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  • Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts

    Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts

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.

Acting grad portrays wikileaks founder in Underground

At just 21, WAAPA Acting graduate Alex Williams looks "destined to be one of Australia’s top young actors" according to Channel 10 among others.

Scoring the role of the infamous Julian Assange in Underground: The Julian Assange Story, as his first on screen role since leaving WAAPA was something Williams "never dreamed's amazing – I'm stoked." he says.

"It was my very first audition, so I never expected I'd get it. I had a good connection with (director) Rob Connolly, and they had Anthony LaPaglia and Rachel Griffiths on board, so they knew they could take a risk on a complete unknown."

"First you find out you’re playing Julian Assange, which is a pretty big deal in the first place, then you find out that Rachel Griffiths is your mother and you're being chased by Anthony LaPaglia! It's a dream come true."

Stage Management student is a vocational success

WAAPA Stage Management student Stephen Moore received the prestigious 2012 WA Vocational Student of the Year award. Stephen's passion for theatre saw him move to Perth and take on the challenge of coordinating action from behind the scenes, exploring the technical production and delivery of performances.

Whilst at WAAPA, Stephen undertook numerous placements in WA and interstate and worked on productions such as Mary Poppins, The Swimming Club, Wicked, Twelfth Night and Arcadia. On graduating, he gained employment with The Melbourne Theatre Company.

Moody Christmas

Ian Meadows, a 2005 graduate of WAAPA, starred as Dan Moody in the ABC's A Moody Christmas. The show, which received three AACTA nominations at this year's awards including Best Screenplay in Television and Best Television Comedy Series, follows the adventures of Meadows' character Dan, the prodigal son, who returns home from London to spend each Christmas with his dysfunctional family.

Meadows' other roles since graduating from the acting program at WAAPA include Rocco Cooper in Home and Away, The Shark Net, Elliot in Tripping Over, Jeff Weiss on All Saints, the short films Brothers, Legacy, Water, Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo, East West 101, Rush, as well as the feature film Mao's Last Dancer and the Spielberg produced mini-series The Pacific in which he played Pvt. Cecil Evans. Meadows is also a writer, having written episodes for Spirited, Slide and Offspring.

The best thing I could have done for myself

"It is no wonder that some of Australia’s finest actors studied at WAAPA. Studying there was the best thing I could have done for myself."

"It provided me with every opportunity to improve my skills, to take risks with my acting and work with some amazing people. I feel so lucky to have trained there."

Lizzie Schebesta
WAAPA, Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Acting) graduate

WAAPA graduate hits the West End

Jamie Ward, a graduate of WAAPA's Acting course, has taken over the role of Marius in the London West End Production of Les Miserables which runs at the Queen's theatre, until mid June 2013.

Ward has previously been seen in Australia in the musicals Spring Awakening (Hanschen) for the Sydney Theatre Company and Dr Zhivago (Young Yurii Zhivago) for the Gordon Frost Organisation.

While performing as a finalist at the Rob Guest Endowment in 2011, Ward was asked what his dream role would be, this is what he had to say: "I told them it was Marius. It is a dream role, because he represents everything that a young man deals with when he enters the real world. So many questions, so few answers, but a whole lot of determination and faith."

Goodbye Cirque

2005 WAAPA Music graduate Marcus Perrozzi will be ending his run with Cirque du Soleil's Dralion this year as their tour draws to an end. This will see the show complete 2 years and 2 months of touring arenas in USA, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Dubai, UAE – scaling the globe across 3 continents.

The show is described as "Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil. It draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature."

During his run with Cirque du Soleil, Perrozzi said of his time there "I am still loving bringing this ever-evolving showcase of live performance to thousands of people each week. Typically we perform seven shows in a different city every week. So we have covered a lot of ground here in North America and I can honestly say I'm still living my dream."

Carving out a niche

With a passion for design and architecture and an obsession with plywood, 2005 Performance Design graduate Claude Marcos, has carved his name as one of the country's leading set and costume designers, winning the Best Stage Design in a Mainstream Production at the Sydney Theatre Awards on 14 January.

Claude was recognised for his work on Thyeste, presented by Sydney Festival and Belvoir in association with Carriageworks. It was originally created by THE HAYLOFT PROJECT – a Malthouse commission. With a unique blend of theatricality and sophisticated knowledge of space he has produced bold award-winning designs for clients such as Sydney Theatre Company, Perth Theatre Company, Foxtel, UNIMA, Malthouse Theatre and BMF.

Since graduating from WAAPA, Claude has been the Artistic Associate at the Hayloft Project in Melbourne. He has also designed a number of productions including: Thom Pain (based on nothing) (Arts Radar with B Sharp); The Duel (Sydney Theatre Company/ThinIce); Rhinoceros (Union House Theatre), Woyzeck and Honour (Black Swan State Theatre Company); The Goat or Who is Sylvia?, Loveplay, Glorious! and Speed-the-Plow (Perth Theatre Company); The Goose Chase and Red Shoes (ThinIce).

Graduate Snapshots

2012 was a big year for Acting graduate Abby Earl. Having only completed her WAAPA studies a few months earlier, Abby spent the beginning of the year preparing for her role in the Channel 9 telemovie The Great Mint Swindle. Shortly after, she was unveiled as part of the cast for The Seven Network's new period drama A Place to Call Home which airs in 2013.

Just one year out of WAAPA, Arts Management graduate Ella McNeil has landed her dream job as Director of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, which is a national festival, based in Melbourne. Ella is passionate about working in the arts, but was particularly seeking a humanitarian role. Prior to this appointment Ella worked in Ireland, with the Royal Shakespeare Company, followed by a stint at the iconic Lincoln Center in New York.

WAAPA Dance graduate Charmene Yap won the Award for Best Female Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre work at the 2012 Helpmann Awards for her performance in Sydney Dance Company’s 2 One Another. Yap has worked with some of the most prestigious choreographers and companies in Australia and internationally, including Dancenorth, Chunky Move and Lucy Guerin. Described at the awards as having "breathtaking fluidity, grace and musicality", Yap's "intelligence as a dancer makes her utterly compelling to watch.”"

Star graduates

WAAPA graduates are in high demand and excel in their chosen professions. Some are highly celebrated, such as Hugh Jackman, Tim Minchin, Emma Matthews, William McInnes and Lucy Durack, whilst many, who may not be quite as well-known, lead lives of artistic passion and make a huge contribution to the performing arts and allied industries.

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 ECU's 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!


"I decided on completion of my Bachelor of Music, that my depth of skill and artistic development was incomplete to enter a professional and international arena. This motivated me to undertake a Master of Arts (Creative Arts) in the area Classical Voice, which enabled me to grow immensely as a musician and performer. It brought to my attention the varied elements of opera as an art form (as well as the subtleties of performance) and commenced my journey as an artist. It was a huge realisation that a life of a performer is that of an eternal student. My training at WAAPA has provided me with the ability to conquer my fears, and to obtain a real picture of my strengths and weaknesses. My greatest achievements are all of the performances I have given during my time at WAAPA, as I have learnt something from all of them."

Caitlin Cassidy
Master of Arts (Creative Arts) student

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