One of Australia’s most famous acting school is without a director following the departure of Kate Cherry, two years into her three-year contract.
- Ms Cherry oversaw a restructuring of NIDA to encourage more collaboration
- According to an official NIDA statement, Ms Cherry plans to return to work in the theatre in Australia and overseas
- The former director declined to comment on the reason for her departure
Ms Cherry joined the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) after almost a decade as artistic director of Perth’s Black Swan Theatre Company.
According to a statement on Monday from NIDA, she plans to return to work in the theatre in Australia and overseas.
NIDA chairman and arts consultant Jenny Bott said Ms Cherry’s departure was the result of consultation over a long period.
“Increasingly her role is the CEOs role and that’s just not the direction she wanted to go,” Ms Bott said.
“Recently the NIDA board has held a series of discussions with Kate regarding NIDA’s structure given our current and projected needs, and the management requirements and strategic planning any changes would entail.
“NIDA is moving away from its long-standing structure built around its undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and short courses, towards a studio-based model with greater focus on the disciplines within the dramatic arts. The studio-based model was developed by Kate in conjunction and collaboration with staff and students.”
At NIDA Ms Cherry, who is a third-generation theatre practitioner, took over from Lynne Williams, who was criticised for not having had enough practical theatre experience.
Ms Cherry oversaw a restructure designed to encourage collaboration between students.
The changing face of NIDA
NIDA reported $27 million turnover in 2017 and has become infinitely more complicated in recent years, as it offers courses to youngsters, corporates and other groups, in addition to its core undergraduate and post-graduate students of stage and screen.
The school, which hatched famous headliners Mel Gibson, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Robyn Nevin and Judy Davis, has struggled in recent years to maintain its pre-eminence over other schools like Perth’s Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the Victorian College of the Arts.
Ms Bott said NIDA was “doing marvellously” and pointed to a recent ranking by The Hollywood Reporter as the world’s 10th most important acting school.
Ms Cherry declined to discuss the nature of her departure after it was announced but said she was “very proud” of the new teaching model she had overseen “which celebrates artists”.