Our mission at Perform Australia is to launch passion-driven actors.
We seek to find those performers who can unite their passion for the performing arts with hard work and focus. Our job is to help them springboard into performance. Into joy. Into a career.
Sometimes those actors start out as small children, while others discover their love of theatre and film much later in life. Whichever you are, we are ready to help you launch - through actor training, classes, workshops and performances.
Passion - we encourage passion for mastering the art and craft of performance. It's not just the final product, it's the journey towards excellence which is also important.
Community - We nurture a diverse artistic community, providing an experience of belonging and creative exploration.
Generosity - of mind, of spirit, of time. We foster a community of generosity in learning and creativity. Our teachers and tutors are generous in sharing their wisdom and knowledge with our students.
Industry - Passion alone is not enough to achieve dreams and goals. All artists need industry - an approach to their work which involves hard work, determination and dedication to see their task through to completion.
Story - Actors, writers, artists, dancers, singers, musicians and directors are all storytellers in their own way. Stories are how we understand the world and ourselves; story is essential to interpreting our past and making our future. We aim to liberate storytellers to tell stories that matter. Actors can be culture-makers and culture changers, and this is an important role in society.
Today, Perform Australia trains and supports over 800 students on a weekly basis in three different states. In addition to our regular student programs in the dramatic arts, we also perform commissioned works, provide casting and agency services, and operate corporate training programs.
But it wasn't always that way.
It began with an idea: a "what if?"
James Scott had spent many years based in Sydney as an actor, and on moving to Canberra with his wife Elizabeth Avery Scott, noticed that university courses in performance there were in decline. There were no official, accredited acting courses as could be found interstate. And without local training courses, young actors with potential to become professional were leaving the city to study elsewhere. Once they left, they often didn't come back.
And so the idea came: What if the talent drain could be stopped - or even reversed? What if a lively professional scene could be reestablished in Canberra, as there reputedly was during the 1980s? - and not just on stage, but also on screen? What if it could start with the children, teaching them and exposing them to all the wonders the dramatic arts have to offer? What if children everywhere grew up appreciating the arts, participating in them, and what if the best and brightest could be mentored to pursue careers as actors?
That seed of an idea became Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art in 2009. Together with his wife, Elizabeth Avery Scott - a writer and entrepreneur - James founded the school. The vision? To build a generation of performers through a sense of self and story.
Barely two years later, in 2011, the company's innovation was recognised at the Canberra Business Point Awards, with Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art taking the cake in the 'Creative & Design Section'. The following year, CADA was again a stand-out contender for the award, winning the same award in the same section a second time. CADA's key innovations were the development and launch of Canberra's first accredited professional actor training training programs in the vocational education sector.
In 2013, further accolades came for when Elizabeth, now the company's managing director, was declared a finalist in the ACT in the Telstra Business Women awards. Needless to say, with the passage of time, it was not only the owners winning awards: many of the school's students and graduates won awards as actors, directors and writers, in festivals like Short + Sweet, Lights Canberra Action!, the Canberra Short Film Festival, and many others. Others received recognition from the Canberra Critics Circle for outstanding performances. And in addition to alumni making headway in the industry, several of the school's child actors have had roles in TV series and commercials, government and corporate videos, and film.
Then, Brisbane called. In 2017 Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art acquired the Australian School of Performing Arts, Film and Television (ASPAFTV), which served not only Brissie, but the Sunshine Coast and parts of the Gold Coast. Founded by Amanda Hardwick and Renata Einhaus, ASPAFTV offered high quality actor training programs to children aged 7-17, with a special emphasis on screen, and demonstrated a very similar ethos and approach to our school in Canberra. They were a perfect match. In merging the two schools at the end of 2018, a new, united school was born: Perform Australia.
2017 also saw the school partner with Palm Tree Studios, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, and Drama Works Academy of Performing Arts, also in Brisbane in the delivery of some of our accredited courses, which began to reach whole new audiences.
Perform Australia's headquarters are today located in the nation's capital, with a central base in Fyshwick, where we have several training rooms, a dance studio, a screen studio and a multipurpose room set up as a theatre. Many of our programs are run from this location, including our full-time acting courses and our Thrive program for young people.
Our Brisbane acting classes continue at venues around the city and beyond it, empowering young people through participation in dramatic art.
Along the way we have gathered a team of wonderful teaching artists who are not only dedicated to their art form, but are also dedicated to sharing it with others. Our community of students and teachers is what makes our school what it is today.
Perform Australia bears this proud history and in its own way will forge new paths into the future.