You've arrived at Perform Australia, your destination studio for acting classes throughout Canberra and Brisbane. So glad to see you!
At Perform Australia, it's all about you - your development as a performer. Your confidence. Your mastery of skills. Your connection to others. Your part in the ensemble. Your engagement with our artistic community.
Whether you're looking for something fun and educational for your child, or you're an aspiring professional actor, at Perform Australia, you'll join a vibrant company of like-minded individuals and passionate teachers. Our job is to build you up - to help you to get to where you want to go.
What we do for you
At Perform Australia, it's all about lighting a spark! Our mission is to launch you as a passion-driven actor with a sense of self and story. Too many of us are tired, anxious and overwhelmed - even kids!
But when you engage with dramatic art, you'll come to life in ways you never thought possible. If you want to find a passion for life, and a passion for the art form, you'll discover it through acting.
At Perform Australia, we make sure you're well-connected to industry - which will not only inspire you, but will also help you in your acting career.
In addition to our permanent staff (below), we regularly invite industry guests to speak or run programs for us. Some of our past guest speakers include these wonderful people from film, theatre, musicals, and television.
William Zappa, a veteran of Australian theatre, film and television, has been our Patron since 2011 and supports the work that we do.
Meet our founders, then click through to meet our team of teaching artists and support staff.
Elizabeth Avery Scott
Co-Founder and CEO
Elizabeth Avery Scott is co-founder and CEO of Perform Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications) from Macquarie University, a Master of Arts Practice (Scriptwriting) from Charles Sturt University, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, and a Graduate Diploma of Relationships Counselling among other qualifications. She is a playwright, producer, teacher, and arts entrepreneur. She was shortlisted for the prestigious Rodney Seaborn Playwrights Award in 2009 for her play, 'Lies, Love and Hitler', and in 2013 was a finalist in the Telstra Businesswoman of the Year awards for her work with Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, Perform Australia's predecessor. Her recent writing credits include 'The Park' (2020), 'Sanity' (2020), 'Chez Francois' (2019), 'All That I Am And All That I Have' (2018), 'The Rational Dress Society And Other Tales' (2017), 'Australurbia' (2016) and 'The Sound of Musicals' (2015, co-written with Glenn Braithwaite). Her work has been performed in Sydney and Canberra and she has also been seen on ABCTV in the series, 'The Boffin, The Builder and the Bombardier', playing the 'Boffin's wife' and in the documentary, 'Building Australia' (Wildbear TV). Her variegated past life was spent in journalism, human rights advocacy, and even massage therapy.
Elizabeth is also a judge on the theatre panel in the Canberra awards, The Ovations.
James Scott is an actor, director and teacher. He is co-founder and Director of Artistic Development at Perform Australia. He holds a Diploma of Performance from the Actors' College of Theatre and Television and a Master of Arts Practice in Acting from Charles Sturt University, as well as a Diploma in Vocational Education and Training. James's performance credits include a wide range of stage and screen projects over more than 25 years of performance. Most recently he has been seen in 'Lies, Love and Hitler' (2010, 2014), 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged' (2015), 'Underneath the Lintel (2015), 'Henry Five' (2016), 'It's A Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play' (2017), 'Mistakes Were Made' (2018), 'The Woman in Black' (2019), 'Danny The Champion Of The World' (2020), 'According to Mark' (2021) and 'Anastasia Krupnik' (2022) - the majority of these with Honest Puck Theatre, a company he founded. He has also recently participated in several play development projects at The Street Theatre, Canberra.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our Commitment To Child Safety
Perform Australia works with children across many of our programs.
Our commitment is to provide a safe space for performing arts education for all children and young people who work with us.
Performing arts training can be challenging emotionally, mentally and physically.
Perform Australia aims to support the wellbeing and safety of all children in its care. In so doing, we will:
Take a proactive approach to child safety
Train staff in their obligations to child safety and protection
Take a child-centred approach to problem-solving issues that affect children's lives
Respect children from different gender identities, and cultural and linguistic backgrounds
Value the feedback of parents and carers
Share information lawfully with other organisations where the safety of children is at risk
Report abuse or neglect promptly to authorities
Create and review policies, procedures, and training on child safety, on a regular basis.
Perform Australia began back in 2009 when actor/director James Scott and his wife, playwright Elizabeth Avery Scott, saw a need for actor training in Canberra. There were no accredited vocational acting courses available in the ACT at that time, and with university drama courses closing down, the Territory's greatest young talents were leaving to study and live interstate. They resolved to create something new, something exciting, and something which would give the people what they wanted: professional actor training qualifications. Thus, Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art (CADA) was born. Together, the Scotts established not only a number of accredited and industry-approved courses under the Australian vocational education system, they also founded numerous after-school drama programs for children.
Accolades came rolling in for the duo's innovation. In 2011, they were recognised by the Canberra Business Point Awards (winning the 'Creative & Design' Category) - and again won in 2012. In 2013, Elizabeth Scott was declared a finalist in the Telstra Business Womens Awards. And in 2019, Perform Australia won the Award for Most Outstanding Performing Arts Organisation in the Local Business Awards (Canberra region). But things didn't stop there.
Reaching interstate began with regional NSW, opening drama classes in Queanbeyan and Yass. But Queensland also called. In 2017 Elizabeth and James purchased the Australian School of Performing Arts, Film and Television (ASPAFTV), a Brisbane-based drama school. Merging Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art and ASPAFTV in 2019, the two schools together became Perform Australia. In 2021, Perform Australia took the reins of Brisbane-based Drama Works Academy of Performing Arts, too, drawing even more students into its family.
Today Perform Australia has its national headquarters in the ACT while also running many classes in the suburbs of Canberra, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and parts of regional NSW.
The Coronavirus pandemic also resulted in the establishment of online classes.
Perform Australia continues to inspire several hundred students and families each year. It is also a proud sponsor of the Best Performance Award at the Lights, Canberra Action! Film Festival.