11 August 2023

Entertained the idea of going professional? Top coach is heading your way - Goulburn

| Sally Hopman
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Dianna Nixon teaches a class at the historic Gunning Showground in the Southern Tablelands. Photo: Shelly Higgs.

It’s hard enough breaking into the entertainment industry, but when you live out of town, distance and lack of facilities can make it so much harder.

A former country girl herself, Dianna Nixon, singer, pianist, actor, director, writer, filmmaker and voice coach, heads Music Theatre Projects from her home in the rural hamlet of Gunning, just outside Canberra and from her studio in Dickson, in the centre of the nation’s capital.

“For me, it’s all about building up accessiblity for people, regardless of where they live,” she said. “Even today, in this era of Zoom meetings, country people can miss out on opportunities if they live out of town or can’t leave where they live, on the family farm.”

So Dianna, and her friend and colleague, Chris Nolan – who is the voice coach for the hit play, Elvis the Musical – have joined forces to share their skills with aspiring musicians, dancers and actors in the Southern Tablelands region.

Based at the Hume Conservatorium in Goulburn from next week, 16 August, Chris will present What Next?a workshop designed for senior students of drama, dance, music and voice as well as for teachers, directors, musical directors and performing artists.

The Hume Conservatorium, the centre for music education in the Southern Tablelands and Southern Highlands, was founded in 1985 as a member of the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums.

A spokesperson said it was thrilled to be supporting this opportunity for the professional development of singers in the region.

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The plan, Dianna said, was for artists to take the next steps from how best to develop their careers from where they live to a life on stage.

“We are really hoping to attract people to the workshop from all around this area,” she said. “From places like Crookwell, Yass, Gunning and Bungendore.

“We want to help them build up accessibility, help them get on the right pathway by working with people who are already in the profession.

“Entertainers are like athletes. They need to prepare for all their events, build an awareness in what they’re doing so they can get the best results.

“People have a lot of different options these days so we can help introduce them to platforms where, if they choose, can stay living on the family farm or work in the family business and feel secure and not in a more precarious sort of lifestyle.”

Teacher with class on the floor

Chris Nolan works with a class of singers and dancers. The acclaimed voice coach will be in Goulburn for workshops next week. Photo: Chris Parker.

The Goulburn workshop is not for beginners, Dianna said. Rather, it’s for people who have already made a commitment to work on their craft as entertainers, regardless of what genre.

“It’s also good to have a lot of people in the room when you’re doing this sort of thing because the more people you have the more they connect. And of course it’s a great opportunity to also connect with people who are already working in the indutry.”

Dianna said another class, this time focusing on dancers, had been scheduled for Sunday, 20 August, also at Goulburn. Dancers and dance teachers are invited to take part with the focus placed on how to combine the two skills – singing and dancing.

“I would really love to see a full house for this class,” Dianna said. “I love working with dancers and there are so many important elements to cover when you combine the two skills.”

Additional classes will be held at the Dickson studio. Bookings can be made online.

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