Meet a NIDA Open Manager: Isabella Dunwill

Isabella Dunwill, Manager – NIDA Melbourne

Tell us a little about your work for NIDA.

I wear a number of different hats at NIDA. I manage our Melbourne campus and teach Communication and Advocacy in the Master of Fine Arts (Cultural Leadership) course. I also work as a NIDA Corporate tutor around Australia. In my role as NIDA Melbourne Manager, I plan, programme and help deliver our courses to ensure students have a great experience.

What inspired you to become an actor?

I have always loved the magic of theatre – that’s one part of it, but helping others express themselves is an incredibly inspiring thing too. Nowadays what inspires me to be an actor is a sense of wanting to help others grow in confidence. I share those skills so people can become better communicators.

Where did you train?

I trained as an actor at NIDA, studying the Bachelor of Dramatic Art in Acting. I followed it up with degrees in Business, Education and Research.

What has been your favourite role as an actor?

Every role I’ve played has been hugely different and brought different joys. I do have a soft spot for my time on Neighbours playing the villain, Geri, though. I learnt a lot being on set every day. Playing Amy the Teddy in the animated version of Bananas in Pyjamas is also a favourite. I love seeing people’s faces when I do ‘the voice’.

What words of advice would you give to young people who aspire to a career in the performing arts?

Find excellent teachers. Check their experience and credentials. Are they worthy of guiding your journey? Be brave. Be willing to be vulnerable in the work, but then resilient in the business of the work. Focus on the people you are acting with. Listen as though you’re hearing the words for the very first time. Support Australian work. You want there to be an industry so you can be part of it! Consider what your definition of ‘success’ is – fame, fortune and being a star is not the only definition. Find your tribe and create work with them. Be self-mastering and don’t wait for others to ordain you with work – make your own. Prepare for auditions with vigour, then throw the homework away and be your confident, authentic self. Have other interests outside acting to inform your craft. It will make you a better actor. And remember, it’s all about the audience. You’re privileged to be facilitating a process or holding a space for someone else to learn about an idea.