NIDA Fellowships – Master of Fine Arts, Cultural Leadership


NIDA, National Institute of Dramatic Art, Kensington, Sydney

Always good to have news from Australia’s splendid National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).

Based at Kensington in Sydney, it is continually building upon its significant achievements by providing and maintaining a high level of excellence in both the education, and training of actors for theatre, film and television

With their all-new degree in Master of Fine Arts in Cultural Leadership chaired by Australian singer, writer, stage and director, artistic director, and public advocate of the arts Robyn Archer AO, offered through NIDA‘s new purpose built Graduate School commencing this year, they have been busy re-invigorating their program of courses.


Robyn Archer AO

NIDA want to build on the success of the MFA (Directing) and MFA (Writing for Performance); the others include the MFA (Design for Performance) and MFA (Voice).

Archer’s involvement will inspire many as she sources industry opportunities for participants.

Recently NIDA awarded the first fellowships for this all-new degree, the recipients announced chosen from more than sixty applicants

Supported by the Australian Government fellowships have been awarded to outstanding applicants who are passionate about driving innovation and change across the arts and cultural sector.

The inaugural major fellowship of thirty thousand dollars for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander candidate has been awarded to Merindah Donnelly, a Wiradjuri woman from the Kamillario community in Tingha, NSW, who is based in Brisbane.


Merindah Donnelly, Major Fellowships for NIDA’s new course in cultural leadership

Executive Producer of BlakDance, Merindah Donnelly is a passionate ambassador for indigenous issues with a considerable background in classical ballet

She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Aboriginal Studies and when working at the Australia Council of the Arts, helped many indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists and companies develop new markets.

Six fellowships of ten thousand dollars and two of five thousand dollars each have also been awarded.

Recipients are Yasmin Masri from Canberra, Tristan Meecham from Victoria, Maeve MacGregor from Tasmania, Adam Deusien from New South Wales, Lucas Stibbard and Katherine Quigley from Queensland, Teik-Kim Pok from New South Wales and Soseh Yekanians from Western Australia.

All the candidates have very different backgrounds and experiences.

NIDA Master of Fine Arts in Cultural Leadership by Robert Catto in Sydney, February, 2016.

Master of Fine Arts in Cultural Leadership class of 2016, photo by Robert Catto, Sydney 2016

Yasmin Masri has a strong background in design, having graduated with first class honours from a Bachelor of Design Arts at the Australian National University School of Art majoring in textiles and furniture and digital fabrication.

She has been a program producer too, for DESIGN Canberra, the largest festival of its type in our capital territory.

Maeve MacGregor from Tasmania has been directing and performing in stage and screen productions while Adam Deusien, has been performing and touring with Zen Zen Zo Physical theatre from Brisbane.

Katherine Quigley is all action, and has completed post grad courses for social profit organisations.

LucLucas Stibbardas Stibbard’s work includes the Helpmann award-nominated national tour of boy girl wall (co-written, co-directed and performed by Lucas)

He was also Artistic Director of the Festival of Australian Student Theatre, an Arts Queensland peer and an Associate Artist at Queensland Theatre Company.

Connecting communities, audiences and artists for Tristan Meecham is a priority, and works at creating theatrical and participatory arts experiences.

Teik-Kim Pok has since 2012, been with Playwriting Australia where he has led programs to promote Asian-Australian playwriting through a partnership with Performance 4A, on whose executive committee he also serves as a member.

Qualified as a secondary teacher in Drama and History, he received an Australia Council skills grant to attend a workshop with international company La Pocha Nostra in Tucson, Arizona.

Soseh Yekanians

Soseh Yekanians

Soseh Yekamians was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship by the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Edith Cowan University in 2012 to pursue a PhD in performing arts, specifically looking at the links between cultural displacement, identity and theatre directing.

Having completed her PhD Soseh wants to continue working as a researcher-theatre director-arts advocate, to continually explore the diversity of cultural and ethnic.

Lynne Williams NIDA Director and CEO welcomed all the fellowship winners as integral to the inaugural cohort of sixteen to undertake the new course.

“There is a recognition that Australia needs a cultural policy which interfaces with those of our international partners and that informed and articulate advocates are needed to ensure arts and culture are at the heart of the life of the nation”.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016

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