Singing Actors at NIDA

NIDA adds a bold new direction to their acclaimed Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting with the introduction of a Singing Actor stream in 2020.
Singing Actors at NIDA

Those who choose to, can engage in discipline-specific training in singing, movement, and dancing. Photo: Maja Baska. 

The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) is Australia’s leading centre for education and training in the performing arts. Its alumni include many of the greats of Australian stage and screen and this year NIDA celebrates its 60th anniversary. Last year NIDA was recognised by Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 10 drama schools in the world. A place in NIDA’s celebrated acting degree is often the first step to a successful career in the performing arts. Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Sheridan, Remi Hii, Rob Collins, and Shari Sebbens are all NIDA graduates.

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In 2020, NIDA is introducing a new Singing Actor stream for students who want to focus on music theatre. All students study the core curriculum of acting, movement, music, and voice together but also engage separately in discipline-specific training in singing, movement, and dance. This enables students to attain the highest level of excellence in acting for stage and screen, musical theatre, or storytelling through song.

‘The techniques of storytelling through song is a skill increasingly in demand for our contemporary theatrical landscape,’ said Andrew Ross, NIDA’s Head of Music at the Centre for Acting and coordinator of the Singing Actor stream.  

‘This new Singing Actor stream highlights and expands aspects of the training for actors who possess a high level of vocal competence. This will enable the students to maintain, enhance, and increase their strong musical skills,’ said Ross.

NIDA has a very successful one-year vocational Diploma in Musical Theatre and previously offered musical theatre training as part of the three-year degree. They are excited to be reintroducing this dedicated stream to the acting degree.

‘Some of our graduates from the earlier musical theatre stream went straight out to the industry in leading roles in major productions such as Kinky Boots and The Book of Mormon,’ said Ross.

‘The new Singing Actor stream gives students an opportunity to engage with rigorous and in-depth training, which will see Australian artists take an even higher profile in the music theatre industry,’ he said.

This dedicated training is not just for actors keen to tread the boards in the latest blockbuster musical. It’s also about equipping students with the skills for innovation and experimentation within an ever-changing performance industry.

‘The musical theatre form is constantly evolving. Not all actors with strong singing skills want to work in the traditional Broadway musical model. We want to provide the industry with actors who have strong ideas and opinions about the direction and forms that musical theatre might take,’ said Ross.

The Singing Actor teaching team at NIDA, led by Andrew Ross, includes many guest directors, choreographers, and musical directors who are leading practitioners in the industry.

‘The performing arts industry needs singing actors that can provide the level of acting required in leading roles. It also needs innovators who have the skills, determination and confidence to devise and produce new forms and tell stories through music in a new way,’ said Ross.          

‘Our graduating actors are strong collaborators capable of generating their own creative opportunities, and can confidently pursue lifelong careers in today’s arts and entertainment industries,’ he said.

Applications are now open for the 2020 intake of NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Acting, a three-year practice-based degree that offers an intensive and immersive experience. Students work together to create, perform, and stage full theatrical productions, films, events and exhibitions. Entry to the course is by audition and applicants can nominate to specialise in the new Singing Actor stream.

‘The first round of auditions is pure acting. Candidates who are successful in the first round will be asked to sing at recall so they can demonstrate their ability to act through song. Candidates are only offered a place at NIDA in the BFA Acting based on their acting. Most actors have other skills so this new stream is just a recognition of that in a musical context,’ said Ross.

To register your interest and find out more go to apply.nida.edu.au.

Diana Carroll

Monday 15 July, 2019

About the author

Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the SMH, the Oz, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.