NIDA, long-considered Australia's leading training ground for actors, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with some public reflections on it's heritage, including a segment on last Sunday's edition of 60 Minutes.
The National Institute of Dramatic Art has often been recognised for the success of graduates such as Judy Davis, Mel Gibson and director Baz Luhrmann, who have found international acclaim. However, both the performing and technical talent to emerge from NIDA have formed a backbone for the performing arts in Australia over the last 40 years. Local actors Robyn Nevin, Garry McDonald and Wendy Hughes are among the many who have developed their craft at NIDA.
What was once housed in a series of tin sheds and huts in 1958 is now a $7 million complex, but although recent years have seen greater respect for the performing arts as a profession, NIDA is also faced with new competition such as the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Evidence of NIDA's reputation may be found in the fact that 1,800 people applied last year for only 60 placements. In an industry famed for its levels on unemployment, NIDA can claim over 80% of its graduates are working in the entertainment industry.
--By Russel Watson