Victorian College of the Arts

VCA Theatre

I moved to Australia to join the Victorian College of the Arts Theatre Department at The University of Melbourne in 2011. Since then I have held various roles but the initial focus  of my appointment was to establish the BFA Theatre Practice degree which launched in 2012. The course we created combined the strongest features of actor training at VCA with a reimagining of the actor as an artist and initiator of theatre. The course was inspired by the diversity and excellence of Melbourne’s local, national and international arts community. The course produces robust, highly skilled, free thinking actors able to take opportunities in other people’s projects or make opportunities for themselves and others by initiating their own projects. VCA actors train and ultimately work across a spectrum of performance media including film and TV, dramatic theatre, classical text, new writing, as creative collaborators in open-ended projects, in physical theatre, post dramatic theatre, community practice, live art and solo performance.

In 2015 I moved to part time so I could focus on my PhD research. I anticipate returning to the department full time mid-2018.

2018 Teaching

This year I will be coordinating The Cross-Disciplinary Laboratory for Masters students and teaching into the Masters of Dramaturgy and Masters of Directing for Performance. I will take on the coordination of the Masters of Dramaturgy in semester two.

Major Projects

  • Established the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice)
  • Established the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice) (Honours)
  • FRISK Festival of New Work in collaboration with Melbourne Fringe
  • FRISK Regional Tour in collaboration with Creative Victoria (formerly Arts Victoria)
  • ENUF is Enough commissioning two new main stage performances and a documentary film to coincide with AIDS 2014 in collaboration with Living Positive Victoria and The VCA Foundation
  • Social Gaming project between students in Melbourne and New Delhi in collaboration with Amitesh Grover and Arts Centre Melbourne
  • Establishing ‘Acting Breadth Track’ of three intensive breadth (elective) subjects that enable interested students from any University Faculty to access excellent studio-based theatre training experiences.

Direction

I directed the following projects:

“Robert Walton’s production attains the fluid potency of a fever-dream and rangy performances show skills from intimate monologue to large-scale choreography.”

Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“Robert Walton, as director, has pulled together a bold piece of theatre which challenges the production team, the actors and the audience.  With an overarching vision, attention to ensemble detail and team work he has given everyone involved a chance to be part of something ambitious and rarely seen… simply inspired.”

Angus Cameron, Theatre People

Press Interviews and Articles

Excellence in Teaching Award

In 2018 I was honoured to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Victorian College of Arts and Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. Over the last 14 years I have been surrounded by exceptional teachers and students first at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and from 2011 at Victorian College of Arts; I owe any progress I have made as a teacher to what I have learnt from them.

The citation from the certificate reads:

For an innovative teaching practice that champions each individual’s artistic voice during the process of skill-acquisition. By incorporating critical thinking and reflective skills, his teaching lays the foundation for a long and sustainable creative life.

 

Subjects

I wrote and coordinated the following subjects:

  • BFA Theatre Practice Level 1:
    • Acting and Performance Making 1A – Foundations, solo, duet and group performance
    • Performance Practice 1A – 15 Week Project & Pulse
    • Performance Practice 1B – Metamorphosis Project & Character Workshop
  • BFA Theatre PracticeLevel 2:
    • Performance Practice 2A – Chekhov Unplugged
    • Concepts and Creativity 2 – Critical Theory
    • Performance Practice 2B – Interpretive Performance (One Act Plays/Group Scene Study and Acting for Camera)
    • Acting and Performance Making 2B – Generative Performance (collaboration with postgrad cohort)
  • BFA Theatre Practice Level 3:
    • Acting and Performance Making 3A – Major Project (2014 ENUF is Enough in collaboration with Living Positive Victoria, 2015 Silver Screen Films and Contemporary Australian Plays)
    • Performance Practice 3A – Pitch Development, Scene Study, New Writing
    • Concepts and Creativity 3 – Introduction to Performance Research and PaR
    • Acting and Performance Making 3B – Major Project (BFA Degree Show: FR!SK)
    • Performance Practice 3B – Performance Day (Industry Showcase), Reading New Writing, Professional Development Planning
  • BFA Theatre Practice Honours (Level 4):
    • Major Project (Theatre Practice) – year-long 75 credit negotiated project
    • Research Methods (Theatre Practice)
    • Research Paper (Theatre Practice)
  • Theatre Breadth Subjects (available to all University students)
    • The Actor’s Process
    • Improvisation: Text, Body and Action
    • Acting for Camera

 

Management and Service

  • Committee memberships since 2011: VCA Executive Committee, The Learning and Teaching Committee, The Digital Arts Working Group, Faculty Human Ethics Advisory Group.
  • Established an MoU and Student Exchange Agreement with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2014
  • Executive member of the Arts, Social and Spatial Practice (ASSP) Cluster 2013–
  • Established strong working relationships with key industry partners: Arts House, Theatre Works, Malthouse, Next Wave, Melbourne Fringe, Melbourne Theatre Company, Living Positive Victoria, Natimuk Frinj, Benalla Performing Arts Centre (BPAC)
  • Faculty eLearning Coordinator 2012-2014
  • Performance Studies International #22 – Performance Climates (2016). Conference Organising Committee Member 2014–16

Video

Service Roles

Honours Coordinator 2015–16
Head of Undergraduate Studies 2014-15
Head of Theatre 2013-14
Associate Head of Theatre 2012-13
Faculty eLearning Coordinator 2012-14

Date

May 2011 –

Category

Teaching & Research

Organisation

Department of Theatre
Victorian College of the Arts
University of Melbourne

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