Wednesday, October 10, 2012




Changing Times at NIDA, Chris Puplick’s forensic examination of the changing teaching practices within Australia’s premier theatre training school, is now back on sale in the bookshops and on line. Puplick, a former Liberal Senator, served on the NIDA Board 1994–7 and 2007–10.

The book is No.33 in Currency House’s quarterly essay series Platform Papers. It was briefly withdrawn following a letter from the school’s law firm, claiming it was defamatory of NIDA’s staff. NIDA’s Chairman Malcolm Long also made a public statement challenging the paper’s accuracy. NIDA management had formally refused assistance in the writing.

Currency House stands by the paper. The opinions expressed are those of the author, but we believe the paper to be a well-researched, often first-hand account. Further, we believe it to be at all points factually correct. Legal advice confirms that there is no case to answer.

Changing Times at NIDA follows the changes that have taken place since the appointment of Lynne Williams, first as Director and then, combining the role of General Manager, as CEO. It argues that concentrating both administrative and artistic responsibilities in a single person is ‘inappropriate’ and that Ms Williams does not have the requisite experience to meet the latter. This has damaged teaching standards and the reputation of the institution.

Over fifty years the National Institute of Dramatic Art has built a reputation as one of the world’s great theatre schools. NIDA’s teaching practice was based on the model of a working theatre company and its methods have been emulated around the world. Yet in a few short years 70% of the teaching staff have been forced out, the corporate memory has been erased and the curriculum has been changed to reflect the structure of a university course. But NIDA is not a university. It is a training school, teaching practitioners in theatre, film and television.

Says Puplick: ‘The debate must go on, for without debate there will be no progress and without the stimulation of artistic discourse the artists will just quit the building and the last bureaucrat standing will turn out the lights.’

Changing Times at NIDA will be launched at a private event on 17 October by the actor and director Jeremy Sims, a 1988 graduate of NIDA who describes the school in his time as a centre of lively minds, broad experience and intellectual ferment.
For further details contact Katharine Brisbane on or 02 9319 6423

Media Release uploaded by Frank McKone
October 10, 2012