• Staging students building a revolving set
  • Staging students wiring a motor
  • Staging student sawing wood
  • Two storey stage with balcony resembling old architecture

BFA (Scenic Construction and Technologies)

CRICOS CODE 083700G

Applications to study at NIDA in 2020 are now closed.

Express interest for 2021

Contact NIDA

About the course

The only set construction and supervision course of its kind offered in Australia, and one of only a few available worldwide, this internationally recognised course is immersive and practice-based.

The course equips students with an understanding of all aspects of staging, to create the environments in which performances take place including current staging practice, stage engineering, stage rigging and automation, and risk and project management, as well as a broader theoretical and contextual knowledge of theatre, arts and culture.

During their first year, students study timber and metal fabrication, rigging, mechanics, drafting, computer-aided design and stage machinery, among other related areas.

In their second year, students design and realise solutions to specified staging challenges, and explore the world of automation and control.

In their third year, students act as construction managers or technical managers for the Seasons of Student Productions, working alongside fellow students to bring scenic concepts to life.

Industry placements with a leading production company give students hands-on experience, a broader understanding of the live performance industry, and a chance to create contacts and networks for their future professional development.

Learn more about Nicholas Day, Production Manager, Course Leader Scenic Construction and Technologies and Lynsey Brown, Lecturer Scenic Construction & Technologies.

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. 

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
  • Materials and structures
  • Stage rigging
  • Venue architecture
  • Project management
  • Stage Machinery and CAD
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Participation in NIDA production
  • Individual and group projects

Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio

SEMESTER ONE

SCT7101A SCENIC CONSTRUCTION & TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO (25 credit points)

SCT7101A Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio is a foundation subject which includes the study of Materials and Structures, Tools and Machines, Stage Machinery, Rigging, CAD drafting their principles and practice in the performing arts as well as Project Management and Freehand Drawing.  It introduces the students to hands on experience in carpentry and metal fabrication techniques and investigates the properties, strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of set construction materials as well as looking at basic rigging and mechanical components and their uses.

SEMESTER TWO

SCT7101B SCENIC CONSTRUCTION & TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO (25 credit points)

SCT7101B Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio continues from SCT7101A Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio forming a framework of foundation knowledge and skills which furthers the study of materials and structures, mechanics, rigging, CAD drafting and stage machinery as well as introducing students to venue architecture, risk management and Work, Health and Safety. It asks the students to draw on knowledge and skills learnt in SCT7101A Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio to investigate and construct solutions to simple stage mechanical scenarios. Students also examine the performance space both in terms of its function and design as well as from a work safety point of view.

Scenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

SCT7102A INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (20 credit points)

SCT7102A Interdisciplinary Collaboration involves the student in the creation of sets for the NIDA Play Production program and credited as Set Construction Assistant in the Production Program. The NIDA play production process attempts to create an experience as close to industry as possible, while still allowing space for learning and revision and examining the performance space both in terms of its function and design as well as from a work health and safety point of view. Following sessions previously taught in Semester 1, first session in the basic concepts and skills required to make scenery, manage time and finances and the safe and efficient use of workshop resources, the students work on a specific production in the role of Sets Assistant. They will be under the supervision of Staging teaching staff and will also support a 3rd year staging student in the realisation of a MFA design student’s set design. In addition students also work as crew on the performances.

SEMESTER TWO

SCT7102B INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (20 credit points)

SCT7102B Interdisciplinary Collaboration involves the student in the creation of sets for the NIDA Play Production program and credited as Staging Assistant in the Production Program. The NIDA play production process attempts to create an experience as close to industry as possible, while still allowing space for learning and revision and examining the performance space both in terms of its function and design as well as from a work health and safety point of view. Following sessions previously taught in Semester 1 Production Program A, the basic concepts and skills required to make scenery, manage time and finances and the safe and efficient use of workshop resources, the students develop and demonstrate their skills by integrating their work and assigning on a specific production in the role of Sets Assistant. They will be under the supervision of Staging teaching staff and will also support a 3rd year staging student in the realisation of a MFA design student’s set design. In addition students also work as crew on the performances.

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
  • Power, data and control systems
  • Technical design and consulting
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Given and self derived projects
  • Production supervision

Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio

SEMESTER ONE

SCT7201A SCENIC CONSTRUCTION & TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO (30 credit points)

SCT7201A Studio comprises Electrical Engineering Basics, Power Generation and Distribution, Data and Control, as well as Rigging for the Stage and Stage Machinery. It involves the students in the automation of staging components and familiarizes them with the conversion of electrical and fluid energy into mechanical energy for the purpose of actuating stage effects. Students will create and power mechanisms in the workshop with the view to later program and control them in SCT7201B. Students will also assemble pendulum and tracked human fly rigs and take turns counterweighting and flying each other in order to gain a familiarity with effect flying practice.

SEMESTER TWO

SCT7201B SCENIC CONSTRUCTION & TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO (20 credit points)

SCT7201B draws on skills and knowledge attained throughout the course and asks the student to integrate them in a Technical Design and Computers and the Stage project. The project should investigate solutions to a staging problem, whether it be structural or mechanical. It may be existing technologies using new materials. It also introduces the students to methods of controlling staging systems using electro-mechanical devices and computers.

Scenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

SCT7202A INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (10 credit points)

This is an applied research practicum subject. Under the guidance of tutors, students research and develop areas of specialist interest within technical staging. To inform this research, students may observe and participate in approved projects either within and/or beyond NIDA campus. The parallel subject, Professional Practice, supports students’ increased knowledge through facilitation of visits to and by Industry leaders within the chosen specialisation.

SEMESTER TWO

SCT7202B INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (20 credit points)

This subject involves the Scenic Construction and Technologies students with the MFA Directors’ program and sees the students take part in two distinct projects.

The first involves the realisation of a performance art piece / installation, devised and staged in cohort with the Directing students.

The second places the Scenic Construction and Technologies student in the role of construction manager under the supervision of the Head of Staging. The students put into practice the skills and processes that they were introduced to in Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio. The students engage in the full production process from initial design consultations through the planning, construction and rehearsal process to technical rehearsals, performance and bump-outs.

The subject presents students with experience of working as a team with the production manager and construction manager to interact and negotiate design outcomes.

Scenic Construction and Technologies Professional Practice

SEMESTER ONE

SCT7203A PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (5 credit points)

In this subject the student takes on the role of technical consultant and is involved in the creation and presentation of technical design solutions to a group of tutors who take on various roles within a creative production environment. Through this hypothetical production exercise, students experience professional relationships and the expectations of the client as well as negotiate outcomes given a previously agreed set of deliverables.

SEMESTER TWO

SCT7203B PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (5 credit points)

This subject incorporates industry involvement to expose the student to the role of stage mechanical and automation consultancy in the context of venues. This subject tests the students’ vocational literacy, asking them to apply knowledge and skills and present costed solutions in a work environment.

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
  • Completing a technical masterwork
  • Undertaking industry placement
  • Work on two NIDA productions
Delivery mode
  • Classes
  • Independent project work
  • Industry placement

Scenic Construction and Technologies Studio

SEMESTER ONE

STG7301A SCENIC CONSTRUCTION & TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO (30 credit points)

SC&T7301A Scenic Construction & Technologies Studio comprises students' Masterwork Research and Development and with the support of their coordinator students define their own brief that prescribes and informs the realisation of a ‘masterwork’. Students will chose, in collaboration with their Head of Course, an area of the Scenic Construction & Technologies field which they would like to investigate in depth. Students will be guided by staff or industry mentors who will provide the student with advice on project scope and process. It is envisaged that the student will present a fully costed and scheduled project plan by the end of Semester 5 Week 20.

SEMESTER TWO

STG7301B SCENIC CONSTRUCTION & TECHNOLOGIES STUDIO (30 credit points)

SC&T7301B Scenic Construction & Technologies Studio comprises Studio Created Masterwork. Having had their Masterwork proposal accepted in semester 5, students spend the 1st session of their semester six realising their project they documented in SCT7201A. Using an allocated budget and NIDA workshop resources as well as any industry relationships that may be necessary, the student will create prototypes or scale models to illustrate their masterwork design. The subject is predominantly self-directed with timetabled tutorial time each week for the coordinator to assist the student in steering the project.

Scenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration

SEMESTER ONE

STG7302A INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (20 credit points)

SEMESTER TWO

STG7302B INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION (20 credit points)

This subject presents students with the experience of working in a team as Technical Manager or Construction Manager and to interact with colleagues from all disciplines and negotiate design outcomes on an allocated production. The production chosen can be negotiated with the head of course to maximise students' learning potential.

Scenic Construction and Technologies Professional Practice

SEMESTER ONE

STG7303A PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (10 credit points)

SCT7303A instills students with the non-discipline specific skills and knowledge they will require to successfully pursue careers within a professional artistic environment. Secondly, it commences the introduction and integration of the students into professional industries, networks and communities. This purpose is achieved through a combination of formal information sessions and forums, as well as through experiential and immersive learning opportunities, many of which involve substantial levels of industry collaboration. These approaches coalesce in the inculcating of practical skills and knowledge, whilst also providing students with a broader contextualisation, understanding and experience of the live performance industry. The knowledge and skills acquired by students are assessed through a variety of exercises that also provide them with practical documentation, knowledge and tools that can be utilised after graduation. Further evaluation occurs through a formal feedback process that incorporates the observations and opinions of industry collaborators and professional mentors.

SEMESTER TWO

STG7303B PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (15 credit points)

During 3rd Year there are seven weeks available for the student to work in the industry with a company of their choosing (secondment). This period may be broken up into smaller grabs if the student so wishes however it is advised that three weeks would be a minimum stay. The student can opt to take their secondment(s) at any time of the academic year as long as they keep themselves available for their other subjects and commitments to the play production program.

Admissions Criteria

Essential requirements for admission

Admission Criteria – Undergraduate (BFA courses)

NIDA uses direct application to the provider via the NIDA website

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

ENTRY IS BY MERIT SELECTION

For all domestic applicants including:

  • Applicants who have previous higher education study
  • Applicants who have vocational education and training
  • Work and life experience (having left school more than two years)
  • Recent secondary education applicants
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants

NIDA's general entry requirements for accredited courses are as follows:

  • Have completed a High School Certificate or equivalent qualification at the end of high school for undergraduate courses
  • Be 18 years of age by 31 March in the first year of enrolment for domestic students in undergraduate programs
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • 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.

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

For all International Students NIDA's general entry requirements for accredited courses are as follows:

  • have completed the equivalent of a Year 12/final year of high school qualification
  • have an English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 with no band score less than 6.0 (IELTS 8.0 for BFA (Acting)).
  • be18 years at date of enrolment for international students.
  • 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.

Selection Criteria – Undergraduate (BFA courses)

ENTRY IS BY MERIT SELECTION

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

We select students who:

  • demonstrate commitment and motivation 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

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.

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.

How to apply

Application Process

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

Entry to the BFA Scenic Construction and Technologies 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

NIDA uses direct application to the provider via the NIDA website

There are eight (8) steps to successfully applying for a NIDA course:

STEP 1

Download the Application Guide for the year.

STEP 2

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 3

Log in to the account you have set up and select the ‘New Application’ button and complete the online form.

STEP 4

Complete the form and 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 5

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

STEP 6

Book your audition or interview date in your nearest capital city from the dates offered in the application portal.

STEP 7

Prepare for your audition/interview by preparing your monologue and duologue or by preparing your application project and or portfolio

STEP 8

Attend your audition or interview, having prepared the relevant material/projects for your course as outlined in the current Application Guide.

Offers

There is one major round of offers.
Offers are made after the auditions and interviews are finished.
You will be called if you are being offered a place and will then receive a formal offer via email.
You must accept or decline your offer by the date indicated on the offer letter.

Short list and possible second rounds
If you are on a short list you will be notified that you are on a short list by phone.
If a first-round offer is not accepted a short listed applicant may receive an offer via email.

Enrolment

Once an applicant has accepted an offer, enrolment is done via accessing your student account online. NIDA administrative staff will contact you throughout January with key information about fees, concession cards, student identity cards , your orientation (Welcome Week) and other useful information.

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.

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 11 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 the arts and entertainment industry. These may include (but are not limited to) photos, freehand drawings, technical drawings, models, mechanisms, woodwork or metalwork projects. The purpose of the portfolio if to provide an insight into how you think as a practitioner.
PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW

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

2. QUESTIONNAIRE

3. PRODUCTION 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.

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 Servant of Two Masters by Nick Enright and Ron Blair (play)
  • Blackrock by Nick Enright (play)
  • Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad (play)
  • Don’s Party by David Williamson (play)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (play)
  • Carmen by Georges Bizet (opera)
  • Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weikk (opera)
  • Cabaret by John Kander and Fred Ebb (music theatre)

Prepare a description of how you would stage your chosen production. The description can use words, photographs, drawings and diagrams, as well as digital files.

Consider the following for discussion at your interview:

  • What style, period and/or concept you would choose to set the production in, and why.
  • A scene, act, or elemental transition you think would benefit from the use of an automated or mechanical stage effect.
  • How would you go about achieving this effect? This description can include diagrams and/or photographs.
  • What safety considerations do you think need to be considered?

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

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 Scenic Construction and Technologies 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 30 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 Scenic Construction and Technologies 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 Scenic Construction and Technologies 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.

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.

What does it take to put on a show?

Take a peek behind the curtain to see how our students collaborate each year on our June and October Student Production seasons.

Student work

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

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).

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*
BFA (Scenic Construction and Technologies)Three years$14,640.00$43,920.00

Domestic tuition fee details

Year 1, 2020
Subject codeSubjectCredit pointsEFTSL**Tuition fee*
Semester 1, 2020    
SCT7101AScenic Construction and Technologies Studio250.208$3,050.00
SCT7102AScenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration200.167$2,440.00
COM7101APerformance and Ideas100.083$1,220.00
COM7103AStudent-led Projects50.042$610.00
Total for Semester 1, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Semester 2, 2020    
SCT7101BScenic Construction and Technologies Studio250.208$3,050.00
SCT7102BScenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration200.167$2,440.00
COM7101BPerformance and Ideas100.083$1,220.00
COM7102BIntroduction to Collaboration50.042$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    
SCT7201AScenic Construction and Technologies Studio300.25$3,660.00
SCT7202AScenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration100.083$1,220.00
SCT7203AScenic Construction and Technologies Professional Practice50.042$610.00
COM7201APerformance and Ideas100.083$1,220.00
COM7203AStudent-led Projects50.042$610.00
Total for Semester 1, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Semester 2, 2020    
SCT7201BScenic Construction and Technologies Studio200.167$2,440.00
SCT7202BScenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration200.167$2,440.00
SCT7203BScenic Construction and Technologies Professional Practice50.042$610.00
COM7201BPerformance and Ideas100.083$1,220.00
COM7203BStudent-led Projects50.042$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    
STG3201AScenic Construction and Technologies Studio300.25$3,660.00
STG7302AScenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration200.167$2,440.00
STG7303AScenic Construction and Technologies Professional Practice100.083$1,220.00
Total for Semester 1, 2020 600.5$7,320.00
Semester 2, 2020    
STG7301BScenic Construction and Technologies Studio250.208$3,050.00
STG7302BScenic Construction and Technologies Interdisciplinary Collaboration200.167$2,440.00
STG7303BScenic Construction and Technologies Professional Practice150.125$1,830.00
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 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

While NIDA supplies access to power tools we recommend that you come with a basic tool kit including:

Compulsory WH&S equipment and tools

  • Respirator mask + filter (e.g. 3M Tekk half face respirator from Bunnings, or similar)
  • 8M metric tape measure
  • Claw hammer
  • Combination square
  • Pincers
  • Pair of combination pliers
  • Stanley knife
  • Tool belt
  • Adjustable spanner (200mm)
  • General purpose leather work gloves
  • Pair of safety specs
  • Calculator (preferably scientific)
  • Ear defenders (ear plugs are supplied)*
  • Set of bevel edge chisels ¼ , ½, ¾, 1”*
  • Panel saw 20” hard point*
  • Tennon saw*
  • Cordless drill including Phillips bits #2*
  • Block plane*
  • Machinist scriber*
  • Engineers square*
  • Bevel gauge*

* Please note these tools can be purchased through NIDA at a later date

Drawing Equipment  

  • Scale ruler (must have 1:25, 1:50, 1:10)
  • Adjustable set square
  • Protractor
  • Drawing pencils (B, 2B, HB, H, 1H, 2H)
  • Rubber and sharpener
  • Compass

Other

  • A4 pad or ring binder (plain and lined) for your journal entries
  • USB flash drive for backing up personal files
  • Padlock (for the tool storage space provided)
  • Personal camera/phone camera to document your work in progress (NIDA does have professional DSLRs for documenting completed projects) 

Required Clothing

Suitable clothing is required which includes sturdy closed toe shoes, we recommend steep caps boots or trainers.

Shortly after arriving at NIDA you will be required to have a set of black clothes (i.e. Long sleeved black top, long black trousers and black shoes) 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.

Careers

As a graduate of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Scenic Construction and Technologies) you will have the necessary skills and knowledge required to succeed across the multidisciplinary field of scenic construction. Our graduates have been employed by Opera Australia, Sydney Theatre Company, Stagekings Australia, ASAP London, Henn Projekt Germany, Simple Motion, The Australian Ballet, MnR Constructions and more.

Potential careers

  • Staging technician
  • Technical manager
  • Technical designer
  • Art installer
  • Special effects designer
  • Systems integrator
  • Automation technician

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

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

Read more about Nicholas Day, Production Manager, Course Leader Scenic Construction and Technologies.


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