Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University is one of the world’s leading performing arts academies.
WAAPA is recognised nationally and internationally for the quality of its graduates. It provides the most comprehensive range of performing arts training in Australia – both on stage and behind the scenes.
Entry into each course is competitive, and prospective students undertake an audition and/or an interview as part of the application process.
Music Theatre graduate Lucy Durack to start in Legally Blonde musical
Made famous by Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 film, the role will be a tour de force for Lucy Durack, who graduated from WAAPA's Music Theatre course in 2002.
"Lucy Durack proved with Wicked she is one of Australia's top musical theatre performers. With her fabulous voice and comic timing, Lucy is the ideal choice as Australia's Elle Woods," said producer John Frost.
The musical comedy tells the story of sorority queen and Southern Californian social butterfly Elle, who defies the odds and enrols at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner and then goes on to represent her fitness idol Brooke Wyndham.
Adele gives Perth guitarist dream gig
When Perth guitarist and WAAPA Jazz graduate Tim van der Kuil first met Adele, the best-selling singer made him a cup of tea.
The 43-year-old was playing guitar with Sydney-born artist Daniel Merriweather at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London three years ago when Adele, who sang on Merriweather's 2009 album Love and War, turned up backstage. A little over a year later, the WAAPA graduate, who left Perth in 1991 to pursue his rock'n'roll dream, was playing in Adele's band.
Van der Kuil says the chartbusting English songstress was hunting a second guitarist for the world tour in support of her record-breaking second album, 21, so she instructed her management to track down the Aussie from Merriweather's band.
Jai Courtney lands Die Hard 5 lead
Following a global casting search spanning several months, WAAPA Acting graduate Jai Courtney has secured the coveted role of Jack McClane, the son of Bruce Willis' iconic action hero, in 20th Century Fox's fifth instalment of the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard.
The role was highly sought-after, with actors Aaron Paul, James Badge Dale, Paul Walker, and Milo Ventimiglia in contention for the part. In the end, it was down to Courtney and Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth.
After graduating from WAAPA in 2008, Courtney played guest star roles on television series Packed to the Rafters and All Saints before winning a Theatre Critics Award as Best Newcomer for his performance in The Turning for the Perth Theatre Company. In 2009, he landed the role of Varro in the international television hit, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Last year, Courtney starred opposite Tom Cruise in One Shot, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and opposite Aaron Eckhart in I, Frankenstein.
Matilda leads race for UK's Olivier Awards
Broadway-bound show Matilda The Musical has ten nominations for British theatre's 2012 Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.
Based on Roald Dahl's tale of an extraordinary little girl from an ordinary family, the show is nominated in every possible category. Written by the playwright Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Australian comedian/composer and WAAPA Contemporary Music graduate, Tim Minchin, Matilda was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has announced it plans to open it in New York early next year.
Graduate success snapshots
- WAAPA Composition graduate Elliot Hughes (2009) won the Jazz category of the 2011 WAMI Awards, while Matt Mclean, Kevin Penkin, Sam Wylde and Benjamin Hoare – all WAAPA Composition/Music graduates – were also nominated for awards.
- For the second year in a row, two sculptures by 2009 Design graduate Matthew McVeigh were chosen for the annual Sculpture by the Sea at Perth's Cottesloe Beach. The New Covenant utilised the sun to create a prismatic rainbow between two shopping trolleys, while Covenant Under Question? portrayed a neon rainbow sitting between two melting shopping trolleys. McVeigh's work also featured in a group art exhibition entitled Young Guns at Linton and Kay Contemporary gallery in Subiaco.
- WAAPA Acting graduates, Jimi Bani (2007), Kate Jenkinson (2004) and James Mackay (2008) appeared in the ABC's 10-part television drama series The Straits. Bani also starred in the ABC TV/Blackfella Films telemovie Mabo, in which Bani stars as Eddie Mabo alongside Deborah Mailman, Colin Friels, Miranda Otto and fellow WAAPA graduates William McInnes (1988) and Ewen Leslie (2000).
- Music Theatre graduate Jared Newall (2006), who joined the Ten Tenors in May 2011, returned to Perth at the end of 2011 when the Australian rock-opera touring group performed at the Burswood Theatre. The Ten Tenors, who perform about 250 shows a year, have sold more than four million tickets around the world, and released 10 studio albums and five live DVDs in their 11-year history.
- WAAPA Acting graduate Scott Sheridan’s (2009) short film, Unwanted Friend, directed by fellow Acting graduate Matt Levett (2009) and made with a group of WAAPA graduates, made the final 16 shortlist for Tropfest 2012.
- Music graduate and French horn player Stephanie Davis (2011) was awarded Edith Cowan University's 2011 Faculty Medal (Education and Arts) for outstanding scholarship. Honours Composition student Suzanne Kosowitz was also presented with an award for being one of the University's Top 100 students.
- 2008 Acting WAAPA graduate Georgina Haig completed two weeks filming on the American science fiction television series, Fringe. Created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurzman and Roberto Orci in 2008, the Fox network series is currently filming its fifth season.
- The song cycle City of Shadows, composed by WAAPA Performing Arts graduate Rachael Dease (2007), won the inaugural Marin Sims Award for most promising Western Australian work. Fringe World Award judges described the work as "devastatingly moving and breath-takingly beautiful". The work also took out this year's RTRfm Music Award.
"If I had to choose one word that describes this fantastic program, it would be ‘opportunity’."
"WAAPA's exemplary staff and state-of-the-art facilities provided me with an excellent environment in which to develop new skills and improve on existing ones. The Bachelor of Dance program allowed me to be trained and taught by industry professionals. Throughout my time at WAAPA, I received many opportunities that have helped me to establish a career in dance."
Bachelor of Dance graduate
Award Wins for Student Designer Keep Coming
In 2011, WAAPA Costume student Nicole Marrington took out first prize in the category of Costume Couture in the Student Runway competition, held as part of the 2011 Perth Fashion Festival. Nicole was also a winner of The Carton mentorship program at the WA Fashion Awards.
For Nicole, winning the awards has been a dream come true and has furthered her passion to pursue a career in costume design.
Showcasing your talent
Each year students, staff, and critically acclaimed guest artists collaborate to present over 300 performances across a range of concerts, plays, dance, music theatre, opera and film.
Many of these take place in WAAPA's own performance venues at our Mount Lawley Campus.
Exciting community partnerships also enable WAAPA to perform in a diverse range of spaces in the Perth metropolitan area and beyond.
See the WAAPA events calendar for upcoming performances!
WAAPA graduates excel in their chosen professions around the world.
Arts management, production and design graduates hold positions across a breadth of performing arts companies, festivals, venues, film, television, major events, arts organisations and teaching institution around the globe.
Many graduates are highly celebrated, such as Hugh Jackman, Tim Minchin and Lucy Durack, and those that may not be as well‑known are still leading lives of artistic passion and great commitment.
"My time at ECU has been extremely challenging and rewarding."
"WAAPA brings in world renowned artists to perform and give workshops to its students. Some of my proudest moments at WAAPA have been playing alongside musicians such as George Garzone and Katie Noonan."
Bachelor of Music (Jazz Performance)