Now celebrating its 75th year of operations, the National Theatre wishes to announce that applications for 2012 auditions are now open. This includes the three year Advanced Diploma in Acting (Full-time), Certificate 3 in Theatre Practice (7 months part-time), and the three Classical Dance qualifications (Certificate 4, Diploma & Advanced Diploma). The three dance courses are full-time and each is one year leading to the subsequent qualification.

All courses Diploma and above are eligible for VET FEE-HELP (student loans to pay all fees).

The National Theatre exists to provide Australian and international students with affordable, world-class training in Ballet and Dance, Drama, and Music Theatre in a dynamic, caring, non-discriminatory environment that recognises the potential of the performing arts to enhance life skills as well as provide a career.

Gertrude Johnson established the National Theatre in 1935 after returning to Australia following a successful career as a soprano in Great Britain, and immediately saw the need for a performing arts school for talented young Australians. Starting with her own private training for opera singers she soon moved to establish The Australian National Theatre Movement for all the performing arts, which formally came into existence in December 1935. Her idea of a National Theatre grew out of conversations she had whilst in England with Lillian Bayliss, the founder of the Old Vic and Sadlers Wells. The principle was based upon continuing tuition of young singers, dancers, and actors to a professional level and this has been implemented and continued to the present day with the Ballet and Drama Schools, although the Opera School founded by Miss Johnson in 1935 was transferred to the Victorian College of the Arts in 1978-80 (and closed in 2006). A Music Theatre Course also ran from 1996-2003.

Over the years its three schools of Opera (est. 1935), Drama (est. 1936) and Ballet (est. 1939), together with its professional theatrical companies (Drama, est. 1951, and Ballet & Opera est. 1948), produced many premieres and toured Australia extensively. Artists involved included Ray Lawler, Patricia Kennedy, Bunney Brooke, John Truscott, Marie Collier, Mary Hardy, Noel Ferrier, Marjorie Lawrence, June Jago, John Shaw, Anne Fraser and many others too numerous to mention. It was a fertile training ground and established the basis for the Australian Ballet (including early co-productions with Borovansky), Opera Australia and our existing State Theatre Companies while continuing to produce many of the most talented and successful members of the Australian Theatre Industry through its schools.

The objective of training students to a professional level was hampered over the years through the lack of a suitable theatre in which to stage productions. Training in the theatrical arts is not complete without the experience of actual performance and although commercial theatres were available for use by the schools they were expensive and, for a number of other reasons, not entirely suitable for student productions.

 With the support of public donations and financial assistance loaned from the State Government, the present National Theatre opened on 7 September 1974. The theatre provides financial support for the National Theatre schools and a versatile and attractive performance venue for a wide cross-section of community arts and educational groups. In recent years the company has continued a longstanding policy of support for community, educational, charitable and multi-cultural groups by providing discounted use of its theatre and facilities.

 The Company receives no recurrent funding and all donations & bequests are fully tax-deductible.

National Theatre dance students appear regularly on the main stage of the heritage National Theatre and this year will be featured in Carmen and Coppelia Act 2 (9-11 December). Recent Drama School graduates include Kat Stewart (multiple Logie winner) while recent dance graduates are in companies in both the USA and Europe.

For more information the website is

Applications & enquiries to the Drama School on 0395340223, [email protected]: or the Ballet School on 0395340224, [email protected].