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Elevate your directing career through authentic learning

Wednesday, 06 December 2017

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Are you looking to expand your directorial practice through elevated examination and first-hand experience? Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) is now taking applications for Masters of Arts: Performing Arts, Directing and Theatre-Making Stream. The MA is a two-year, full-time Master by Research program for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in the arts.

‘The great thing about having a Masters is that it’s really expected if you do any kind of international work – if you travel and work they’re all asking for a Masters Degree – in the States or England,’ explained Andrew Lewis, Associate Dean, WAAPA.

Lewis spoke to ArtsHub from Canada, where he is working on a project. He said that a Masters Degree at WAAPA not only elevates your international reputation but also enables students to critically think about the world they live in, and what they want to express to the world. 'We take you into other worlds such as philosophy – essentially a higher degree of thinking.’

Current student, Julia Jarel, reflected on her Masters journey at WAAPA. She explained the teaching methods of the Masters course allowed her to explore her craft and work with other disciplines.

‘The directors' course at WAAPA has had a profound effect on me, professionally and personally, academically and practically. It has underpinned my previous and ongoing experience as a director with an enriching base of profound historic and contemporary knowledge and ideas.'

Jarel continued, ‘It has also offered numerous practical opportunities to develop and expand my directorial skill base by providing opportunities to meet and work with a vast array of other directors and theatre professionals in authentic, collaborative settings.’

Lewis explained, ‘'As a Masters student you can access all our courses in the undergraduate level. You could work into the Acting Program, or the Music Theatre Program and the Dance Programs.'

This cross-collaboration allows students to work with each other, thus strengthening industry relationships and encouraging positive exchange. ‘So you may direct a play with the acting students who are doing an under graduate degree,’ Lewis said.

Critical thinking fused with practical experience

‘What we try to do at WAAPA is something called authentic learning, and that is simulating real life situations. Encountering what you would in theatre, television, radio, broadcasting or film. We have got theatre studios, sound stages, broadcasting units, sound suits and WAAPA have simulated industry practice as much as we can,’ said Lewis.

Dedicated professors like Lewis often work as sessional teachers. This allows for professors and teachers to maintain a thriving career in the industry, and at the same time gives them the ability to impart their tried and tested wisdom on their students.

‘We allow students to be creative and take risks, without falling over because they don’t have to appease a client, or work for a network. But we still have deadlines and challenges which is great for their learning. So we have created an environment where they are safe enough to play and be creative and take risks – without the pressure of having to deliver to a real contract.

Former Directing graduate, Will O'Mahony, said: 'The directing course at WAAPA gave me the best possible blend of theory and practice. Supported by world class staff, having access to the rehearsal rooms of acclaimed visiting international artists, and being handed the responsibility to direct some of the country's most promising young actors put me in a great position to attack the professional industry with confidence.'

If you’re interested in studying Masters of Arts: Performing Arts Directing and Theatre-Making at WAAPA, visit our Masters of Arts study areas web page.

Here you’ll find information about this and related courses, including videos and galleries about our facilities, our students and our lecturers.

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