National Institute of Dramatic Art

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National Institute of
Dramatic Art
Established 1958
Location Kensington , New South Wales , Australia (Map )
33°54′57″S151°13′31″E / 33.9158°S 151.2252°E / -33.9158; 151.2252 Coordinates: 33°54′57″S151°13′31″E / 33.9158°S 151.2252°E / -33.9158; 151.2252
Campus Urban
National Insititute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) logo.jpg

The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) is an Australian national education and training institute for students in the performing arts. Since 1958, NIDA has educated students in performance and production for theatre, film and television. It offers programs ranging from degrees to public short courses, including holiday programs and corporate training.


In 2018, NIDA was ranked as the 10th best drama school in the world by The Hollywood Reporter . [1]

<i>The Hollywood Reporter</i> American magazine and website focusing on the Hollywood entertainment industry

The Hollywood Reporter (THR) is an American digital and print magazine, and website, which focuses on the Hollywood film, television, and entertainment industries. It was founded in 1930 as a daily trade paper, and in 2010 switched to a weekly large-format print magazine with a revamped website.

NIDA's main campus is based in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, located adjacent to the University of New South Wales, and is made up of a range of rehearsal and performance venues. NIDA is affiliated with the University of New South Wales.

Kensington, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Kensington is a suburb in south-eastern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 6 kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area (LGA) of the City of Randwick, in the Eastern Suburbs region. Colloquially, Kensington is referred to as "Kenso".

University of New South Wales Australian university

The University of New South Wales is an Australian public research university located in the Sydney suburb of Kensington. UNSW is a top-tier university in Australia as a member of the Australian ‘Group of Eight’. Out of all Australian universities, UNSW attracts the highest number of smart Australian students. UNSW is highly regarded for its Law, Business and Science/ Engineering Schools, where for Law, Accounting and Finance, and Civil Engineering, it is ranked among the top 15 schools globally in the QS World University Rankings. Established in 1949, it is ranked 4th in Australia, 45th in the world, and 2nd in New South Wales according to the 2018 QS World University Rankings.

NIDA receives funding from the Australian Government through the Minister for the Arts, Attorney-General's Department and is a member of the "Australian Roundtable for Arts Training Excellence (Arts8):" [2] an initiative between the national performing arts training organisations and the Australian Government providing training for emerging artists.

The Australian Minister for the Arts is responsible for creative industries and culture. Senator Mitch Fifield served as Arts Minister from 2015 until 2018, following criticism of the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull. His position was renewed under Scott Morrison on August 26th 2018


National Institute of Dramatic Art theatre Nida dusk.jpg
National Institute of Dramatic Art theatre
The National Institute of Dramatic Art complex with interior neon lights Nida sunset.jpg
The National Institute of Dramatic Art complex with interior neon lights

Founded in 1958, NIDA commenced acting classes in 1959. More than 50 years later, NIDA has grown to approximately 232 full-time students annually, approximately 70 full-time staff members.


Entry to NIDA's higher education courses is highly competitive, with approximately 5,000 applicants from around the country competing for an annual offering of approximately 75 places across undergraduate and graduate disciplines. The student body for these courses totalled 199 in 2014.


NIDA is located on Anzac Parade in the Sydney suburb of Kensington, across the road from the University of New South Wales. The campus was first opened in 1987, followed by additional buildings opened in 2001, which were awarded the 2002 Sir John Sulman Medal for public architecture.

Anzac Parade, Sydney road in Sydney

Anzac Parade is a major road in the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia. It included part of the marathon during the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the blue line denoting the marathon's path still exists today.

Sir John Sulman Medal

The Sir John Sulman Medal is an architectural prize presented by the New South Wales chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects since 1932. The medal is sometimes referred to as the Sulman Award and now recognises excellence in public and commercial buildings in either New South Wales or in the Australian Capital Territory. Before the advent of the Wilkinson Award it was on occasions presented to domestic projects.


NIDA has five theatres. [3] The largest of these is the Parade Theatre offering seating for audiences of up to 707 people in its three-tiered, horseshoe-shaped auditorium. The Playhouse, Studio Theatre, the Space and the Atrium offer a variety of flexible performance spaces.


The Rodney Seaborn Library is a specialist library for NIDA students, graduates and staff and is also open to the general public by appointment. Created in 1980.

The NIDA Archives collects, organises and preserves archival records created by or relating to NIDA.

Other facilities

The NIDA campus includes rehearsal rooms, multi-media and computer-aided design (CAD) studios, a sound stage, a lighting studio, production workshops, audio-visual facilities, and the Reg Grundy Studio film and television training and production facility.


Graduates from the National Institute of Dramatic Art include:


Cate Blanchett Australian actress

Catherine Elise Blanchett, is an Australian actress and theatre director. She has received many accolades, including two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and three BAFTA Awards. Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2007, and in 2018, she was ranked among the highest-paid actresses in the world.

Order of Australia series of Australian national honours

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens received British honours.

Grant Bowler New Zealand–Australian actor

Grant Bowler is a New Zealand-born Australian actor who has worked in American, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian film, television, and theatre.





In 2012, former NIDA board member and Liberal senator Chris Puplick, who had served on the board from 1994 to 2000 [4] and 2007 to 2010, [5] wrote an essay titled "Changing Times at NIDA" which was published in the October issue of the publication Platform Papers. In the essay, Puplick criticised the teaching standards of the school and its director and chief executive, Lynne Williams, stating that she has had no significant experience in theatre to head the school and that her style was "Thatcherite". [6] Soon after Puplick's statements were reported, chairman of NIDA's board, Malcolm Long, and Lynne Williams replied back to the comments, with Long stating that Williams had the complete support of the board and described Puplick as "an apparently disaffected former board member." Williams had defended herself stating her management style was not "Thatcherite". Long also mentioned that amongst Williams' supporters were Cate Blanchett and Ralph Myers. [7] Supporting Puplick were actor, director and a graduate of the school Jeremy Sims, who had launched the essay, [8] and Kevin Jackson, who had taught acting at the school for 27 years. [7]

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  1. "The Old Globe and University of San Diego - The 25 Best Drama Schools for an Acting Degree, Ranked". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-08-05.
  2. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (15 September 2008). "Arts training bodies". Archived from the original on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2008.
  4. Taylor, Andrew (19 September 2012). "New drama playing in the wings". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  5. Eltham, Ben (21 September 2012). "NIDA dramatics ignore play on arts education". Crikey . Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  6. Taylor, Andrew (17 September 2012). "Drama at NIDA: former board member slams falling standards". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  7. 1 2 Taylor, Andrew (19 September 2012). "Act II of NIDA drama as bosses hit back". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  8. "The NIDA controversy". Radio National. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2017.