Act­ing ca­reer no drama

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

IT was Lisa McCune’s mum who sug­gested her 16-year-old daugh­ter au­di­tion for WAAPA’s mu­sic theatre de­gree, along with clas­si­cal singing at the Perth Con­ser­va­to­rium.

She was ac­cepted to both, chose WAAPA and has never looked back.

The academy cel­e­brates 30 years of the mu­sic theatre course this year; back in 1988, McCune was in the fourth year of stu­dents to go through.

“I was just so lucky that it was there in Perth be­cause I was quite young,” McCune, who grew up in Carine, said.

“When you walked in to an au­di­tion and they saw you were from WAAPA, they would sit up and no­tice.

“It's such a sig­nif­i­cant train­ing in­sti­tu­tion and noth­ing has sur­passed it.”

McCune said she learnt about ab­so­lute dis­ci­pline un­der John Mil­son, who ini­ti­ated the course and ran it for 12 years, and lec­turer De­nis Folling­ton.

Mil­son died in 2013 but McCune said she re­cently had the plea­sure of work­ing with Folling­ton in a pro­fes­sional set­ting.

“They were gen­tle­men who had such an in­cred­i­ble breadth of ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said.

“I think the best teach­ers are those, par­tic­u­larly in the arts, who have the ex­pe­ri­ence. You never thought twice about spend­ing 12 or 14 hours a day there, which set me in good stead for do­ing some­thing like Blue Heel­ers.

“I left with an in­cred­i­ble en­thu­si­asm that nat­u­rally springs from the place and I just felt like I could take on any chal­lenge.”

McCune was one of seven who grad­u­ated from the course in 1990. Nowa­days that num­ber has risen to 16-18 stu­dents per year.

And that is not the only dif­fer­ence.

“When­ever you work with a newer WAAPA grad, the level of tal­ent com­ing across is just su­perb,” McCune said.

“We were kind of OK at ev­ery­thing but now they’re re­ally fan­tas­tic at ev­ery­thing. It’s great to see.”

Tanya MacNaughton

Lisa McCune

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