Collarts (Australian College of the Arts) has officially opened its School of Performing Arts this week in Melbourne. The launch forms part of the tertiary institutions multi-million-dollar investment in the rebound of Australia’s creative industries, following a period of instability for the Arts.
To offer a unique hands-on experience to students, Collarts has partnered with Theatre Works, one of Australia’s longest-running independent theatres.
Award winning actor, writer, director, and accomplished academic – Dr Jane Montgomery Griffiths has been appointed to lead the School: "Griffiths was Professor of Theatre Practice and Director of Monash University’s Centre for Theatre and Performance (CTP) for nine years, and has taught at Cambridge, Leeds, Melbourne, and La Trobe universities, bringing a track record of world-class experience and industry connections to Collarts. During her time at Monash, CTP became one of the country’s most respected theatre institutions." "Although Government support of creative industries has wavered through COVID-19, Griffiths is confident in the future of Australian theatre, saying has ‘gone all in while others step back. I could not have more faith in our sector, This is such an exciting time for Australian theatre. We are wholeheartedly committed to supporting the industry and fostering exceptional young talent into thriving careers." The School of Performing Arts becomes Collarts’ fourth school, joining Design, Entertainment and Communications. It houses three new bachelor degrees – Acting, Writing & Directing and Stage Management – and a diploma programme which is nested in all three specialties.
It also contains the Southern hemisphere’s only specialist comedy degree, Collarts’ Bachelor of Performing Arts (Comedy) – the only of its kind in Australia. Griffiths: "We have built a truly amazing creative hub, with some of the most experienced and exciting teachers in the industry." Beginning next year, Collarts will partner with Theatre Works, Melbourne’s leading independent theatre producer and venue, giving students the opportunity to undertake internships and performances in the theatre’s mainstage and fringe seasons, and participate in their development programs, such as the She Writes Collective and First Stories Festival.
Dianne Toulson, Executive Director at Theatre Works: "We see this as a strategic investment in the future of the performing arts in this country when it is most needed. As a creative career-focused education provider, Collarts is an organisation that strongly aligns with our values. We share common ground in our independent status, allowing us to be flexible and responsive within our industry." Griffiths: "For prospective students that aren’t sure if a career in theatre is right for them, encourages them to reach out and give it a go. We are a School that values inclusivity, generosity and dedication and we welcome all students you don’t need experience, you don’t need to have studied theatre you just need commitment, openness and a willingness to learn and share your passion for the theatre – that’s what the industry is craving." Watch this space for further updates on this exciting new partnership between Theatre Works and Collarts.