• triple j Unearthed music video scene designed by BFA Design student
  • Model box created by BFA Design for Performance student
  • BFA Design student models the costume she has made and designed out of paper
  • Actors on set and in costumes designed by BFA Design students

BFA (Design for Performance)

CRICOS CODE 083699F

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) applications for 2020 will close on 30 September 2019.

Apply now

Contact NIDA

NIDA also offers a Master of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) course.

About the course

This immersive course provides students with an unparalleled amount of face-to-face contact and support as they develop their costume, set, properties and lighting design skills through practice-based learning, intellectual enquiry and technical methods.

Students are equipped with technical skills such as rendering, virtual visualisation techniques, manual drafting, computer-aided drafting, drawing and pre-visualisation as they investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts of contemporary design, architecture, performance, fashion and art.

Throughout the degree, students take their skills from the studio to the stage, applying their learning as key members of many different creative teams.

They frequently work on projects with students from other disciplines, and provide major designs for productions, short films, music video, exhibitions, devised works, installations and industry collaborations. In their final year, each student undertakes an industry placement with a major performing arts organisation or similar, where they are paired with a professional design mentor.

Course Dates and Times

Course duration and contact hours

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully. 

All NIDA Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees are three-year full-time courses. All NIDA Master of Fine Arts courses, except for Cultural Leadership, are 15-month full-time courses. 

2019 course dates

SEMESTER 1

Term 1: 4 February- 14 April

Mid-Semester Break: 15 April– 28 April

Term 2: 29 April– 30 June

MID-YEAR BREAK: 1 July - 21 July

SEMESTER 2

Term 3: 22 July– 8 September

Mid-Semester Break: 9 September- 15 September

Term 4: 16 September– 17 November

The semester continues until early December for those involved in the Directors’ productions.

The scheduling and delivery of this course each year is subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

2020 course dates

SEMESTER 1

Term 1: 3 February- 9 April

Mid-Semester Break: 10 April– 26 April

Term 2: 27 April– 28 June

MID-YEAR BREAK: 29 June - 19 July

SEMESTER 2

Term 3: 20 July– 6 September

Mid-Semester Break: 7 September- 13 September

Term 4: 14 September– 15 November

The semester continues until early December for those involved in the Directors’ productions.

The scheduling and delivery of this course each year is subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Subjects

First year

First year at a glance

In brief
  • Studio (design)
  • Model making
  • Manual drafting
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Rendering
  • Drawing
  • History of Architecture
  • History of Costume
  • Dramaturgy
  • Performance History
  • Arts and Ideas
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Studio work
  • Participating in NIDA productions

Design for Performance Practice

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7101A Design for Performance Practice A (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7101A Design for Performance Practice 1A introduces students to the fundamental philosophies and practices required by Designers for Performance: to interrogate and contexualise design problems, to determine and develop creative solutions and to communicate outcomes with clarity. Students study a variety of design approaches in focused project-based classes; Realism; Costume Design; Design Research; and Design, Architecture, Performance Fashion and Art (DAPFA). Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer/teacher review.

Content
Through design classes, exercises and projects, students analyse a series of given design briefs and apply creative exploration, experimentation and problem solving to arrive at design solutions. Students apply text, design and performance analysis theories and concepts to their design research and development. As the projects evolve, students learn to evaluate, edit and revise their design choices, developments, communications and solutions. Through Design, Architecture, Performance Fashion and Art (DAPFA) projects, students investigate the social, historical and socio-cultural contexts of costume and scenography that inform design for performance practice, including: text analysis, performance analysis, space, light and character exploration, and their relationship to broader arts and design influences. Dramaturgical enquiry is a major component of these explorations and involves dramaturgical analysis of the text, space, light, character and performance in relation to making meaning in performance.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7101B Design for Performance Practice B (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7101B Design for Performance Practice 1B advances students’ knowledge and understanding of the philosophies and practices required by performance-designers, and supports their capacity to interrogate and contexualise design problems, to determine and develop creative design solutions and to communicate outcomes with clarity and accuracy. Students study a variety of design approaches in focused project-based classes: Stylisation; Costume/Prop Design; Design, Architecture, Performance, Fashion and Art (DAPFA), and design research, theories and contexts. Completed design projects are subject to a formative critique by peers and teachers.

Content
Through design classes, exercises and projects, students analyse a series of given design briefs and apply creative exploration, experimentation and problem solving to arrive at design solutions. Students apply text, design and performance analysis theories and concepts to design research and development. As the projects evolve, students learn to evaluate, edit and revise their choices, developments, communications and solutions. Through these projects, students investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts of costume and scenography that inform design for performance practice, including: text analysis, performance analysis, dramaturgical enquiry, space, light and character exploration, noting their relationship to broader arts and their influence on ‘meaning-making’ in performance.

Design for Performance Techniques

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7102A Design for Performance Techniques A (15 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7102A Design for Performance Techniques 1A introduces students to the fundamental skills, techniques and practices required by performance-designers in order to define and develop creative solutions and to communicate outcomes with clarity at all stages of design development. Students study the use of technical and visual communication skills through classes in Drawing & Rendering, Technical Drawing, Model Making and Colour Theory and Lighting and Scenic Art.

Content
Through skills training, exercises and projects, students learn, test and practise a wide range of design skills and techniques, and employ them in the exploration and communication of complex design solutions. These focused, skills-based topics are applied within the context of design development in a Realism and Costume Design project. Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer review. Completed design projects are presented to the group and subject to a formative critique by peers and tutors.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7102B Design for Performance Techniques B (15 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7102B Design for Performance Techniques B further develops the skills, techniques and practices required by performance-designers in order to define and develop creative solutions and to communicate outcomes with clarity at all stages of design development. Students study the use of technical and visual communication skills through classes in Drawing & Rendering, Technical Drawing, Model Making and Colour Theory and Lighting, and Art Finishing.

Content
Through skills training, exercises and projects, students learn, test and practice a wide range of design skills and techniques, and employ them in the exploration and communication of design solutions. These focused, skills-based subjects are applied within the context of design development projects. Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer review. Completed design projects are presented to the group and subject to a formative critique by peers and tutors.

Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7103A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration (10 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7103A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A introduces students to the fundamental collaboration techniques and practices required by performance-designers through engagement with the fabrication process in production workshops and in rehearsals, and by taking on crew roles as part of a team in the NIDA Play Production program.

Content 
Through engagement with the realisation of productions, students are able to reflect on the nature of their contribution to a collaborative art form and the specific focus and roles each of the disciplines bring to this collaboration. Design students gain practical experience through assignments such as Set/Props or Costume Design Assistant on a Play Production Program production. Students collaborate on the realisation of a design element/s under the supervision of the Designer and Department course leaders, and then take on a live performance crew role through technical rehearsals and the season of the production.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7103B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration B (10 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7103B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration B identifies and develops the collaboration techniques and practices required by performance-designers through engagement with the fabrication process in production workshops and in rehearsals, and continues their learning by taking on specific crewing roles as part of a team in the NIDA Play Production program. Design students are assigned to work as a Set/Props or Costume Design Assistant on a Play Production Program production.

Content 
Building on their learning from the previous subject, and through further engagement with the realisation of productions, students are able to reflect on the nature of their contribution to a collaborative art form and the specific focus and roles each of the disciplines bring to this collaboration. Students collaborate on the realisation of a design element/s under the supervision of the Designer and Department course leaders, and then take on a live performance crew role through technical rehearsals and the season of the production.

Performance and Ideas

SEMESTER ONE 

COM7101A Performance and Ideas (10 credit points)

Subject Purpose
In Semester One of the first year ‘Performance and Ideas’ gives students a theoretical, critical and experiential understanding of key contexts, forms and conventions based on a chronological framework that supports an understanding of the Western theatrical canon. The subject supports student’s abilities to actively relate various historic practices of the Western theatrical canon to their own performance-based disciplines as 21st century artists.

Content
Throughout this subject students will:
Examine a range of historical movements and practitioners in the Western theatrical canon, identifying specific forms, conventions and practices
Develop an understanding of industry practices across a range of performance disciplines relating to various conventions and forms within the canon
Interpret and engage with artistic ideas in both practical and conceptual realisation from the perspective of their specific performance discipline
Explore and reflect on how aspects of a theatrical form and context inform practices in related disciplines.

SEMESTER TWO - COM7101B PERFORMANCE AND IDEAS (10 credit points)

COM7101B Performance and Ideas investigates different performance texts to create an understanding of the development of modernity from the 19th to the 20th century. The course looks at different art forms and looks at movements and ideas that structure contemporary performance practice. We also will make the “now” present through postmodern and contemporary readings and recent productions, specifically focusing on students’ own practice.

COM7101B Performance and Ideas asks three main questions:
* What is modernity?
* What is the drive towards truth or realistic illusion?
* In what ways does this tradition influence our meaning making and our
practice today?

Introduction to Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

COM7102A Introduction to Collaboration (5 credit points)

Subject Purpose
The subject introduces the students to the principles of collaboration, which includes defining collaboration and creativity and examining how ethics, values and behaviours of collaboration are generated. Students investigate notions of ownership, agreement, creative conflict and how to generate ideas and create innovative practice. These investigations provide a foundation for creative collaborative projects undertaken in second year and beyond.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will
* Investigate various theories and practices for creative collaboration in the cultural sector
* Apply collaborative practices to the development of new and interdisciplinary work
* Work empathetically, to a shared vision
* Apply discipline expertise to a collaborative project
* Evaluate and reflect on process and performance

SEMESTER TWO

COM7102B Introduction to Collaboration (5 credit points)

COM7102B Introduction to Collaboration builds upon the principles of collaboration, skills and conceptual tasks featured in COM7102A Introduction to Collaboration. In this subject those preparatory tasks are now realised through practice in a Group Collaborative Project.

Second year

Second year at a glance

In brief

You will:

  • work collaboratively with students from the directing course
  • continue working on set, costume and lighting designs
  • be introduced to film and events design
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Studio work
  • Participating in NIDA film projects

Design for Performance Practice

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7201A Design for Performance Practice A (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7201A Design for Performance Practice A is the primary design subject for set, costume and lighting oriented design disciplines in the BFA course. It consolidates skills and knowledge development in design for performance, applying these skills with increasing complexity of design thinking to concept development and decision-making and problem-solving processes in diverse theatre forms, while collaborating with either student or guest directors. Students’ learning is consolidated through two projects: a Multi-Scene Set and Costume Design project, and a Hybrid Costume Design.

Content
Through design classes, exercises and projects, students analyse a series of given design briefs and apply an increasingly advanced creative exploration, experimentation and problem solving to arrive at effective design solutions. Students apply text, design and performance analysis theories and concepts to design research and development. As the projects evolve, students learn to evaluate, revise and develop their design choices, developments, solutions and communications strategies. In collaboration with a director students will examine and explore design methodologies and apply these methodologies to the design of a fully realised production. Dramaturgical enquiry is a major component of these projects, and involves effective and detailed scenographic analysis of the text, space, light, character and performance in relation to making meaning in performance. These projects are supported by examinations of Design, Architecture, Performance Fashion, and Art (DAPFA) research, theories and contexts. Through DAPFA classes students investigate the social, historical and cultural contexts of scenography that inform design for performance practice, including text analysis, performance analysis, space, light and character exploration, and its relationship to broader arts, architectural, fashion and design influences. Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer/teacher review. Completed design projects are presented to the group and subject to a formative critique by peers and teachers.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7201B Design for Performance Practice B (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7201B Design for Performance Practice B consolidates skills and knowledge development in design for performance, applying these skills with increasing complexity of design thinking to concept development and decision-making and problem-solving processes, while collaborating with either student or guest directors in two distinct projects, Open Text Drama and Music Theatre. Dramaturgical enquiry is a major component of these explorations and involves scenographic analysis of the text, space, light, character and performance in relation to making meaning in performance.

Content 
Through design classes, exercises and projects, students continue to analyse a series of given design texts and briefs and apply creative exploration, experimentation and problem solving to arrive at effective design solutions. Students apply text, design and performance analysis theories and concepts to complex design research and development. As the projects evolve, students learn to evaluate, revise and develop their design choices, developments, communications and solutions. In collaboration with a director students will examine and explore design methodologies and apply these methodologies to the design of a fully realised production. The primary relationship between director and designer is explored through project-based conceptual design exercises that increase in complexity. Collaborative problem solving is at the forefront of these design investigations where a design proposal is generated through discussion and mutual agreement. The resulting concept is then tested through the use of sketch and scale models and design renderings. Designing within a studio environment encourages a continuum of peer/teacher review. On each project the creative teams of director, set and costume designer (and lighting designer when available) present the results of their collaboration and conceptual development to their peers and tutors in a formal presentation.

Design for Performance Techniques

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7202A Design for Performance Techniques A (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7202A Design for Performance Techniques 2A continues to develop and consolidate fundamental skills, techniques and practices required by performance-designers to define and develop creative solutions and to communicate outcomes with clarity at all stages of design development.

Content
Continuing from Design for Performance Techniques developed in Year 1, design students develop new skills and consolidate technical and creative communication skills already acquired, and apply these more sophisticated and accomplished techniques to their Design Practice projects. As the projects evolve, students learn, test and practise a wide range of tools and techniques to explore and communicate their design vision. Students will develop materials for a hypothetical production including: set references, sketch and finished scale model/s, scenic lists, floorplan, section and technical drawings, costume references, drawings, costume lists and full colour costume renderings, properties references, drawings, full colour and technical properties drawings, or lighting references, visualisations, lighting concepts explored on the set models. They will determine the parameters of the project, and plan appropriate design communications from design development through to design delivery. Students will also learn to respect and work to materials and labour budget parameters and deliver to established design deadlines.
Students study the use of technical and visual communication skills through classes in Drawing, Model Making Techniques – Sketch to Final, Drafting (AutoCAD and Vectorworks), Digital Drawing (Photoshop and Illustrator) and Lighting Exercises. These focused, skills-based subjects are applied within the context of design development on industry-focused projects.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7202B Design for Performance Techniques B (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7202B Design for Performance Techniques 2B further consolidates and develops skills, techniques and practices required by performance-designers to define and develop creative solutions and to communicate outcomes with clarity at all stages of design development.

Content
Continuing from techniques developed in Year 1, design students learn new and more complex skills, and consolidate technical and creative communication skills already acquired, and apply these more sophisticated and accomplished techniques to their Design Practice projects. As the projects evolve, students learn, test and practise a wide range of tools and techniques to explore and communicate their design vision. These communication skills are applied to projects running in tandem, including Music Theatre and Open Text. Students study the use of technical and visual communication skills through classes in Drawing Model Making Techniques – Sketch to Final, (Drafting (AutoCAD and Vectorworks), Digital Drawing (Photoshop and Illustrator) and Lighting Exercise. These focused, skills-based subjects are applied within the context of design development on DFP Practice B projects.

Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7203A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A (5 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7202A Interdisciplinary Collaboration A is focused on design elements and theories relating to design for the screen. It comprises of three projects which lead the students to a working knowledge of mise-en-scène and screen language through the study of film genres and the elements in set and costume design, cinematography, post production and animation techniques, and from the birth of cinema to the present day.

Content
Through the intense collaborative realisation of screen projects and productions, and the study of cinematic genres and the elements of mise-en-scène, students will develop an understanding of the key creative parameters of a screen production. They will continue to develop dexterity in crew roles and relationships and will practice in art department on a short form screen production, including working as art director under the leadership of a D3 student production designer. Students will analyse, break down, and design screen scripts using storyboards and other already-established visual communication techniques to communicate their design intention to all stakeholders, will prepare and manage art department budgets and schedules, and will work in art department crew roles in preproduction and shoot. Students will articulate an understanding of screen design methodologies and reflect on how these compare to other forms of performance design. Assessable projects are highly collaborative, and include a hypothetical screen design project (Screen Design), a team-based design project (Art Direction) and a theory and analysis subject (Mise-en-Scène).

DFP7203B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A (5 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7203B Interdisciplinary Collaboration B is comprised of a significant team-based project in which second year design students work as Art Directors to a third year designer (Production Designer) in the realisation of a screen project. Founded on learning in the previous subject, students will complete the realisation of a significant screen design production that is intensely collaborative across disciplines.

Content
Through the intense collaborative realisation of screen and live performance productions students will practice their understanding of the roles, responsibilities, processes, management and effective realisation of the design. They will take instruction from the student designer, undertake script analysis and research, prepare design visualisations, prepare and manage art department and design budgets and schedules, perform on-set and backstage technical and crew roles, collaborate and communicate with all stakeholders, and source, build and coordinate design elements towards effective realisation of the design.

Performance and Ideas

SEMESTER ONE

COM7201A Performance and Ideas (10 credit points)

Subject Purpose
Semester One of the second year of ‘Performance and Ideas’ builds on students’ theoretical, critical and experiential understandings of key contexts, forms and conventions of the Western theatrical canon and the various social, intercultural and political influences that shaped it in the mid to late 20th and early 21st century.
Building on COM7101A & COM7101B, it supports students’ ability to actively relate these various historic practices to their own performance-based disciplines as 21st century artists.

Content
Throughout this subject students will:
Synthesise their understanding of the relationship, correspondence and variance of different forms of theatrical and screen storytelling
Develop an understanding of industry practices across a range of performance disciplines relating to various conventions and forms of the 20th and 21st centuries
Interpret and engage with artistic ideas in both practical and conceptual realisation from the perspective of their specific performance discipline
Examine a range of ideological, theoretical and practical frameworks through which contemporary performance can be understood.

SEMESTER TWO

COM7201B Performance and Ideas (10 credit points)

COM7101B Contemporary Issues in Performing Arts asks four main questions:
What is the contemporary? What is the “now” and how do we theorise the present?
What is the response of the theatre to pressing issues of the day?
What is performance practice’s role in contemporary society?
What are alternative modes of contemporary performing arts?

Equally this subject investigates broader questions:
What is the role of performance practice in social and political questions?
We will look at a range of contemporary debates of the theatre that are pressing to the art form now.
How do we address futures thinking and predictive scenario development for imagined constructs?

Student-led Projects

SEMESTER ONE

COM7203A Student-Led Projects (5 credit points)

Subject Purpose
Student-led Projects is a common subject across all disciplines involving second-year students in which each team shapes an artistic vision for presentation drawing on the individual strengths, knowledge and ability of each member to problem-solve in the development and realization of the collaborative endeavour.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will:
Apply collaborative practices to the development of new and interdisciplinary work
Work empathetically, to a shared vision
Apply discipline expertise to a collective project
Evaluate and reflect on process and performance

SEMESTER TWO

COM7203B Student-Led Projects (5 credit points)

COM7203A Student-led Projects and COM7203B Student-led Projects derive from the theoretical and methodological frameworks explored in COM7102 Introduction to Collaboration. Student-led Projects is a common subject across all disciplines involving second-year students from every discipline. Students self-select their collaborative teams and are encouraged to achieve cross cohort representation. Together each team shapes an idea for presentation drawing on the individual strengths, knowledge and ability of each member to problem-solve in the development and realization of the collaborative endeavour. Collaborative groups request input from staff or external mentors as or when it is required. Co- ordination of this subject and trouble shooting is provided by the subject coordinator with assistance from a designated point of contact from each discipline within NIDA. In COM7203B Student-led Projects students build on the collaborative practice project established in COM7203A Student-led Projects by bringing the project to realization. Students present their work in this semester and finalise their peer review through group evaluation.

Third year

Third year at a glance

In brief
  • Work collaboratively with students from the directing course
  • Work collaboratively with technical students on lighting and video projects
  • Design for film in industry music videos and short film projects
  • Design for graduate director play productions and the NIDA graduate exhibition
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Studio work
  • Liaising with industry professionals
  • Participating in NIDA films, events and productions

Design for Performance Practice

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7301A Design for Performance Practice A (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7301A Design for Performance Practice 3A consolidates concept development, decision-making and problem-solving skills and knowledge development in design for performance, with a progressive shift of emphasis to effective collaboration on devised staged productions. The subject is the primary design and concept development subject for set, costume and lighting oriented design disciplines in the BFA course.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will examine and explore alternate design methodologies, and apply these to the design of fully-realised devised productions. They will analyse and interpret the text and context, and work with collaborators to explore design concepts, and create visualisations. Utilising a range of analogue and digital visualisation techniques to accomplish diverse design communications, students investigate script analysis, concept creation and visualisation of sets, costumes, lighting and video designs. They will develop specialist expertise in a discipline-specific context, and undertake critical evaluation and reflection of the work of self and that of others. Exhibition designers work as a team to design and fully realise an exhibition, either as a collective design exhibition, or a broader exhibition of selected NIDA student work, displaying multi- course content. This subject is the primary design and concept development subject for set, costume and lighting oriented design disciplines in the BFA course. The subject supports two projects; Devised Work 1: Set, Costume, Lighting, Projection and Video – collaboration with BFA TTSM) and Devised Work 2: Set, Costume, Makeup – collaboration with MFA Directors and VET Makeup.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7301B Design for Performance Practice B (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7301B Design for Performance Practice B extends design concept development, decision-making and problem-solving skills and knowledge development in the realisation of live productions. The first - Directors’ Designers’ Graduation Productions (DDGP) focuses on the effective collaboration within a fully-staged work directed by a student or guest director. Each creative team also collaborates with other teams to present the production as part of a collection of short plays in a season in a shared space.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will examine, explore and extend the use of design methodologies and apply these to the design of fully-realised production/s. Through analysis and development of the text and context, they will work with collaborators, exploring design concepts and creating visualisations as part of design development. Students will utilise a variety of visualisation and documentation techniques to accomplish a range of diverse communications appropriate for live performance, installation and exhibition design. Further, they will collaborate and communicate with all stake-holders in performance and exhibition making throughout design realisation. Developing specialist expertise in a range of discipline-specific contexts, they undertake critical evaluation, analysis and reflection of the work of self and that of others. In this subject, students develop their ability to work successfully as part of an individual creative team as well as their ability to collaborate and negotiate as part of a collective. This subject is the primary design and concept development subject for set, costume and lighting oriented design disciplines in the BFA course.

Design for Performance Techniques

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7302A Design for Performance Techniques A (20credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7302A Design for Performance Techniques 3A develops technical proficiency in essential skills for design for performance. The aim is for the student to reach a professional standard in all aspects of their design communication skills from early design development, design delivery to design realisation on two devised works in Semester 1. This subject is the primary studio skills subject for set, costume and lighting oriented design disciplines in the BFA course and works in tandem with DFP7301A Design for Performance Practice 3A.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will consolidate technical expertise and skills and apply these appropriately in discipline- specific contexts. They will hone their technical and creative skills to expand design exploration, creation and realisation. The subject further supports students to use their technical dexterity to communicate to a variety of stakeholders using clear, original and appropriate design documentation that articulates complex design ideas. Students then undertake critical evaluation and reflection of their work and that of others.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7302B Design for Performance Techniques B (20 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7302B Design for Performance Techniques B further expands technical proficiency in the essential skills for performance-designers for live production and exhibition. The student works at a professional standard in all aspects of their design communication skills, from early design development, design delivery to design realisation on two fully realised designs: Directors’ Designers’ Graduation Productions (DDGP) and Exhibition.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will expand their technical proficiency and skills, and apply these skills appropriately in discipline-specific contexts. They will communicate increasingly complex ideas to a variety of stakeholders using clear, creative and original design documentation, using design techniques to expand design exploration, creation and realisation. Further, they will undertake critical evaluation and reflection of their work and that of others. This subject is the primary studio skills subject for set, costume and lighting oriented design disciplines in the BFA course and works in tandem with DFP7301B Design for Performance Practice 3B.

Design for Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7303A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A (15 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7303A Interdisciplinary Collaboration 3A comprises of learning which supports complex and demanding projects which mimic collaborative industry processes across disciplines, and have realised outcomes. Working as creative teams of directors, set, properties, costume designers and lighting designers, each student team collaborates with an artist, musician, or band to conceive and produce a music video, which may have a public web and televisual release.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will examine, explore and expand design methodologies and apply these to a design of fully realised production/s using collaborative practices. They will analyse and develop the text and context of a work with collaborators, exploring design concepts and creating visualisations of complex design ideas, useful for a range of stakeholder engagements. A variety of analogue and digital visualisation techniques support student to accomplish communications through script analysis, concept creation and visualisation of sets, costumes, lighting and video designs. Whilst developing specialist expertise in a range of discipline-specific contexts, they undertake critical evaluation and reflection of the work of self and that of others. The subject enables two projects: Project 1 involves working as a production designer within a team of other production designers to develop, design and realise a Short Film. Project 2 involves the student designers collaborating with the student directors to produce a music video/s.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7303B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration B (15 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7303B Interdisciplinary Collaboration B comprises of complex and demanding collaborative projects, which reflect industry practices. Working as creative teams of directors, set, properties, costume designers and lighting designers, each student team collaborates with an artist, musician, or band to produce a music video which may have a public web and televisual release. In this subject students will complete design exercises that are intensely collaborative across disciplines and have realised outcomes.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will collaborate within specialist teams to inform original design outcomes and communicate effectively with all stake-holders using original designed documentation, from conception to realisation. Students will define, coordinate and work to crew roles and responsibilities, using specialist expertise in a discipline-specific context. They will undertake critical evaluation and reflection of the work of self and that of others. The subject enables two projects: Project 1 is a continuation of the design and realisation of the Semester 1 Short Film and involves working as a production designer within a team of other production designers. Project 2 is a continuation of the design and realisation of the Semester 1 Music Videos and continues the collaboration of student designers with the student directors to shoot and post- produce several music videos.

Design for Performance Professional Practice

SEMESTER ONE

DFP7304A DESIGN FOR PERFORMANCE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (5 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7304A Design for Performance Professional Practice introduces designers to an overview of the driving forces that have determined the national creative landscape, identifying the history of the key state and national arts organisations and current trends. Students will be given a raft of tools to enable them to embark upon a successful career as arts professionals and negotiate the demands of establishing themselves as a small business. These will include a basic knowledge of financial and risk management, business and project planning frameworks and an ability to market themselves and the projects they create.

Content
Throughout this learning period students will gain a rudimentary understanding of how to negotiate contracts including the fundamentals of ownership and copyright. They will identify sources of funding and how to apply for grants and sponsorship, how to apply for jobs and how to protect their rights within the Industrial Relations landscape. Students will learn about Workplace Health and Safety, and its intrinsic relationship to other areas of the course and the everyday practice of a designer, and understand the pathways to liability, how to obtain insurance and when it is applicable. Further they will undertake a self-directed analysis of the body of work by a professional designer of their choice, reflecting on the design vocabulary the designer has used to express different ideas and how this language has shifted and evolved over the course of their careers.

SEMESTER TWO

DFP7304B Design for Performance Professional Practice B (5 credit points)

Subject Purpose
DFP7304B Professional Practice 3B assists the graduating designer to set up a small business, as well as launching them into the profession through a professional work placement. This subject enables students to embark upon a successful career as arts professionals and to negotiate the demands of establishing themselves as a small business. These include setting up a small business, financial and risk management, business and project-planning frameworks and an ability to market themselves and the projects they create.

Content
As part of the BFA professional work placement students work with a professional designer/theatre maker as mentor allowing them to observe their professional’s practice and process, and to engage with the professional design process through development and realisation. Whilst attached to the professional designer students assist in one or all aspects of design creation: during the creative development, through realisation working with varying makers and stake-holders responsible for build of the design and the production. They also have the opportunity to follow the various creative team processes, including those of producers, actors and technical management in resolving the design and the demands of the production as a whole. DFP7304B Professional Practice 3B introduces students to the professional knowledge and tools needed to enter the profession, and enables them to operate as a freelance artist and to launch and develop their own practice.

Admission criteria

Essential requirements for admission

Admission Criteria

NIDA's general entry requirements for accredited courses are:

  • Have completed a High School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school for undergraduate courses
    • NIDA will waive the requirement for completion of year 12 studies where an applicant's work and life experience supports their ability and skills to engage in their selected program (includes those who left secondary education more than 2 years ago).
  • Be 18 years of age by 31 March in the first year of enrolment for domestic students in undergraduate programs (only in exceptional circumstances can this condition be waived) and 18 years at date of commencement for international students (there is no waiver for international students on age).
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English. International students must have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.0 (IELTS 8.0 for BFA (Acting)).
  • Have skills and knowledge appropriate to the level and discipline the applicant is seeking to gain admission into.
  • Have an evidenced interest in the performing arts.

NIDA does not currently have an enabled course or bridging program.

Essential requirements

We select students who:

  • demonstrate commitment, motivation and passion in relation to the arts, entertainment and related industries, to their chosen discipline, and to the course of study
  • provide evidence of their capacity to work creatively and imaginatively
  • demonstrate an aptitude to collaborate with peers as part of a creative process
  • demonstrate a range of knowledge, skills, technical abilities and/or problem-solving techniques relevant to their discipline
  • demonstrate cultural and contextual awareness
  • articulate and communicate ideas clearly

NIDA encourages applications from students from diverse backgrounds, with different levels of experience in theatre, film, television or other areas.

NIDA welcomes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. General admissions requirements apply.

Due to the volume of auditions carried out, we are unable to provide you with individual feedback. The decision of the audition panel is final.

It is not possible to defer an offer of a place at NIDA.

International students

We require all international applicants to:

  • attend an audition in Australia.
  • be aware of the visa conditions and financial obligations you are required to meet as an overseas student.
  • accept full responsibility for all arrangements concerning entry into, and residence in, Australia (including visas and health insurance).
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of 7.0 IELTS (8.0 for Acting). Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org This requirement may be waived for applicants that have completed their high school studies in English.

For more information on applying as an international student, see international students.

Domestic applicants with overseas qualifications

Domestic students with overseas qualifications must supply certified translations of their qualifications.

NIDA's general entry requirements apply and selection is based on merit.

Fees

Tuition fees

Domestic and international students are required to pay tuition fees by the due date each semester.

The tuition fees are reviewed each year and if you enrol you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolments.

Domestic Students

Domestic students are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and New Zealand citizens.

Download the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fees Schedule 2020 (PDF 1.5MB).

Current students can also find 2019 fees in the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fees Schedule 2019 (PDF 1.2MB).

International Students

Fees and financial assistance vary for international students see International Students for full details.

Domestic tuition fees overview

DegreeCourse duration2020 Annual tuition fee $AUD*Estimated total course tuition fee*
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) Three years $14,640.00 $43,920.00

Domestic tuition fee details

Year 1, 2020
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2020    
DFP7101A Design for Performance Practice A 20 0.167 $2,440.00
DFP7102A Design for Performance Techniques A 15 0.125 $1,830.00
DFP7103A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A 10 0.083 $1,220.00
$1,830.00 COM7101A Performance and Ideas 1A 10 0.083 $1,220.00
COM7102A Introduction to Collaboration 1A 5 0.042 $610.00
Total for Semester 1, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Semester 2, 2020    
DFP7101B Design for Performance Practice B 20 0.25 $2,440.00
DFP7102B Design for Performance Techniques B 15 0.125 $1,830.00
DFP7103BDesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration B100.083 $1,220.00
COM7101B Performance and Ideas 1B 10 0.083 $1,220.00
COM7102B Introduction to Collaboration 1B 5 0.042 $610.00
Total for Semester 2, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Total for Year 1 1201$14,640.00
Year 2, 2020
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2020    
DFP7201A Design for Performance Practice A 200.167$2,440.00
DFP7202A Design for Performance Techniques A 200.167$2,440.00
DFP7203ADesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A50.042$610.00
COM7201A Performance and Ideas A 10 0.083 $1,220.00
COM7203A Student-led Projects 2A 5 0.042 $610.00
Total for Semester 1, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Semester 2, 2020    
DFP7201B Design for Performance Practice B200.167$2,440.00
DFP7202B Design for Performance Techniques B200.167$2,440.00
DFP7203BDesign for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration B50.042$610.00
COM7201B Performance and Ideas 2B 10 0.083 $1,220.00
COM7203B Student-led Project 2B 5 0.042 $610.00
Total for Semester 2, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Total for Year 2 1201$14,640.00
Year 3, 2020
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2020    
DFP7301A Design for Performance Practice A 20 0.167 $2,440.00
DFP7302A Design for Performance Techniques A 20 0.167 $2,440.00
DFP7303A Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration A 15 0.125 $1,830.00
DFP7304ADesign for Performance Professional Practice A50.042$610.00
Total for Semester 1, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Semester 2, 2020    
DFP7301B Design for Performance Practice B 20 0.167 $2,440.00
DFP7302B Design for Performance Techniques B 20 0.167 $2,440.00
DFP7303B Design for Performance Interdisciplinary Collaboration B 15 0.125 $1,830.00
DFP7304BDesign for Performance Professional Practice B50.042$610.00
Total for Semester 2, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Total for Year 3 1201$14,640.00

*The tuition fees are reviewed each year and you are liable for the additional tuition costs if the tuition fees rise during the course of your enrolment.

** EFTSL - Effective Fulltime Study Load: indicates the relative study load of a subject against a full time study load of 1.0 for an academic year.

Administration fees

Administration and Other Fees 2019/2020

These fees are payable at the time the service is provided or item purchased.

Item/ServiceDetail2019/2020 Cost
Binding supplies1 comb,1 cover, 1 back$2
GraduationAcademic Dress Hire (gown, hood, cap), and two guests$35
Tickets for additional guests$20 per person
Student ID Card replacementReplacement of a lost student card$25
PhotocopyingB/W – single sided$0.05
B/W – double sided$0.10
Colour – single sided$0.10
Colour – double sided$0.20
Locker keyDeposit$25
Replacement of lost locker key$25
Testamur replacement1 testamur – domestic postage$80
1 testamur – standard international postage$90
Transcript replacement1 transcript – domestic postage$20
1 transcript – standard international postage$30

Additional costs

Equipment List

Refer to pages 15-18 of the 2019 Fee Schedule for a full equipment list.

Compulsory Clothing

Safe working clothing is COMPULSORY when in the workshop area. Closed shoes must be worn at ALL times in the workshop studios and theatres.  Protective footwear such as rubber-soled Blundstones are compulsory for use in all workshop areas and theatre spaces so you must have these at the beginning of your course.

Shortly after arriving at NIDA you will be required to have a set of black clothes (ie. long sleeved black top and long black trousers) for production work.

Recommended Reading

While students are provided with the script of any plays they are involved in as part of the NIDA Production Program, students are encouraged to purchase other scripts and textbooks for subjects such as Performance and Ideas.

Information Technology Recommendations

To access NIDA wireless (iWIRE) network, students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 7 and later), Macbook (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later) or a Tablet (less than three years old with wireless facility). All the devices should comply with 802.11a/b/g/n WPA-Enterprise security. All notebooks should be secured with a Kensington lock to help prevent theft.

For file transfers and data backup, a 500GB hard drive or higher and an 8GB USB stick are also recommended, as is a DVD burner, for optimum visual graphics on your computer(Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc.) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not required.

Further financial information

Australian citizens and holders of permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for an Australian Government FEE-HELP loan for all or part of their tuition fees. For more information about FEE-HELP please read the information below and visit Study Assist.

FEE-HELP

WHAT IS FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is the Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay their tuition fees, so that students do not have to pay tuition fees up-front. FEE-HELP can cover all or part of a student's tuition fees. In 2019, the FEE-HELP limit is $104,440 for most students.

A loan fee of 25% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The FEE-HELP limit does not include the loan fee.

The Government pays the amount of the loan directly to NIDA. Students repay their loan through the tax system once their income rises above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

For more information go to www.studyassist.gov.au

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FEE-HELP?

You are eligible for a FEE-HELP loan if you are either:

  • an Australian Citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa.

The following students are NOT eligible for FEE-HELP:

  • New Zealand citizens - refer to the Study Assist website
  • Australian permanent residents
  • Overseas students.

Financial assistance

Eligible students, who are Australian residents, can apply to Centrelink for financial assistance through Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information.

While at NIDA, students can also apply for consideration for a NIDA student bursary. Each year there are a limited number of NIDA student bursaries to assist with living costs. These are allocated to students on the basis of financial need with second and third year undergraduates and Master of Fine Arts students prioritised. The bursaries are made available through the generosity of donors to NIDA and from bequests.

Statement of Tuition Assurance Exemption

Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, (the HESA) and the Higher Education Provider Guidelines, approved Higher Education Providers must have arrangements in place to protect students if the Provider is unable to continue to offer a course for any reason, unless the Provider has been exempted from this requirement.

As required under 2.5.1.5 of the Higher Education Provider Guidelines of 23 November 2006, NIDA advises that, under section 16-30 (2) of the HESA, NIDA has been granted an exemption from the tuition assurance requirements of HESA. The reason for the exemption is that NIDA is in receipt of funding from the Australian Government. As NIDA is principally funded by the Australian Government, appropriate transition arrangements would be put in place should it be decided to discontinue a course.

FAQs

Entry requirements FAQs

What ATAR score do I need to get into NIDA?

Entry into NIDA courses is by audition or interview only. We do not ask for exam scores or ATAR rankings. However, all applicants applying for any higher education course at NIDA must have completed their Higher School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school. In exceptional circumstances this requirement can be waived. 

What subjects should I study at school?

NIDA does not require students to have studied any particular subjects at school. However, it is beneficial during their period of study at NIDA for students to have a high level of literacy and to have read widely. A strong working knowledge of subjects such as English and History is helpful to provide an understanding of historical context and literary references in theatre and literature. It is helpful to have an understanding of drama and, if possible, to have attended a range of theatre and films. Applicants for some courses often study Design and Technology, Textiles and Design, or similar subjects such as Art. Knowledge of a language other than English and understanding of other cultures is also beneficial. 

For courses such as Properties and Objects, Staging, Design for Performance, and Technical Theatre and Stage Management there is a need to have some numeracy and basic computing skills. For the Staging and Properties and Objects courses there is a need to be comfortable with basic applied algebra, geometry and physical concepts but memorisation is not required and use of these concepts is very practically focused. 

Is there a minimum age restriction?

The minimum age for entry into NIDA’s full-time courses is 18 years. Students are expected to be at least 18 years of age at the commencement of their first year, or within a few months of commencement. In exceptional circumstances this condition may be waived. Applicants must be at least 17 years of age at the time of their audition or interview.

Applications from those 16 years and younger will not be accepted.

Is there a maximum age restriction?

There is no maximum age restriction. As a guide to the age distribution at NIDA, the ages of students in undergraduate courses at the start of 2016 ranged from 17 years to early 30s, with the average age being 21.

The average age in the Master of Fine Arts courses is 32, with an age range from early 20s to mid-40s.

Application FAQs

How do I apply for a full-time course at NIDA?

Application to NIDA is by direct entry. Applicants apply online via the NIDA website.

NIDA will accept applications for the 2020 intake from 1 July - 30 September, 2019.

You must then prepare for your audition or interview, the details of which can be found on the course pages.

My application form isn’t working/loading!

If you are having difficulty using the online application form, check your internet browser: Chrome, Firefox and Safari are the recommended browsers. You should also turn off any security that blocks pop-ups, as this may prevent the application screen from opening. While application form will still work on a tablet or mobile device, it performs best on a PC or laptop.

Can I apply for more than one course?

Yes, however a separate online application form and payment of application fee AUD$75.00 will be required for each course you would like to apply for.

What do I do if the audition/ interview dates are not suitable?

NIDA aims to accommodate all Australian states during the audition/ interview period.

If the dates provided are not suitable to individuals applying to non-Acting courses we will try to work with you to create a mutually agreeable alternative. If you cannot attend any of the available dates, please select ‘Other Interstate’ when completing the application form and email applications@nida.edu.au to discuss further options.

Unfortunately due to the large volume of applications to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) course, we cannot schedule any alternative dates other than those advertised.

Audition and interview FAQs

What do I need to prepare for my audition/interview?

All the details for audition and interview requirements can be found on the individual course pages under the ‘How to Apply’ tab.

Does NIDA give audition/interview feedback?

Due to the large number of people being auditioned or interviewed, it is not possible for NIDA to provide individual feedback, either orally or in writing. However, the auditions and interviews are learning experiences, particularly through the opportunity in the auditions to observe the presentation of audition pieces by other applicants and any redirection suggestions provided to you or other applicants by members of the audition panel. 

What are my chances of getting into NIDA’s Acting course straight from high school?

There are around 1700 applicants for the 24 places in the Acting course. Most school leavers who apply for the Acting course are not accepted the first time they apply. There are advantages to having some life experience and maturity to be able to cope with a very rigorous course. However, the audition process is a valuable one and provides useful experience for future applications. There were two school-leavers among the 24 applicants selected for entry in 2016.

Where will my interview take place?

During your online application you will have the opportunity to select the date and location of your audition/ interview. The specific location details will be included in your receipt once you have submitted a complete application form. Please note that NIDA reserves the right to amend your audition/ interview date/ location at any time depending on scheduling requirements.

What happens after my interview?

Final selections are made for each course by mid- December when study offers will be distributed to successful applicants via email.

Please note applicants who do not make it through to the recall stage for Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) and Master of Fine Arts (Directing) courses have not been successful for the 2019 intake.

Studying at NIDA FAQs

What are the contact hours for BFA courses?

Students are at NIDA from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. During production terms students may also be required for rehearsals after hours and on weekends.

Additional time also needs to be allocated to library work, research, preparation for classes and private study. For this reason it is difficult for NIDA students to maintain regular part-time jobs. Studying at NIDA is a big commitment so students need to manage their time and resources carefully.

How are NIDA’s courses structured?

NIDA offers a conservatoire based method of education and training based around intensive practice-based learning.

There is formal class work, practical instruction, lectures and, for some courses, periods of placements in the arts industry. Each course has dedicated time to discipline-specific immersion, as well as common subjects undertaken by students of all disciplines.

NIDA Play Productions and screen work provides practical learning experiences, giving students the opportunity to apply learnt technical skills. Play productions are an important part of NIDA’s higher education courses with usually five productions being produced each semester.

More detailed information about course structure can be found on the individual course pages. 

What facilities does NIDA offer?

NIDA’s award winning campus includes a range of facilities available to students:

  • the Parade Theatre, seating over 700 people, is equipped with advanced technology in sound, lighting and scenery
  • performance spaces of varying sizes. The Parade Studio, Parade Playhouse, Parade Space and Atrium are also utilised for productions
  • the state-of-the-art Reg Grundy Studio is used for film and television recording
  • the Rodney Seaborn Library, specialising in the performing arts
  • computer-aided design (CAD) and multimedia studios
  • rehearsal rooms, teaching spaces and music practice rooms
  • and workshops for the manufacture of scenery, properties and costumes.

What student services does NIDA offer?

Because of NIDA’s close relationship with UNSW, in addition to the NIDA library, NIDA students have access to the UNSW Library, The Learning Centre, health services and the UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre, all located close to NIDA.

NIDA students have access to student counselling services provided through UNSW.

Indigenous students can also use the services of the Nura Gili Indigenous Programs Centre at UNSW.

Does NIDA offer credit transfer for study undertaken elsewhere?

Yes, NIDA grants credit for formal study undertaken in recognised higher institutions in Australia, including universities, colleges, TAFE and other post-secondary education institutions and for study at recognised overseas institutions, where the applicant has met the learning outcomes, attained the knowledge and/or developed the skills relevant to a specific subject. An application for credit must be submitted and approved prior to commencement of the course. For further information see NIDA’s credit transfer policy.

Accommodation FAQs

NIDA does not provide accommodation for students. However the following information will help you consider some options available to you.

UNSW on-campus housing

Although NIDA is not part of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), NIDA students can access the student accommodation at UNSW.

UNSW is located directly across from NIDA on Anzac Parade, Kensington and has a number of on-campus residential colleges and self-catered apartments that Study Abroad students can apply for by going directly to their websites:

Fully catered colleges:

Self-catered apartments:

Seeking rental accommodation independently

Rental accommodation in the immediate vicinity of NIDA is not usually easy to find at short notice, can be expensive and Sydney landlords usually require a minimum six month lease to be signed. It is also in high demand so it is advisable to start searching at least two or three weeks before you start the course. You should also consider that not all accommodation is furnished and you may need to buy furniture.

Students tend to look for accommodation in suburbs near NIDA such as Randwick, Kensington, Kingsford, Coogee and Maroubra or, slightly further away, in Newtown, Surry Hills or Paddington, because of proximity and transport services. Students at NIDA often have to stay late during production and projects times so it is important that transport is available. Some useful websites that list rental agents and/or rental accommodation are:

Seeking share housing

Many students at NIDA find share accommodation in houses and apartments in the surrounding areas. The advantage to share renting is that all costs, rent, electricity, gas etc are shared, reducing the overall cost of living. Share rentals are often advertised on the rental websites given above, but NIDA students also post notices to the student web pages when they are seeking someone to share their accommodation. Students will be able to access these pages as soon as they have accepted their offer of place at NIDA.

Alternatively, there are local, public forums for seeking share-housing independently such as flatmates.com.au and closed Facebook groups such as Eastern Suburbs Housemates and Inner West Housemates (read the guidelines listed and request to join).

For any queries regarding the NIDA Study Abroad program contact us at applications@nida.edu.au.

NIDA Student policies FAQs

Can I defer my studies at NIDA?

Due to the highly competitive nature of NIDA’s admissions process, you must enrol for the year for which you have been offered a place. You cannot defer acceptance of a place. If you want to enrol in a subsequent year, you will need to apply again the following year and go through the audition/interview process again. There is no guarantee that you will be offered a place next time.

A first year student who discontinues a course of study during the year and wishes to return the following year, must re-apply for admission to NIDA in the normal manner. There is no guarantee of re-admission.

Application for leave of absence by continuing students must be made in writing with reasons to the Head of Course for consideration and recommendation to the Director. Approval for leave of absence can only be granted by the Director/CEO. It should be noted that approval for leave of absence will only be granted under exceptional circumstances.

Can students be suspended from NIDA?

In addition to cancellation of enrolment for non-payment of tuition fees, a student’s enrolment at NIDA can be suspended or cancelled on the grounds of misconduct. Refer to the Student Misconduct Procedures below.

Where can I find more information about NIDA Student Policies?

See NIDA Student Policies for more information. 

Fees FAQs

What are the tuition fees for accredited courses?

Full information about tuition fees and FEE-HELP is available under the ‘Fees’ tab on individual course pages. 

Are there any other costs to study at NIDA apart from tuition fees?

There is an optional annual fee of $40 to join the Student Council of NIDA (SCON).While students are provided with the script of any plays they are involved in as part of the NIDA Production Program, students are encouraged to purchase other scripts and textbooks for subjects such as Performance and Ideas.

Acting students must wear “blacks” to class everyday i.e. leotards, jogging pants, sweat pants, simple black tops or T-shirts, so students need to make sure they have at least a couple of sets of blacks to get themselves through the week. Acting students must also supply their own make-up and soft black shoes.

Scenic Construction and Technologies, Design for Performance, Costume, Properties and Objects, Technical Theatre and Stage Management students are required to purchase specific tools and equipment, which should be considered as lifelong investments. Students using workshop spaces are also required to have closed-toe protective footwear. Technical Theatre and Stage Management students should also have a few sets of “blacks” for working on productions.

Design for Performance students are also expected to purchase their own art equipment, drawing paper, cardboard and other material for models and should allow around $1000 for this each year.

To access NIDA wireless (iWIRE) network, students are required to have access to a Laptop (Windows 7 and later), Macbook (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later) or a Tablet (less than three years old with wireless facility). All the devices should comply with 802.11a/b/g/n WPA-Enterprise security.

For file transfers and data backup, a 500GB hard drive or higher and an 8GB USB stick are also recommended, as is a DVD burner, for optimum visual graphics on your computer(Laptop/MacBook/Desktop etc..) a 1GB dedicated graphics card is recommended but not compulsory.

For a full list of additional costs by course please refer to the NIDA Domestic Undergraduate Student Fees Schedule 2019 (PDF 1115KB).

Financial assistance FAQs

Are there scholarships available for studying at NIDA?

NIDA does not offer scholarships that cover the cost of tuition fees. NIDA students, who are Australian citizens, are able to access FEE-HELP loans for assistance with their tuition fees. For more information on FEE-HELP loans see www.studyassist.gov.au.

NIDA offers students the opportunity to apply for financial assistance (bursaries) at the beginning of each year to assist with living costs. The bursaries are made available through the generosity of donors to NIDA and from bequests. Bursaries are paid on a fortnightly basis during the NIDA year, with the value of individual bursaries in 2014 ranging from $1500 annually to $4000 annually, depending on need and the year and course of study. These funds are allocated to students on the basis of financial need, course of study and year of study. Bursaries are only available to students currently enrolled at NIDA.

What other financial assistance is available to undergraduate students?

Eligible students enrolled in NIDA’s undergraduate courses can apply to Centrelink for Austudy, Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY. Visit Centrelink or call 132 490 for more information. 

Is financial assistance available for students in the Master of Fine Arts?

The Master of Fine Arts courses are not approved courses for students to receive Austudy, Youth Allowance (student) and Pensioner Education Supplement through Centrelink. Master of Fine Arts students are eligible to apply for a NIDA bursary

NZ and international students FAQs

Is there a limit on the number of international students accepted each year?

NIDA welcomes applications from international students. While there is no quota for international students, there are limited numbers of students in each course.

What are the English language requirements for international students?

Students must be proficient in written and spoken English, with international applicants required to have an English language proficiency equivalent to an overall band score of IELTS 8.0 for Acting, Directing and Writing for Performance, or IELTS 7.0 for other higher education courses. Information on IELTS and testing centres in your country is available at www.ielts.org.

International applicants who are short-listed for the Acting course after the recall audition must provide evidence of their English language capability by the end of the first week in December in order to be considered in the final selection process. International applications for other courses should bring evidence of their English language capability to their interview.

Where can I find more information about international students at NIDA?

More information about studying as an international student at NIDA can be found at International students

How to apply

New Applicants: Create your application account. You will then be sent an automatic email with your log in details to continue your application.

Returning 2019 applicants: Follow the link to reset your application account password.

Application Process

Application to NIDA is by direct entry. Applicants apply online via the NIDA website.

Entry to the BFA Design for Performance is by interview. Applicants will need to prepare a project prior to their interview - see below for details or download the BFA Application Guide for 2020.

How to apply

There are six steps to successfully applying for a NIDA course:

STEP 1

Create your application account (link to be provided from 1 July).

You will then be sent an automatic email with your log in details to continue your application.

STEP 2

Log in, select the green ‘New Application’ button and complete the online form.

STEP 3

Upload the following documentation to the online form:

  • Evidence of your most recent qualification (e.g. school report, Higher School Certificate, university transcript or testamur).
  • Proof of identification (e.g. passport, driver’s licence, birth certificate; ID must show your date of birth).
  • A passport style photograph (less than six months old, in colour, well lit, plain background).
  • Academic IELTS or equivalent (international applicants only)
  • Any course related documents/portfolios.

STEP 4

Make payment of the AUD$75 administration fee by credit/debit card.

STEP 5

Book your audition or interview date in your nearest capital city.

STEP 6

Attend your audition or interview, having prepared the relevant material for your course.

Interview dates

Below are the expected interview dates for 2019. Please note: NIDA reserves the right to amend and otherwise alter interview dates and locations, subject to minimum applicant numbers per region.

Sydney

w/c 4 November

Brisbane

Saturday 9 November

Melbourne

Monday 11 November

Adelaide

Wednesday 13 November

Perth

Friday 15 November

For all other locations select ‘Other Interstate' when completing the application form and email applications@nida.edu.au to discuss your options.

Your Interview

What to prepare

SUBMIT WITH YOUR APPLICATION

The following may be uploaded with your application:

1. PORTFOLIO

  • You may upload a digital portfolio with your application; otherwise you can bring one with you to your interview. You should prepare examples of past work that you feel will support your application and demonstrate your suitability for a career in design and the arts and entertainment industry. These may include (but are not limited to) photos, life drawings, renders, illustrations, technical drawings, models, sculptures, and paintings. The purpose of the portfolio if to provide an insight into how you think as an artist.
PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW

The following should be prepared in advance to be discussed at your interview.

2. DESIGN PROJECT

  • Select one production from the provided list for your project. Prepare your project according to the requirements and bring it along to your interview for discussion.

What to expect on the day

If interviewing in Sydney, you should be prepared to spend half the day at your interview (i.e. either the morning or the afternoon). Interstate interviews will be scheduled on the hour.

The interview is in two parts:

  • First, there will be a brief talk about NIDA, the Design for Performance course and what will happen during the interview. There will be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about NIDA or about the interview itself.
  • Each applicant will then be interviewed for around 45 minutes. During the interview, we will discuss your project; your ideas about theatre, film and the broader creative industry; and why you want to study Design for Performance at NIDA.

Interview tips

Preparation! The more time and effort you put into the project and interview preparation in advance, the more confident you’ll be and the more you will benefit from the interview and discussion.

Come with a clear idea of why you want to study Design for Performance at NIDA.

Plan your journey to the interview. Give yourself plenty of travel time to allow for delays.

We know that interviews can be stressful, but every effort will be made to ensure your experience will be as interesting and enjoyable as possible. The interview is designed to give you the very best opportunity to show your potential and readiness to study at NIDA.

Design Project Information

Project options

Select one production from the list below for your project. The texts that have been nominated should be readily available from your local library, bookstore, or online. Should you have any difficulty obtaining any of these texts, please contact NIDA.

  • The Golden Age by Louis Nowra (play)
  • Away by Michael Gow (play)
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare (play)
  • Cabaret by John Kander and Fred Ebb (music theatre)

Project requirements

SET DESIGN
  • Prepare a scale model of how you would like to see the production staged (See below to download the plan and section of the theatre).
  • Make your model from any suitable materials that effectively show how you would stage the production in the Parade Theatre at NIDA – common examples are balsa, cardboard or foam-core, but you can choose anything, that is appropriate to communicate your idea (See David Neat’s Model-Making: Materials and Methods, 2008).
  • Use the scale of 1:25 and use a scale rule for accuracy – this is essential.
  • Build the model on a strong base – plywood or thin particleboard.
  • Your model should indicate the colour and finishes of the set.
  • Your model should include at least one human figure (at 1:25 scale) and scale furniture to give a sense of scale.
  • Keep all your research and provide this in a research folder and development sketches etc. as evidence of your process.
COSTUME DESIGN
  • Prepare full colour costume drawings for the central characters in your production (create at least 6 full colour images).
  • Drawings should be on A3 paper.
  • Keep all your research and provide this in a research folder and development sketches etc. as evidence of your process.
DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

Consider the following questions when creating your design and for discussion at interview:

  • Why have you chosen this play/opera/musical? Why is it important to you? Why will audiences want to see it?
  • Text: What ideas is the playwright/librettist trying to express? What relevance does the play/opera/musical have for contemporary Australian audiences?
  • Characters and actors: What kind of people are the characters in the play/opera/musical? In what kind of world do they exist? If you had complete freedom of choice, which actors would you cast in the production?
  • Design: How would you describe the imaginative world of the play/opera/musical? Where is it located? In what period/time is the production based? Is the story told in real time, or over a broken time frame?
  • Costume, sets, lighting and props: What is required in each of these areas?
  • (For guidance on how to develop a design, please see Stephen Curtis’s STAGING IDEAS: Set and Costume Design for Theatre, 2014)

Bring your entire project along to the interview – do not send it in advance.

Theatre plans

Download the theatre design documents you will need for your project here.

Theatre Plan (PDF 1.6MB)

Theatre Section (PDF 1.3MB)

Advanced standing

The collaborative nature of NIDA's conservatoire training means that NIDA does not encourage advanced standing/academic credit/recognition of prior learning, particularly for discipline based subjects. However a student can apply for academic credit or recognition of prior learning at the time of enrolment. Details are available on the student policies page.

See definitions for common terminology (PDF, 33KB).

Student profile

The table below gives an indication of the educational backgrounds of the 2019 commencing undergraduate BFA peer cohort in all disciplines at NIDA.
It should be noted that as selection and admission to courses at NIDA is based on merit the statistics below may not be indicative of the educational backgrounds of commencing cohorts on a year to year basis.

Applicant BackgroundNumber of studentsPercentage of all students
(A) Past higher education study7 11.1%
(B) Past Vocational Education and Training study2539.7%
(C) Recent secondary education
Admitted on basis of other criteria and ATAR was not a factor
2438.1%
(D) Work and life experience5 7.9%
International students2 3.2%
All students63 100%

L/N - Low numbers: the number of students is less than 5.
N/P - Not published: the number is hidden to prevent calculation of numbers in cells with less than 5 students.

Student work

See some of our students' work from productions, events, rehearsals, classwork and student projects.

Careers

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Design for Performance) you will have the necessary skills and knowledge required to succeed across the multidisciplinary field of design. Our graduates have won numerous Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, AACTA Awards, APDG Awards, Green Room and Sydney Theatre Awards. They have designed for Aquaman, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Matrix, Romeo + Juliet, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and 2, Watchmen, 300, Garden State, The Favourite, Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!, Jindabyne, 21 Grams and more.

Potential careers
  • Stage and screen set/production designer
  • Stage and screen costume designer
  • Art director
  • Lighting designer
  • Properties designer
  • Event designer

See NIDA's list of Alumni.

Further Info

For more info, check the course guide (PDF, 2.5MB)

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact:

Email: applications@nida.edu.au

Phone: +61 (02) 9697 7614
+61 (02) 9697 7611
+61 (02) 9697 7654

Mail:

Applications
NIDA
215 Anzac Parade
Kensington NSW 2033

Further information:

NIDA Undergraduate and Graduate policies and procedures
Commonwealth Register
National Register of Higher Education Providers

Read more about Dr Julie Lynch, Director Centre for Design Practices.

Page functions