It’s been another successful year for the country’s premier drama schools, at least measured by the number of actor graduates that have signed with Australian talent agents.
All 22 graduates of NIDA’s acting class have secured representation. The VCA had 24 graduate actors, of whom all but one has signed with agents. That actor is still negotiating while heading home to the US.
The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) graduated 17 actors. Sixteen have found agents and the other had a final interview on Thursday and was hopeful of doing a deal soon afterwards.
"At the NIDA Showcase in early November, it was fantastic to introduce the NIDA graduating class of actors to the best agents in town,” Di Drew, the school’s Head of Film and Television, tells IF.
“Within three weeks, every graduate from the 2013 acting class had an agent. This year's graduates are very prepared and industry ready, with a strong body of work in both stage and screen. So it's exciting and rewarding to see them embark on their professional careers, guided by agents who know with confidence that these actors are equipped to work across the spectrum of the industry."
Associate Professor Andrew Lewis, Program Director – Performance at WAAPA, says, “We had an exceptional group of acting graduates this year. Having said this, we have greatly strengthened the screen component of our Bachelor in Acting degree. We now conduct screen acting classes all through the three years. We also have a great alliance with the WA Screen Academy. This year we made ten short films as well as the acting show reels. “
Melanie Beddie, Lecturer in Theatre at VCA, noted some students signed with agents in the first few days of graduating while others took a few weeks to go to meetings and find the agency which felt like a good match for them. “These figures represent how savvy and industry-ready the graduates are as they seek out representation which supports their artistic and career goals,” Beddie adds.
The Kubler Auckland Agency was among the most receptive, taking on VCA grads Sam Duncan, Daniel Last, James Cook and Rory Godbold and WAAPA’s Oscar Harris.
Morrissey Management Group signed WAAPA’s Sam Delich and Grace Smibert, NIDA’s Troy Honeysett, Rupert Raineri and Joel Jackson, and QUT’s Melina Vidler. Mark Morrissey says, “Troy caught our eye early on at his time studying in NIDA and we couldn't wait to see how he developed as an actor. With a previous professional dance background Troy has developed his acting skills with determination and discipline. Straight into call-backs for a major TV role and international feature film, Troy is already creating great interest from casting.
“Rupert was a standout at the NIDA Showcase with a commanding presence on stage as well as onscreen. Rupert made his debut in short films that received nominations at the Cannes Short Film Festival and Brisbane International Film Festival. An intelligent actor, Rupert has all the qualities of a leading man for work both here and internationally.
“We were immediately excited by Melina's on-screen presence. She’s already being chased by overseas opportunities and we can't wait for this star to rise.”
Morrissey’s colleague Fleur Griffin says, “We were first drawn to Sam Delich because he had this wonderful energy. At 20 he is young to graduate from WAAPA but possesses a great intellect and maturity beyond his years. He was offered a lead role in a production at The Black Swan Theatre Company before he finished drama school, further highlighting his talent and versatility.
“We watched Joel Jackson throughout his three-year NIDA course and witnessed his talent, dedication and commitment to his craft. He has emerged with all the qualities of an Australian leading man.”
Shanahan Management signed NIDA’s Robert Collins, who landed the plum role of Mufasa in Disney’s stage hit The Lion King, plus Flinders University's Sarah Allen and QUT's Nathan Wilson and Emily Gruhl.
United Management is representing WAAPA’s Felix Johnson and Rose Riley. Marquee signed VCA’s Tamara Natt, Jackson Trickett and Emma Smith, NIDA's Matthew Pearce and WAAPA’s James Sweeny.
Linsten Morris Management secured WAAPA’s Bill Thompson. “We did take on a few new clients throughout the year which has filled our quota as such,” says Sarah Linsten. “We took on a lovely NZ actress, Mia Pistorious, who got a role in Wonderland, ex-ICA clients Dee Smart and her daughter Charlie, plus Suzie Mathers, a musical theatre grad from WAAPA who is playing Glinda in Wicked, and 2012 VCA grad Edwina Samuels, who garnered a role in MTC's The Crucible and is about to shoot Wentworth for FremantleMedia and Foxtel.”