Thursday, 21 March 2019
Australian musician, composer, songwriter, actor, comedian and writer Dr Tim Minchin has received an honorary doctorate from Edith Cowan University (ECU).
Returning to the University's Mount Lawley Campus for the ceremony, Dr Minchin originally studied Contemporary Music at ECU's Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) between 1997 and 1998.
Today, Dr Minchin received a Doctorate of Performing Arts honoris causa in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the performing arts.
At the ceremony in the ECU Spiegeltent, he delivered an impassioned speech to an audience of performing arts students, staff and guests.
"I am so grateful for the two years I spent here. It's almost impossible to measure the value that diploma gave me," Dr Minchin said.
"Much of what they were teaching me I couldn't get at the time but unconsciously I put the info on some shelf in my brain to be picked up and properly examined later when I had more time and was feeling less stubborn. I learnt musical tools, performance tools, I learnt to respect time, I learnt to listen, I learnt resilience, I learnt that dominant 13 shape. That’s the best shape in the world and Matilda was built on it.
Addressing the WAAPA students at the event, Dr Minchin gave three pieces of advice.
"Firstly, you have to get good. Get really good. You don't get to have a good work life balance. It means being a bit obsessed and if you're lucky it won’t suck because you love it. And if you don’t love it, stop now," he said.
"There is however a little loophole in this advice. Which is that how you define what you do is up to you. I am the best in the world at what I do. Without a doubt. And I can say that confidently because the number of people I am competing with is zero. The thing I am best in the world at is being a science obsessed, uber rhymey polemicist pianist singer satirist w-nker. I am really, really good at that job.
"This is related to my second bit of advice. You have to be authentic. My career began in my late twenties when I finally stopped being what I thought other people wanted from me.
"The minute I stuck everything I am on the stage, the moment I wore what I wanted, said what I wanted, put together a show that had me doing weird poems and monologues and playing jazz and pop and rock, the moment I got authentic my life changed.
"The third bit of advice: just be kind. It seems so obvious but it's amazing how many people fail to understand its importance. Be kind to the monitor guys. Be kind to the ushers, the fly mech, the gaffers, the make-up artists, be kind to your fellow performers. Not only will it make your life better but it’s really good career advice."
ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman CBE congratulated Dr Minchin on his honorary doctorate.
"Using his talents not only to entertain and delight people, but also to inspire and encourage young Australian performers, Tim is a worthy recipient of an ECU Honorary Award," Professor Chapman said.
WAAPA Executive Dean Professor Julie Warn AM said:
"Tim is immensely talented, passionate and fearless, down-to-earth, generous, humble and irreverent, which is everything you could possibly hope for in a WAAPA-ECU graduate."
After moving to Melbourne in 2002, Dr Minchin began to develop the solo comedy shows that have gained him international public and critical acclaim.
As a gifted composer and lyricist, his credits include the award-winning musicals Matilda and Groundhog Day.
Dr Minchin has also starred in a range of theatre productions, including roles in Hamlet and Amadeus for the Perth Theatre Company, and as Judas Iscariot in a UK and Australian arena tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar (2012/13). He has also appeared in the 2015 drama mini-series, The Secret River and starred as Friar Tuck in the 2018 feature-film adaptation of Robin Hood.
Dr Minchin has released six live comedy albums and five DVDs. He has a substantial list of television and radio credits in Australia, the UK and the US.
Dr Minchin has performed in a wide range of benefit concerts. He is an Ambassador for The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts, and is Artistic Patron of the WA Youth Theatre.
Other recipients of Doctorate of Performing Arts awards from ECU include actor Jack Thompson AM (2015), Kevan Johnston OAM (2018), Jill Perryman AM MBE (2018) and Rachael Maza (2019).
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