The most outrageous, colourful, over-the-top and driven protest has begun in Melbourne. A week-long protest is underway to save the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), in response to the enforcement of new academic based degrees under “The Melbourne Model”.
The new education model is said to include staff cuts and the elimination of some courses (including puppetry and music theatre), creating tension and anger in the theatrical community both locally and internationally.
“I know the students themselves who are currently studying there, feel very up in arms because the course is going to become an academic course, rather than a practical, profound training course for their particular art form. Which means they would have to do a three year academic course and then another further two years if they wanted to go on to practice. Some people don’t want to be academics – they want to actors who can really act, or singers who can really sing,” said Geoffrey Rush, actor and ex-VCA guest drama teacher
The week began yesterday, Sunday, August 16 at University of Melbourne Open Day at VCA campus with a tent city, a speech from Noni Hazlehurst, and various events showcasing VCA. It culminates on Friday, August 21 with a protest march from VCA campus to Parliament, with speakers including Julia Zemiro and Race Matthews.