If you’re dreaming of a career in musical theatre or commercial dance, you can’t go past Brent Street as a place to hone your craft. Now under new direction, the Sydney institution has a history of producing some of Australia’s best triple threat performers. Dance Informa spoke to the new Managing & Creative Director – Lucas Newland.
One of Australia’s most in-demand choreographers and an accomplished performer, Newland has been a teacher at Brent Street for over ten years. Before taking over as owner, he was also the head of the Young Performers Program, which trains ages seven through to eighteen. “Being able to take the lead on something I love and have felt so passionately about for such a long time is so fulfilling,” he says. “I’m excited to continue to do what has always been our main focus, which is turning out Australia’s best performers.”
Such successful training is achieved through a carefully designed system, offering progressive opportunities to participants as young as three years old. The Petite Performers Program caters to ages three to six, and leads into the Young Performers Program. Pre-professionals are then able to focus on preparing for the industry whilst still completing their HSC. Finally, the Professionals Development Program polishes performers and launches them into the working world.
In the final program, performers can study Certificate IV in Dance, Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management, Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance) and Diploma of Musical Theatre.
The Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management is a new addition to this year’s curriculum, and one which Newland believes is “an important service to offer. There are so many people that are passionate about teaching, and to be able to offer a foundation that we know future teachers can take with them and inspire their OWN students, is a great thing.”
As of this month, a Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management is also being made available. “I’ve always believed that just because someone is a great dancer or performer, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a great teacher,” explains Newland. “We are lucky at Brent Street to have so many of our teachers check all of these boxes. Having teaching qualifications gives prospective employers the assurance that they’ll be getting the high quality teacher they’re after.”
Demonstrating its commitment to ensuring child safety, Brent St will this year host the Office of the Children’s Guardian’s Child Safe Seminar. “We value child safety above all else, and take our duty of care very seriously. All of our staff are required to complete a Working With Children’s Check, and are highly committed to keeping our students safe and happy at all times while they’re in our care.” The Seminar is open to Brent Street’s Child Safety Committee and their Dance Teaching and Management students, as well as colleagues from other dance studios and child talent agencies.
Not just a training institution, Brent Street also boasts its own Talent Agency, catering for performers as young as three. For over 20 years, Brent Street Agency has supplied talent for roles in commercials, television, print, film and musical theatre.
“My favourite thing about Brent Street is when we get to see how all the hard work we put in pays off,” says Newland. “Whether it’s when one of our students lands a major role in something, or just shows huge improvement in class, being part of that brings huge satisfaction and pride.”
“Brent Street is a place where like-minded people share their love of this industry. It’s a great community with an amazing energy. Our teachers and students work really hard at what they do and, most importantly, they LOVE what they do!”
To find out more about where studying at Brent Street could take you, visit their website.
By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Managing & Creative Director of Brent Street, Lucas Newland.