We speak to NIDA student Joseph Althouse about his passion for theatre and his advice for those wanting a career in the performing arts.

27 March 2018

Joseph Althouse is studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and is in his third year.

NIDA is one of Australia’s eight national elite performing arts training organisations that the Government has supported for more than 30 years.   

Why did you want to join NIDA?

It was after seeing a performance of The Sapphires that I made up my mind to study at NIDA. I lived in Darwin, and I recognised several Indigenous women in the production, particularly Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. On meeting Miranda Tapsell in Adelaide some time later, she spoke of her training at NIDA; the hard work, the learning opportunities. That was the catalyst for my decision to do everything that I could to be accepted into the acting course at NIDA.

I wanted to inspire other young Indigenous people to ‘be whatever they wanted to be’. I was determined to become a positive role model and become a professional actor. NIDA became a significant part of this plan.

What’s your most memorable experience since training at NIDA?

Performing on stage in front of my mother and sister remains the most memorable experience I’ve had whilst at NIDA. I was more nervous than in any previous production, as I wanted them to understand my career choice, and be proud of me. They were. That moment was pivotal – it was all worth it!

What opportunities have you been exposed to?

Vocal training has been a key element of the NIDA training. I came to understand that my voice and my identity were linked, and that the representation of a character on stage became a hybrid creation, interlinked and enmeshed with self: ‘This is my voice, and there is power in it.’ This has been reinforced in a cohort where diverse identities and stories flourish. I have become aware of the ‘spaces’ that are required in a rehearsal room and production; that whilst collaborating in performance-making, unique voices can still be heard.

What do you hope for the next five years?

Creating a safe and inclusive platform for other young, gay, Indigenous men to be involved in performance-making is at the heart of my plans for the coming years. Providing performances where all are welcome, can be creatively engaged and actively participate is key.

What’s your advice to someone who wants to have a career in theatre?

Train, learn discipline skills, learn performance-making skills, see theatre of all types all the time, support those already ‘doing it’; be confident that if you do the work the world will open up for you, doors will open and opportunities present themselves. My NIDA training has provided this platform for me.

For more information visit NIDA’s website.