TAFE SA Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts) Head of Acting, Terry Crawford, talks about the recent launch of his second book Dimensions of Acting, an Australian Approach, lecturing at AC Arts and his career highlights.
1. Could you give a brief background on your book and your motivation to write it?
It is extremely rare for an Australian to get the privilege of writing a book about acting. We inherit most of our ideas about acting from overseas. My belief is that there is something distinct about Australian acting, and I wanted to explore that. Also, my approach is a way of reconciling my anti-dogmatic position. Consequently, I offer in the book a ‘model of eclecticism’ that I claim is a useful navigational tool for acting, no matter how experienced or inexperienced the actor.
2. What do you hope readers gain from your book?
A navigational tool to help guide them through their acting, at whatever level. A way of looking at acting challenges that does not deny any extant methods or theories, but welcomes them all and creates context for them.
3. What did you gain from your PhD study in Sydney?
I’m interested in taking my theorising about acting back to the rehearsal room and the studio floor, and testing its applicability to my acting colleagues in the industry. I’m also very interested in the gap or the ‘shyness’ that exists in Australia between theory and practice in acting, and I look to confound that.
4. Could you comment on the Advanced Diploma of Arts (Acting) pathway to further study at Flinders University?
Ours (AC Arts’) is the only course in Adelaide that models itself on the studio training of schools like NIDA [National Institute of Dramatic Art] and WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts), as distinct from the university context of Flinders. We are the ‘actor-training’ course; our friends at Flinders are the university Drama course with an interest in embodied learning. It’s an enormous distinction. Our course is not a pathway to Flinders, but I would like to see develop the mechanisms that might allow students to build pathways, in both directions!
Mr Crawford in Speaking in Tongues
5. What do you love most about teaching at AC Arts?
I feel that as an acting teacher I have the privilege of working with the best young people of their generation: talented, good, witty and gutsy.
6. What have been some of your career highlights?
As an actor, too many to name, because I look for and love the art in the work. Recently, I was enormously proud to be part of Attempts on her Life, Romeo and Juliet, Speaking in Tongues and King Lear at State Theatre Company, Blackbird, for Flying Penguins Productions, and The Hypochondriac, for Brink Productions.
As a teacher, every time a young actor breaks through to new artistic ground, I am totally thrilled.
As a writer, I’m hugely proud of both my books, and of the half dozen plays I’ve had produced around the country. My verse comedy, Love’s Triumph, triumphantly produced in Sydney in 2004 and 2007 was probably a highlight.
Find out more about acting courses at the Adelaide College of the Arts.