30 years of NIDA public program: storytelling wins hands down over time and technology

NIDA Sam Worthington and Sonia ToddDespite massive changes in broadcast media over 30 years, the fundamentals of storytelling taught in NIDA’s public program of short courses have remained the same. How much has changed in the way the craft of performance making has been taught over 30 years?

“Surprisingly not much! The technology has definitely changed, there is so much access to quality tech in the palm of your hand,” says NIDA’s Director of Public Programs, Tricia Ryan. “Despite the massive changes in media platforms since the 1990s – the boom of YouTube, publishing your own stories on social media – the fundamentals of telling a story and the way we create engaging performances, hasn’t actually changed that much.”

“Authentic stories and solid training methodology are still essential elements of creating engaging performance, no matter the platform used to deliver it! Teaching people the craft of performance and how to tell an interesting story: that’s what will make them last as artists.”

“Performance craft is something you have to thoroughly learn and practice before you can pass it on as a teacher. That’s why we are always so excited to work with people such as Sam Worthington and Sonia Todd, who were emerging artists and NIDA Open teachers in the early 2000s. We are always looking for the new generation of creative artists to teach in our programs,” added Ryan.

Sam is now a Hollywood actor, famous for Avatar and Clash of the Titans, and is just about to star in Sydney Theatre Company’s Appropriate. Sonia is well known to Australian television audiences for her roles in McLeod’s Daughters, Shine, Rescue: The Movie and Rake. She too is back at Sydney Theatre Company in Rules for Living.

NIDA Open continues to work with tutors who are practising artist, for example Georgia Blizzard (The Singapore Grip), Andrea Demetriades (Crownies, Seven Types of Ambiguity, Alex & Eve) and Jack Ellis (A Place to Call Home, Hollow Hands).

“We’re proud too of all NIDA Open students, and excited that people like Eliza Scanlon, Katherine Langford and Oakley Kwon have started their creative journey with us,” said Ms Ryan.

Eliza Scanlon began at NIDA Open’s Youth programs in 2012 and was in 2021 nominated for an AACTA actor for her role in Babyteeth, directed by Shannon Murphy.

Katherine Langford undertook a NIDA Advanced Actors residency in 2015 and was awarded a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, 13 Reasons Why from 2017 to 2018.

Oakley Kwon took part in the NIDA Open Screen Acting Studio in 2017 and was recently nominated for a 2020 AACTA Award for Hungry Ghosts, TV series.

“We’re excited about the next 30 years of sharing professional performance knowledge with young and emerging artist and look forward to welcoming students to the 2021 Summer holiday program in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Ms Ryan.

For more information about NIDA programs, visit: www.open.nida.edu.au for details.

Image: Sam Worthington and Sonia Todd – courtesy of NIDA