NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australia’s leading school for the performing arts, launched a new semester-long program through which students from both schools will work together to create original TV comedy.

NYU Sydney campus
Tisch students will work with counterparts from Australia's prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) to create original comedies at the NYU Sydney campus.

NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Australia’s leading school for the performing arts, launched a new semester-long program through which students from both schools will work together to create original TV comedy.

This unique project is the first time these two leading institutions have worked together. A select group of NYU Tisch students will have the chance to spend four months in Australia at NYU’s campus in Sydney, exploring writing, directing and creating TV sitcoms, sketch-coms and comedy web series.

With guidance from some of the best Australian comedy writers, including the legendary Tim Ferguson, NYU Tisch students will develop original material for NIDA acting students and then produce and direct a range of comedy works under the leadership of NIDA’s Head of Screen, Di Drew.  According to Drew, the project will give NIDA actors the valuable experience of an international collaboration with their creative peers from NYU, and an opportunity to explore the cultural context of comedy and how it translates to the global market.

“In Australia, we have a strong history of using comedy as commentary on contemporary issues, everything from politics to gender equality – for Australian comedians no topic is sacred,” said Drew.  “This is a great opportunity for the NYU Tisch students to try their hand at writing and creating comedy and will give NIDA students a valuable insight into the US film and TV sector.”

NIDA’s global reputation, combined with the huge influx of talent emanating from Australia in film, television, and theater onto the world stage, creates a great opportunity for Tisch students to learn and create within the program itself, as well as make valuable future industry contacts, according to Paul Thompson, Associate Professor of Film and Television at NYU and former Head of Directing and Director of the Playwrights' Studio at NIDA.

“Like NYU Tisch, NIDA has developed some of its nation’s leading stars, including Baz Luhrman, Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette,” said Thompson. “And both Australia and the United States have strong traditions of comedy, although with truly distinct approaches, so we are looking forward to seeing what happens when we combine the students’ ideas.”

In addition to students applying and honing their TV production skills, the Tisch/NIDA project will explore the culture and history of screen comedy, from satire to sitcom. The partnership is an extension of NYU Tisch’s collaborations with other leading performing arts training and education schools around the world developed by the Tisch Office of Special Programs, including RADA in London, FAMU in Prague, and Fundación Ludwig de Cuba in Havana. Students arrive in Australia on January 26, 2016 and start working with NIDA students on their pilots in mid March..

“As with our other programs abroad, the Tisch/NIDA program is more than students studying in a foreign country,” said Annie Stanton, Executive Director of the Tisch Office of Special Program. “It’s a carefully constructed educational experience that will allow both groups of students to form potential industry relationships before they graduate. When you learn by doing, you accelerate cultural immersion by jumping in and getting the job done and working with NIDA in Australia will be a wonderful environment for this sort of exchange.”

About the National Institute of Dramatic Art
NIDA is Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, a centre of excellence in education and training for theatre, film and television. NIDA offers a variety of educational experiences, which include a range of full-time, Studio and short courses.

About Tisch School of the Arts
For 50 years, the Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for artists, scholars of the arts, and creative entrepreneurs. One of the world's leading centers of undergraduate and graduate study in the arts, the Tisch School of the Arts offers acting, dance, design, performance, film, animation, writing for musical theatre, stage, screen & television, preservation, recorded music, photography, interactive media, games, and public policy.
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