The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts is a Registered Training Organisation providing teaching excellence and innovation in contemporary dance, music, and acting.
Vibrant and diverse, we are the only centre in Australia offering courses that incorporate all performing arts genres, including classes dedicated to Indigenous cultural fusion.
ACPA’s course content is designed specifically for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who come to ACPA’s state-of-the-art studios in Brisbane from communities all around Australia.
Our students come to ACPA to experience a learning environment which is challenging, demanding, motivating and, above all, nurturing of the talents of our young and emerging artists.
ACPA’s teaching framework emphasises individualised learning, developing each student’s potential to become an arts leader of the future.
Our strong global network ensures ACPA students are trained by industry experts to build the technical capability and confidence they need for professional public performances, and to launch careers in the arts and entertainment sectors.
ACPA is a Registered Training Organisation registered by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and delivers vocational education and training (VET) services.
ACPA commits to honouring tradition in a contemporary context.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures tell stories and teach values through performance. ACPA’s programs honour this rich heritage of ceremony, singing, dancing and yarning, in a modern context.
We encourage excellence, professionalism and respect for Indigenous culture, and the expression of that culture through contemporary performance.
Our work also contributes significantly to the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap initiative – maintaining, valuing and strengthening Indigenous cultures and improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s skills and employment outcomes.
ACPA, an exemplary centre for contemporary performance arts training and innovation, nurtures excellence in the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing artists and arts professionals.
Our efforts to achieve this vision are guided and strengthened by
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ethics and protocols
- Respect, Responsibility and Relationships
- Creativity and encouragement
A national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts training institution was first proposed in 1994, in the then Prime Minister’s national arts policy, Creative Nation.
The Queensland Government, through Arts Queensland, responded by engaging Indigenous impresario Michael Leslie to establish ACPA in 1997. The first classes were held in 1998, at the Metro Arts Building in Edward Street. Only one accredited course was offered at this time.
Student numbers grew as additional qualifications were offered, so ACPA relocated to new premises in South Brisbane, then a campus in Kangaroo Point. In December 2016, ACPA moved to the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.
Thanks to the dedication and commitment of staff, board members, alumni and supporters, ACPA has become a national centre of cultural and educational significance.
ACPA now offers three nationally recognised and accredited vocational qualifications, with an average of 70 enrolled students each term. A recent destination survey revealed that 90 percent of ACPA graduates are employed, either full time or part time, or are undertaking further education.
ACPA alumni include:
- Yolanda Lowatta (Bangarra Dance Company’s Russell Page Fellowship recipient; 2016 Helpmann Award for Best Female Dancer)
- David Biondi-Odo (The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency Program, Canada)
- Keia McGrady (Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) Residency Program, Israel)
- Liam Talty (Ready for This, TV Week Logie winner for Most Outstanding Children’s Program)
- Jeremy Ambrum (Channel 7’s major new drama series, The Secret Daughter)
- Jalen Sutcliffe (Deadly Funny Award, 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival)
- Dale Woodbridge-Brown (Circus Oz)