Studying in Australia

Performing Arts & Drama Schools in Australia

Everybody wants to be a star! Well ok, not everybody but for those who do, competition is fierce. It would be lovely if you could turn up for an audition for a role and be granted it instantly but in the real world, there’s a lot more involved in being chosen.

You could be born with innate talent and still find it tough, but if you want to improve your chances of success in the performing arts, getting a good education should be high on your list of priorities.

If you’re thinking of studying performing arts and drama in Australia, you’ll need to know which Universities offer these kinds of courses. We’ve put together a list of them here, and the courses they offer.

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Which Australian Universities offer performing arts and drama courses?

Not all of the following institutions have a major focus on the performing arts, and some only offer a single course. Take your research further by clicking on the links provided. Please note that not all individual courses are listed.


New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory


South Australia

Western Australia


National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

The granddaddy of all performing arts and drama schools in Australia is NIDA, the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Its programs include vocational diploma, undergraduate and graduate courses across stage and screen performance, musical theatre and many non-performance disciplines.

NIDA was founded in 1958 and although it is a small school with only around 230 full-time students each year, it is known for an endless parade of famous graduates. Actors who studied there include Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, Luke Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving and Sam Worthington.

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

If you want names – big names – then how’s this? Famous graduates of WAAPA include Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winning singer, dancer and actor, Hugh Jackman, and multi-award winning, international star of the stage, Tim Minchin. The academy has also turned out loads of Australian TV actors and presenters, dancers, musical theatre performers and musicians.

Located in Mt Lawley, an inner suburb of Perth, it offers a vibrant campus with a constant buzz. WAAPA is part of the Edith Cowan University and the qualifications offered there are nationally and internationally recognised. Chooser from Diplomas and Bachelor degrees across music, dance and acting.

Actors Centre Australia (ACA)

With a megastar like Hugh Jackman as its patron, you’ll know the Actors Centre Australia has some serious industry clout. Though this acting institution doesn’t offer Diplomas or Bachelor degrees, its 20-week Foundation Program is highly respected. It is a useful stepping stone to gain entry into a full-time performing arts course in Australia or internationally.

Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA)

The Academy offers one-to-one, individual learning in music and dance. As a student of AMPA, you can select your area of focus in your degree from Contemporary/Jazz Music, Music Theatre, Classical Music, Composition/Creative Music Technology and Dance Performance. If you have more than one skill, you have the option of taking a second study so if you’re a singer/songwriter or a guitarist/vocalist, you can extend your study the way you want to.

Helpmann Academy

The Helpmann Academy is funded by the government and partners with other institutions including TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts, Flinders Arts University Drama Centre and the University of South Australia South Australian School of Art. It offers mentorships, fellowships, seminars and masterclasses and also has impressive links with international performing arts institutions.

A wealth of opportunity available to you

In Australia, the arts scene is alive and very, very well. Australia is a hotbed of performing arts talent, as evidenced by the number of actors nominated for international awards like the Oscars and Golden Globes. Our dancers and choreographers are among the best in the world. Join the long list of successful entertainers who had their start in Australia!


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