VCA Acting Company 2016 in Much Ado About Nothing. Image: Lachlan Woods.

New direction for Acting and Theatre at the VCA

Aspiring actors and theatre-makers will be offered two new degrees by the Victorian College of the Arts from 2018.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) will replace the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice), providing more thorough and streamlined training in each discipline.

Head of Theatre at the VCA Associate Professor Matt Delbridge said the courses will nurture a new generation of culturally-aware, internationally-focused actors and theatre makers, preparing them for 21st-century careers in the Asia Pacific region across a wide range of stage and screen contexts.

Delbridge, who took up his position as Head of VCA Theatre in 2016, said the new degrees offer a more nuanced, strategic and pragmatic version of the Theatre Practice degree.

“The current degree has aspired to prepare actors for the demands of the screen, main stage productions, and the generation of new work,” he said. “That’s an admirable goal and aspiration, but if we give more time, energy and resources to these two ideas separately, we’ll make much better theatre-makers and much better actors.”

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) will train theatre artists to work across all areas of live performance, including physical theatre, writing, directing and dramaturgy. Third-year students will also have the opportunity to practise in a travelling studio overseas.

“We have really increased the amount of time and resources poured into theatre making” said Delbridge. “It will be the first Theatre course of this type in the conservatoire sector in Australia, and it will be taught by leading practitioners in the field.”

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) will prepare actors for work across all areas of the profession for stage and screen, including animation and gaming.

“Acting is something the VCA has been doing for a very long time and our graduates have had a lot of success,” said Delbridge. “But now, with an invigorated staffing profile and a stronger emphasis on performance for screen, animation and gaming, we are taking a major leap forward. It’s about 21st-Century preparedness.”

New teaching appointments to VCA Theatre include I Putu Budiawan, Senior Lecturer (Acting); Leith McPherson, Senior Lecturer (Voice and Movement); Lyndall Grant, Tutor (Stage Combat); Steph Kehoe, Tutor (Theatre Making); and Chris Kohn, Tutor (Directing).

Ongoing staff in new positions include Sapidah Kian (Lecturer (Acting, Directing), and Rinske Ginsberg, Lecturer (Movement and the Actor’s Body).

For more information on the new courses visit Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre).

Image: VCA Acting Company 2016 in Much Ado About Nothing. Photo: Lachlan Woods.

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