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan