Emerging Indigenous Artists Light Up QPAC Stage

The talent of 30 rising stars will mesmerise audiences when the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) reveals its end-of-year season, Eclipse, at the Cremorne Theatre at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on 7-8 December 2018.

An inspiring journey through music, dance and drama, Eclipse reflects the sensation of change and realignment – what might be obscured, revealed and realised as paths are crossed and perspectives shift in moments of time.

ACPA CEO Dr Dimitri Kopanakis said the show, a culmination of the students’ efforts over the year, is a powerful metaphor of the artists’ own creativity.

“Just as light emerges from the shadow in an eclipse, our students are expressing their transition from uncertainty and self-doubt to possibility and passion,” Dr Kopanakis said.

“These young artists are continuing the cycle of change that began with ACPA’s very first classes in Brisbane two decades ago.

“ACPA now welcomes students from all over Australia to study the only nationally accredited courses that incorporate dance, acting and music, including classes dedicated to Indigenous cultural fusion.

“We continue to pursue excellence, encourage professionalism and honour Indigenous culture through contemporary performance. Presenting Eclipse at such a prestigious venue as QPAC, on the traditional lands of the Yuggera and Turrubal people, is a vibrant expression of this aim.”

Mirroring dawn to dusk, ACPA dancers link the two exciting genres of cultural fusion and commercial jazz. From Day to Night sees the awakening of three tribes through the women’s graceful preparations in the morning and the lively pace of the men’s daily hunt to the powerful energy of Latch and its universal theme of love.

ACPA actors explore the meaning of life with excerpts through two challenging dramas: Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit, a study of the nature of existence through the lens of death; and Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, which explores the dynamics of power and partnership between men.

Eclipse of the Tribes is an original concept created and developed by ACPA musicians. The musical narrative of self-discovery, individuality and common unity connects with tribal roots through conflict and reconciliation.

Previous collaborations between QPAC and ACPA include Leah Purcell directing students in Jane Harrison’s Stolen; Wesley Enoch directing Roger Bennet’s Up the Ladder; Stephen Lloyd Helper directing Blak Electric; along with consecutive annual showcase events Knock Knock, Flight and Awakening.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said 2018 marks QPAC’s 12th year collaborating with ACPA to present new works.

“ACPA is one of our most important training and educational institutions providing the space and expertise to prepare the next generation of performing artists and arts workers to achieve their potential,” said Mr Kotzas.

“This special performance combines music, drama and dance in new and original works that highlight exceptional home grown artists.

“Our First Nations are and were the first creatives on this land, and I encourage all Australians to connect with and take pride in the arts and culture of our First Nations people with QPAC.”.

Event details:

When: Friday 7 December, 7.30pm, Saturday 8 December 2pm and 7.30pm

Where: Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Cnr Grey and Melbourne Sts, South Brisbane

Tickets: Refer to qpac.com.au for current pricing.

Bookings: https://www.qpac.com.au/event/acpa_showcase_18/

6th of December 2018


Presented by Michael J. Di Stasio and hosted by the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts, MUSIC & THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EMOTION – COGNITION, PERCEPTION, ACQUISITION explores the connection between music, brain function and emotion.

With his background as an academic, musician, producer, and international consultant, Michael J. Di Stasio now operates from the oriental outpost in the megalopolis of Tokyo as the Asia-Pacific Representative for Amphion Loudspeakers. Over two captivating hours in the ACPA studio, Di Stasio will share his knowledge about the relationship between neuroscience and music appreciation.

Entry is free, but seats are limited. If you would like to attend, please register at the link https://music-and-psychology-of-emotion.eventbrite.com.au

17th of October 2018

ACPA Welcomes New Head of Dance

Choreographer, performer, director and teacher Simon Lind has joined ACPA as the new Head of Dance.

Simon brings to the role his broad genre and international experience in the classroom and on the stage, as well as television, movies, and animation.

Simon came to ACPA after five years as artistic director for the long-running Davidia Lind Dance Centre (DLDC) and its nationally accredited courses. He has helped many students achieve success within the entertainment industry while pursuing his own distinguished career as a performance artist, choreographer, and creative consultant.

Although Simon is comfortable in the limelight, appearing in national touring shows such as The Boy from Oz, Westside Story and the Grease the Arena Spectacular, much of his work has been performed by others, for example choreographing for Delta Goodrem and Jessica Mauboy, and playing principal motion capture performer roles in both Happy Feet movies.

Simon has also worked as artistic director and choreographer on top-rating talent shows, including X-Factor Australia, Australia’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance and Australian Idol.

“I’m having an absolute blast teaching at ACPA. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see students achieving their goals and seeing their faces as they go onto great things,” Mr Lind said.

“My plans for the future of ACPA are to continue to inspire and offer as many opportunities as I can to the students.”

8th of October 2018

ACPA announces audition dates for 2019 intake

The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) invites Australia’s next generation of stage, screen and recording stars to audition this September for a coveted place in one our nationally accredited courses starting in February 2019.

ACPA will hold auditions for future dance, acting, music and singing students on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 September 2018, and on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 November 2018, at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Auditions will also be offered in some regional centres between October and November (more information about regional auditions is available by calling 07 3216 1490).

Applications to audition in Brisbane can be downloaded from http://acpa.edu.au/how-to-enrol/.

18th of August 2018

New Head of Acting at ACPA

The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts is excited to introduce Charles Allen as our new Head of Acting for 2018.

Charles initially attended university with the intentions of becoming a dentist, but his path changed after taking an acting class as an elective. Upon leaving university, he relocated to Dallas, Texas to continue his training and to begin building a professional resume by booking roles in local theatre and regional commercials.

After a successful audition he gained entrance into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he relocated to Los Angeles. However, upon arrival, Charles decided to pursue private training with industry-respected coaches. This led to training privately with Beah Richards, Tony Greco, and most notably, Eric Morris. His time with Morris encompassed 19 years of intense training while continuing to work in theatre, film, television, radio, and voice overs for video games.

Charles collaborated with fellow Morris trained actors to form Mojo Theatre Ensemble (Los Angeles-now defunct), which was a company of actors who sought to produce theatre by actors who shared a common, practical approach to acting.

His association with Morris eventually led to an opportunity to join the staff in the acting department at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane where he taught from 2008-2011. Since arriving in Australia, he has had the opportunity to work in theatre at La Boite, Sport for Jove, and Griffin Theatre, as well as in film and television.

In a short time, Charles has become an invaluable member of the ACPA family, encouraging an enthusiasm for knowledge in both the students and staff.

He enjoys the challenge of teaching, especially when he sees break-through moments in his students’ artistic development.

“Seeing actors being able to understand and apply practical concepts and techniques and from that witnessing their watershed moments when they have the experience of acting without it feeling like acting, is what I enjoy most about teaching.”

He also (kindly) offered up a few key tips on how his students can get the most out of their acting course.

“I encourage students to take copious notes, even if the note is not given specifically to them, and to do practical work outside of studio on a daily basis,” he said.

Charles expressed his gratitude at having the opportunity to share his knowledge with more students through teaching and we warmly welcome him, and his decades-long industry and artistic expertise, to ACPA.

29th of January 2018

Prepare to have your senses awakened

Audiences will be enthralled by the performances of 42 talented young singers, musicians, dancers and actors when the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) presents its end-of-year season at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC) Cremorne Theatre on the 1st and 2nd of December 2017.

Awakening unifies all three performing arts genres taught at ACPA, with original music, acting and dance creations complementing new interpretations of popular works.

ACPA CEO Dr Dimitri Kopanakis said the show promises to stir the soul and evoke powerful emotion.

Awakening is a journey of growing awareness, experienced through the senses of our young artists, whose perceptions are shaped by an ever-stimulating and culturally blended world,” Dr Kopanakis said.

“It’s the discovery of nuances surrounding the everyday that shift shape to reveal new dimensions and inspire profound expressions of curiosity, sorrow, fear, wonder, and joy.

ACPA’s dance company will perform Image, which explores human responses to ideas and objects as they appear in a static state or as optical products of mirrored reflection and light refraction.

The acting cast will examine the condition of human existence with a contemporary reimagining of Everyman, the classic text by Daniel Evans.

Nine young actors will also perform monologues from The Seven Stages of Grieving by Deborah Mailman and Wesley Enoch; Chasing the Lollyman by Mark Sheppard; and The Clown from Snowy River by Bridget Boyle and Liz Skitch.

Acapella ensembles will sing unique versions of classic hits from the 50s and 60s, including favourites from such memorable vocalists of the era as Carole King, the Temptations, and the Supremes.

Dr Kopanakis said QPAC and ACPA have collaborated since 2006 to give emerging artists the opportunity to showcase their talents at Queensland’s premier performance space.

“ACPA’s programs respect, support and build on a tradition of Indigenous story-telling to prepare students for careers as contemporary performing artists.”

“Performing at QPAC on the traditional lands of the Yuggera and Turrubal people is both a professional and a personal honour for our students,” he said.

Event details:

What: Awakening end-of-year season

When: Friday 1 December at 7.30 pm and Saturday 2 December at 2.00 pm

Where: Cremorne Theatre, QPAC, Cnr Grey and Melbourne Sts, South Brisbane

Tickets: $29 adults; $25 concession; $20 student. www.qpac.com.au/event/acpa_showcase_17

ACPA students take on Trojan Women

Based on the classic Greek text by Euripides, Trojan Women takes us into the ruined city of Troy, reimagined as a contemporary war zone.

The men have been killed and now the women await their fate at the hands of the invaders. Trojan Women has long been considered an innovative and artistic portrayal of the aftermath of the Trojan War, as well as a penetrating depiction of the barbaric behaviour of Euripides own countrymen towards the women and children of the people they overcame in war.

The main Trojan women around whom the play revolves are deliberately portrayed as very unlike each other: the weary, tragic old queen Hecuba, the young, holy virgin and seer, Cassandra; the proud and noble Andromache, the beautiful, scheming Helen and Queen Dido, first queen of Carthage.

Trojan Women explores love, sex, power and violence and asks us to imagine a world where women are in charge! Directed by Brisbane’s premier theatrical provocateur Steven Mitchell Wright (The Danger Ensemble), this will be an explosive experience for all the senses, showcasing the brave and brilliant young artists from the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) Acting program.

Season details:

Dates: 27th & 28th of October 2017

Time: Both shows commence at 7:30pm

Price: Tickets are available from QTIX – $15 for adults and $10 concession

Students Showcase Heaven-sent Talent

Australia’s next generation of stage and screen stars will be shining at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) mid-year showcase from 21-23 June 2017, at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane.

Over three nights, ACPA students will perform various works under the banner of Heaven & Earth, exploring what happens when the earth moves us to passion and makes promises of heavenly rewards – who will hold our hand and what will hold us back?

ACPA CEO, Dr Dimitri Kopanakis, said the showcase will allow students to experience performing for an audience in a professional venue.

“We provide an excellent vocational education that is industry-relevant, with a strong emphasis on public performances to build confidence,” Dr Kopanakis said.

“Our mid-year showcase is not only an opportunity for students’ families to watch their progress, but also for ACPA’s corporate and community supporters to see how they’re helping our students to shine.

“The showcase is open to the general public too, and we hope Brisbane theatre goers will come to all three shows and enjoy a unique performance experience,” he said.

ACPA is Australia’s only training centre offering courses that incorporate all performing arts genres, including classes dedicated to Indigenous cultural fusion. Each night a different genre will be featured.

Wednesday 21 June – Melodies from Heaven II
Australia’s most talented First Nations performers will sing a capella, solo and ensemble interpretations of African American gospel music.

Thursday 22 June – Lovers Anonymous
A hilarious and poignant portrayal of young lovers as they break up, make up, and give up on the “L” word.

Friday 23 June – The Clutch and Fur & Feathers
Loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling, The Clutch explores the fragile struggle between independent identity and group power.
Fur and Feathers is a journey back through time, dancing with the energies of the land through the spirits of the Kangaroo and the Emu.

All performances commence at 7.30 pm. Tickets are available from QTIX – $15 for adults and $10 concession.

Event details
What: Heaven & Earth mid-year student showcase
When: Wed-Fri 21-23 June 2017, 7.30 pm
Where: Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, 420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Cost: Tickets: $15 adults; $10 concession.http://judithwrightcentre.com/event/heaven_earth

Media enquiries
Rosemary Walker, Publicist

Email: rosemary.walker@acpa.edu.au; Mob. 0409 069 700

Image credits
Melodies from Heaven II, The Clutch and Fur & Feathers: Photographer – Dylan Evans
Lovers Anonymous: Photographer – Morgan Roberts

Spotlight on Stage Careers – Open Day 2017

Watching rehearsals, taking tours, and talking to teachers and students will open the public’s eyes to new opportunities at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) on Saturday 17 June.

ACPA’s first Open Day at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts promises to reveal what goes on behind the scenes at Australia’s only training centre offering nationally accredited courses that incorporate all performing arts genres, including classes dedicated to Indigenous cultural fusion.

ACPA CEO, Dr Dimitri Kopanakis, said the Open Day would put the talents of Australia’s emerging performing artists under the spotlight as they rehearse for the mid-year student showcase.

“Open Day is a chance for prospective students to learn more about ACPA’s courses, while checking out the professional facilities that our students enjoy,” Dr Kopanakis said.

“It’s also an opportunity for our current students’ families to see how they’re progressing, and to watch them in action in rehearsal mode.

“And we’re looking forward to welcoming past students to our new home, as well as giving our many supporters a glimpse of what we are achieving.”

From 10 am to 1 pm, student-led tours will include displays and watching rehearsals in three separate performance spaces dedicated to acting, dancing and music. ACPA music students will also be performing in the foyer of the Judith Wright Centre.

Dr Kopanakis said the Open Day, supported by a Transurban community grant, would demonstrate how ACPA trains young musicians, actors, and dancers in contemporary performance techniques as the foundation for their future careers.

Event details

What: Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts Open Day
When: Saturday 17 June 2017 10 am – 1 pm
Where: Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, 420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Cost: Free

Media enquiries: Rosemary Walker Tel. 0409 069 700


ACPA staff and students shine on ABC’s 7:30 Report

December 12, 2016 – ABC TV’s 7:30 Report will present a feature highlighting the amazing success stories of ACPA’s recently graduated David Biondi Odo and Keia McGrady.



Troy Cassar-Daley performs with ACPA Graduates at Annual Graduation Ceremony

ACPA Congratulates is 2016 Graduating Class, who graduated from ACPA on December 8, 2016. The ceremony was held at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, which will be ACPAs new home from January 2017.

Over 40 ACPA Graduates received qualifications ranging from Certificate IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, along with Statements of Attainment.

As a special treat for both the graduates and their guests, the audience was graced with a moving speech and guest performance from Australia’s Country Music legend, Troy Cassar-Daley.

December 8, 2016



Be enraptured by a powerful blend of dance, music and acting performance as ACPA takes you on a thrilling journey in their Tenth Annual QPAC Gala.

Enjoy new and original works that highlight our exceptional, young, homegrown, indigenous talent and and also revel in recognised mainstream classics.

Each of our exciting dancers, actors, and musicians will draw upon their performance experiences and display vivid mastery of their chosen art form.

This promises to be a dynamic experience, a fascinating insight, and an event not to be missed.


November 18-19, 2016 – QPAC Concert Hall

Visit www.qpac.com.au to book your seats!


Another ACPA dance student to study at prestigious International dance company

Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) dance student Keia McGrady recently flew to Sydney to audition for the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) and was jubilant when notified that she had been successful.

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC) hosts a unique 5-month international study abroad dance program known as Dance Journey! The program’s faculty is composed of some of the best choreographers and dance teachers in Israel and worldwide.

Keia is our second student to gain an overseas scholarship this year! She joins David Bioni-Odo who recently won a scholarship to study dance at Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency Program in Canada.

Keia, who graduates from ACPA in December with an Advanced Diploma in Dance will leave Australia in February 2017 to take up this scholarship.

Not only will students study dance but they will also be given the opportunity to learn more about the Israeli culture. The Dance Journey program also offers Hebrew classes, tours around Israel, volunteering activities among local communities and more.

October 6, 2016

ACPA Alumni in the press: Actor Jeremy Ambrum

Actor Jeremy Ambrum picked up a new skill while filming Channel 7’s The Secret Daughter

Daily Telegraph – October 4, 2016

ACPA student wins international dance scholarship

The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) is celebrating the success of one of its students who has been accepted into the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance residency program in Canada.

David Bioni-Odo has been chosen as one of only 12 Indigenous dancers from around the world, to participate in the month-long residency program, which focuses on refining and enriching the artistic process of the participants. David auditioned for a scholarship for the program via video, with a self-choreographed dance piece.

David, who is currently completing his Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts at ACPA, said, “I’m overwhelmed but really excited about the residency. This will be my first time going overseas. The teachers at ACPA always encourage us to try out for things like this, and this time it paid off”.

David will be spending a month in Canada working alongside other talented dancers and acclaimed choreographers from around the globe. The four-week intensive program focuses on technique, improvisation, and cultural process and knowledge in performance. The program will culminate with the development of a short, choreographic work to be performed in-house, and on stage in Banff.

The Banff Centre is Canada’s arts and cultural organisation, providing multidisciplinary programming, and advancing the practice of artists and leaders.

September 3, 2016

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