NIDA takes the campus to the students in its first Virtual Open Day

From live panel talks, video tours and Q&A sessions with alumni, NIDA is inviting future artists to a unique Virtual Open Day experience.
NIDA takes the campus to the students in its first Virtual Open Day

NIDA’s in pool (no water) (2019). Sound Design Jennifer Jackson, Video Design Susie Henderson, Lighting Design Wun Zee, Production Stage Mgr Mitchell Marinac, Deputy Stage Mgr Daniel Herten & Ass Stage Mgr Kaitlyn Crocker.

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Andrea Simpson

Thursday 21 May, 2020

This year the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) is eliminating geographical barriers by inviting potential students to attend its first-ever Virtual Open Day via Zoom, NIDA’s website and social media channels.

Anyone keen to learn performing arts disciplines will be able to take part in the online Open Day from anywhere across Australia.

‘We’re finding different ways to communicate with our potential students,’ Graham Henstock, NIDA’s Director Centre for Technology, Production and Management told ArtsHub.

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‘The current situation has definitely made us think about how we use online platforms to better help people engage with and give access to NIDA.’

NIDA has a reputation for innovative education and training in the dramatic arts, and offers graduate courses, undergraduate courses, and vocational diploma courses in a wide range of artistic disciplines.

Henstock reported that, ‘Our graduates go out and become the backbone of the industry in many ways, and they end up in all sorts of interesting corners of the industry.’

In an inventive role reversal, Henstock said the team at NIDA were excited to bring the school to the students. ‘There are things that are going to be easier in fact to show to students digitally. So it'll be a very different experience to what would have happened if we'd been on campus.’

Completely interactive, NIDA has planned online classes and open Q&A sessions so students can receive real-time information. ‘There will be video walkthroughs and there will be course talks where we will be talking about each individual course,’ Henstock noted.

‘Each course will also be hosting an alumni panel. It will involve prominent alumni from the course come back and talk about how the course contributed to their training, and into their careers,’ Henstock said.

‘There will also be live chats where people can ask any question they've got about the course and we'll do our best to answer simply and honestly.’

Virtual Open Day will allow students to envision their future careers. ‘This will help prospective students get a sense of how and where we might take them, and what their careers might look like once they leave NIDA.’

Career sustainability into the future

As students explore potential pathways, career sustainability is an important concern. NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre and Stage Management (TTSM) has now become an integral part of training for live production.

‘The TTSM course has quite astounding employment outcomes, which is something that many people aren't aware of,’ Henstock told ArtsHub.

Conducting surveys yearly is an important step for NIDA to better understand the arts industry for their students.

In analysing the data, Henstock said: ‘We have been looking at where our graduates are, and what we found is that, even going back 20 years, by far the majority of our graduates are still working in the industry and successfully making careers.’

Henstock noticed that TTSM graduates, ‘went into the industry … and they stayed in there for lifelong careers. That was really interesting to me, to see career sustainability, but also the longevity of careers; that was really critical.’

This year NIDA’s Virtual Open Day will take place completely online with activities spreading across four days from Wednesday 17 June through to Saturday 20 June. 

Watch live talks, join NIDA’s tours of classrooms and campus, and get a glimpse of never-seen-before videos of student projects, or talk with prominent alumni about how the course contributed to their career.

Register online to NIDA’s Virtual Open Day. Master of Fine Arts (postgraduate) activities from Wed 17–Fri 19 Jun. Bachelor or Fine Arts (undergraduate) and Vocational (VET) Studies activities on Sat 20 Jun.

About the author

Andrea Simpson is ArtsHub's Feature Writer and Reviews Editor. Andrea is a Filipino-Australian writer with a love for diverse Australian stories. She is curious about all forms of art, though she has an especially keen interest in the publishing sector.

Andrea has had short stories published in various anthologies, and is currently working on her first novel.  

You can follow Andrea on Instagram @andi_jayyy