Song and Dance Around New Academy of Excellence

A full crowd at QPAC applauding the production of Grease by Musical Theatre students

Brisbane will be home to a new Academy of Excellence in Musical Theatre, with Griffith University and Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) announcing a groundbreaking initiative to revolutionise musical theatre education and performance in Queensland and beyond.

The Academy builds on the success of Griffith’s Musical Theatre program to date and will be the first of its kind internationally.

It will deliver world-class education, training and engagement activities as well as a production season, building a joint commitment with industry to nurture and develop the next generations of performing arts talent and ensuring a vibrant arts sector for years to come.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans
Griffith Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans

Vice-Chancellor and President of Griffith University Professor Carolyn Evans said the visionary collaboration between two leading institutions marks a significant milestone in the development of performing arts in the region.

“The Queensland Academy of Excellence in Musical Theatre will serve as a beacon for attracting philanthropy and industry funding that supports musical theatre within the state and nation,” she said.

“Through this partnership with QPAC, we are creating a thriving Queensland musical theatre ecosystem that supports the development of major productions within the state and attracts interstate and international production tours.”

The development of the Academy is in line with Griffith’s core strategic pillars, emphasising industry collaboration, student support, strong alumni relations and cutting-edge research aligned with industry needs.

Head of Performing Arts and Program Director Professor Paul Sabey said the Academy’s mission was to deliver outstanding musical theatre education that transforms, inspires, and empowers individuals to take the ‘lead role’ in their story, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and attributes to adapt and deliver in a way that benefits all.

“We will provide not only technical training in singing, acting and dance, but also focus on nurturing mental health and well-being, creating a safe and inclusive environment for our students,’ he said.

“We’re not just about lectures, books and dances — we’re offering a world full of engagement, inspiration and connections, with world class opportunities in amazing facilities right in the pumping heart of theatre.

Head of Performing Arts and Program Director, Professor Paul Sabey

“We already enjoy being the only musical theatre course of its kind world-wide to be in an arts centre, with our QPAC residency allowing students to be immersed in the theatre environment, but this academy will add a whole new level.

“For the students to swipe in at stage door each day — it just opens the door to a magical world.”

Griffith’s Musical Theatre program has built an exceptional reputation in little more than a decade, which routinely sees graduates securing professional roles in major productions and achieving success as performers, directors, choreographers and producers.

The Academy is set to further enhance the student experience through greater opportunities for industry engagement, community-based offerings and research projects focused on diversity, inclusion, and mental health in the performing arts.

Dame Judi Dench. Photo by Robert Wilson

The Academy has already received support and praise from many industry leaders including John Kotzas, CEO of QPAC, casting director Lisa Campbell and the producer and CEO of Michael Cassel Group, with letters of support received from these industry supporters and other theatre luminaries including Stephen Schwartz (Academy Award winner and composer of Wicked), Claude-Michel Schönberg (Tony award winner and composer of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon) and Dame Judi Dench (Academy, Tony, Golden Globe and BAFTA award winner).

“It is immensely exciting for me to hear that Griffith University has committed to a relationship with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre as this will give students the very best start to their professional lives,” Dame Judi said.

“I look forward to following the graduates over the coming years, and hearing about the Queensland Academy of Excellence in Musical Theatre.”

Explore Musical Theatre course options and find your place on the stage here.