Industry rallies for Arts college in hour of need

grushFilm and television names are getting behind a push to save the Victorian College of the Arts from losing its identity after merging courses with the University of Melbourne’s music courses.

Since 2007, six schools have merged into three, musical theatre and puppetry courses have been axed and some staff have been retrenched.

Further changes will see practical training in all courses reduced by up to 50% by 2011. Contact hours will be significantly reduced as of next year and tuition will drop from 32 to 24 weeks per year. 25% of study will be made up of subjects from non-VCA faculties of The University of Melbourne.

But the University has defended the moves and sought to allay fears insisting courses will be maintained to international standards.

While staff have reportedly been instructed to stay away from the media a website has been set up at savevca.org

Amongst those battling for the College are Noni Hazlehurst, Julia Zemiro, John Michael Howson and Geoffrey Rush who says, “Please let’s not allow our future artists’ potential to be diminished. Let their work be practical, challenging and profound, not chiefly academic. And don’t allow their creative education to start from a point of compromise and mediocrity.”

This week the protests pick up pace with a march to the Victorian Parliament on Friday the 21st. The public and industry are invited to attend from 10am Friday at VCA.

Graduates from VCA include many industry names including Vince Colosimo, Justine Clarke, Sybilla Budd, Isabel Lucas, Damien Richardson, Alison Whyte, Ashley Zuckerman, Jonny Pasvolsky, Jack Finsterer, Rhys Muldoon, Adam Elliot, Robert Luketic, Matthew Saville, Sarah Watt and Andrew Dominik.

VCA ranks alongside the National Institute of Dramatic Art, the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts as our country’s leading training grounds in the performing arts.

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