Teddy Burgess

Highly Commended


Category: Performing Arts

Subcategory: Drama

Specialisation: Actor


As a musical theatre actor embarking on a career in Australia, the opportunity to gain international experience and make valuable contacts would be greatly beneficial for me as a performer. In the years to come, I hope the experience gained overseas would also help me to make a valuable and unique contribution to the Australian musical theatre industry as a whole.

The opportunities for greater learning and industry experience available overseas would enhance my ability to focus in a performance-based environment. Being exposed to world-leading performers and the latest technology would undoubtedly inspire me to learn; I know that I would take the opportunity to push myself creatively to get the absolute best out of myself.

Auditioning and studying within Australia has allowed me to immerse myself in the outstanding concepts and works that are available within our country. However, I believe that in order to develop our industry further, it is crucial to expose ourselves to the work and ideas of industry professionals globally. I would use my time abroad to make new connections that would further my journey towards being an ambassador for the industry’s growth and prosperity.

Growing my level of independence is crucial in developing my skills and nature as an actor. Once it is possible to travel again, this scholarship would help me to gain greater independence while in a productive and industry-fuelled environment, learning from professionals and attaining valuable industry experience. Taking myself out of the comfort zone that I have in Australia would be very beneficial for me both personally and professionally, helping me to learn about myself and where I fit in this ever-changing performance world.

As a young and aspiring performer, I am always looking to learn of new and evolving ideas to help use my training in innovative ways. Working overseas would expose me to many unique ideas which I could bring back to Australia, not only to enhance my own career, but to share with others in the musical theatre community; I would also endeavour to learn techniques for teaching others the skills that I had learnt abroad. Through teaching, not only would others benefit and grow, but I would be able to better my own skills through sharing and collaboration. Attending high quality dance classes at schools like Pineapple Studios, and taking singing lessons with renowned Vocal Process teachers like Jeremy Fisher and Gillyanne Kayes, would expose me to styles of teaching perhaps not available in Australia.

Another way I plan on enhancing my own knowledge is by immersing myself in the work of professionals in the West End, seeing first-hand what it takes to be successful. I hope to experience the iconic works of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Schwartz, as well as more contemporary writers like Lin Manuel-Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The contrast between more traditional theatre and modern works highlights the vast expanse of the industry and the place both styles maintains within.

Directors such as John Tiffany and Trevor Nunn are inspiring through their bold and insightful directive choices, something that helps me to make similar choices in my acting. The way directors work with their actors and reach directive decisions is an insight I would love to gain in order to have a deeper understanding of the building of a show.

Actors such as Carrie Hope Fletcher, Emilia Clarke and Michael Ball motivate me to be a better performer, and establish myself as a unique individual in the industry, just as they have.

Granted the chance to travel overseas, I hope to enhance my own knowledge and performance skills in countless ways, and take away important lessons by immersing myself in live performances in the West End. This is one aspect of this travel scholarship that is completely unique, and impossible to find outside of London.

I would love to explore the musical theatre world of London, specifically the West End, as it is a world leader in the industry. The West End is the birthplace of many of the most iconic works of musical theatre that are well renowned around the world. London is also the home of the Globe Theatre and the birthplace of many classic plays. London represents not only an outstanding musical theatre industry, but the theatre industry as a whole; all aspects of this broader industry would be embraced on my trip to London.

As London’s West End encompasses a total of thirty-nine theatres, compared to the six theatres that can be found in Melbourne’s East End theatre district, it is clear that the volume of opportunities present in London greatly exceeds those here in Australia. This larger volume of theatre means that there will constantly be increased opportunities available, as well as greater industry exposure. I would use my travel scholarship to make the absolute most of these amazing opportunities, by attempting to see theatre at as many of these venues as possible; I would also embrace London venues that are not included within the West End, such as the National Theatre or the Globe Theatre.

Another huge positive in travelling to London’s theatre district is the considerable difference in opportunities for work in London as opposed to Australia. Due to the substantial volume of work that takes place in London, it is inevitable that the amount of auditions is also greater. This opportunity to audition for high quality West End musical theatre would be incredible on its own, as to audition with and against the talent that works in this area would greatly enhance my own ability to focus, work hard, and work well. As well as this, these opportunities to audition would occur on a much more frequent basis, giving me the chance to show my work to industry professionals in an environment extremely difficult to replicate in Australia.

On my trip, I would also utilise my existing contacts, as well as contacts that I would foster while overseas, to continue to improve all aspects of my performance abilities. Making the most of London-specific resources and experts, like the aforementioned Pineapple Studios, would be invaluable, and experiences I could not have elsewhere.

The West End has fostered some of the great talents of the arts, due not only to the high-performance environment, but also the excellent range and calibre of teachers in London. Learning from a wide variety of successful teachers would be a very crucial aspect of the West End that I would attempt to utilise throughout my trip; experiencing the knowledge that these teachers have to offer would undoubtedly help me to enhance my own performing skills. Through taking classes with teachers from a range of crafts and outlooks, I would be able to gather a rounded knowledge of skills and techniques that would give me the best possible chance of improving as a performer. By exploring a variety of practitioners’ work, and by viewing this work from different angles, I would allow myself to consider which practices are most beneficial to my own work, helping me shape my identity as a performer.

The medium-term goals that I have set myself are simple: to work consistently in the Australian industry, and to continue to train. Both medium and long-term, I hope to develop a platform from which I can reach people and bring the same joy other performers have brought me. By training with professionals in one of the world’s leading sectors, I would be able to both enhance my skill set and establish my identity as a performer. Taking these steps forward would also serve as a gateway to achieving my long-term goals.

My long-term goals are far more broad, but no less important; my biggest dream is to work in both the Broadway and West End theatre precincts professionally and long-term. I hope still that with increased success would come a greater platform from which I could spread the joy of the theatre, and be a beacon of hope for younger performers, not dissimilar to myself right now.

Whilst at school, I immersed myself in the arts as much as possible. Through singing lessons, school choirs, speech and drama lessons and playing the trumpet in a jazz band, I took on every performance opportunity the school offered; I participated in the annual jazz festival, ‘Generations in Jazz’, on multiple occasions, achieving 3rd place twice. I also performed in six musicals; during this time I was cast in three principal roles and achieved a Guild Award nomination. Although grateful for my solo achievements, it was performing with fellow ensemble members that proved most rewarding and provided for the happiest memories. Whilst able to embrace individual performing departments, it was through the school musical that I found my love for musical theatre, and cemented my end goal.

At the beginning of 2017, I was given the fantastic opportunity to travel to New York with the school’s theatre department, attending Broadway productions and workshops run by industry professionals. Being able to experience the industry first-hand provided me with insights that simply cannot be gained by other means. I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and know that I would take even more out of the opportunity to experience the West End in a similar way.

While my passion for performing was born at school, the steps I took outside of school were the most beneficial in providing perspective on the broader theatre world. At 17, I was in my first community theatre production, ‘Wicked’, with the Young Australian Broadway Chorus (YABC). As an ensemble member and Fiyero understudy, I not only improved my performing skills, but made strong connections within the local industry. I began classes with YABC, and the following year, played Combeferre in their production of ‘Les Misérables’. The combination of my diverse experiences fortunately enabled me to achieve my short-term goal of acceptance into the Diploma of Musical Theatre at NIDA for 2019.

Studying at NIDA has been my biggest achievement so far, and has had an incredible impact on me, both as a performer and person. I was fortunate enough to spend my time there studying under the tutelage of industry greats, including Philip Quast, Simon Burke and Anne-Maree McDonald. Throughout my time at NIDA, I took part in four shows within the institute, including a new production called ‘Starstruck’; this was actively produced by Broadway and West End producer Garry McQuinn with RGM Productions. I was also cast in a show as part of the Festival for Emerging Artists, where I could work with industry professionals within the cast, as well as graduating students from many departments. These opportunities have formed strong stepping-stones for my career, and the invaluable guidance provided will stay with me throughout.

This trip to London would be a huge step in my journey to achieve these goals, and if awarded a travel scholarship I know I would use it to give myself the best chance of achieving them.

One of the great opportunities the performing arts industry provides is the ability to both pass on knowledge and provide joy to others. I highly value the chance to pass on information to others in my community through teaching performing arts and hope to expand my range of opportunities to share more of my time and skill set.

I am currently employed by YABC as an Assistant Teacher, involving myself in singing, drama and dance classes.

Although I have only had this opportunity since the beginning of 2020, working in this role has been extremely rewarding. I have loved being able to not only pass on performance skills to the younger generation, but also give back to the institution that taught me many of them. Remembering the traits I appreciated most in my teachers at YABC, NIDA and school, and being able to share them in my own way with students has been extremely special, and allowed me to grow individually. I intend to continue teaching in some way throughout my career and whatever it brings, to both give back and help develop the younger generations of performers. If awarded this scholarship, I know I would be able to better myself in a teaching format through observing some of the world’s greats, and upon return, pass on knowledge to others in a more effective manner.

After completing year 12, I have enjoyed supporting the school’s theatre faculty through the costume department. Simple things like being a helping-hand or providing support are small things that make a positive impact, and one’s I hope to continue for many years to come, wherever I can. I have also enjoyed sharing my experiences at NIDA with future students, or those interested in the course and seeking information.

While overseas, I would compile the results of my travels, classes and experiences in a video-log, uploaded online regularly throughout my trip. This would expose a greater audience to my unique experiences, while also regularly providing updates on my own progress. This would give others the opportunity to be exposed to the West End environment remotely, whilst also giving me a chance to look back on my journey in reflection of my development, furthermore I hope to use technology as a platform to share my industry experience and personal growth with a broader audience throughout my career. I currently am exposed to many past and present actors through social media and other forms of technology, and hope one day to share my own journey as they have shared with me.

Performing gives an actor the ability to share a story with an audience, and in doing so, provide an outlet for the community from their daily lives. Being able to share the joy that is theatre and performance is an incredible way to pay it forward and give back to society, and is something I have always loved about the industry, both amateur and professional. I hope to do this by making theatre more accessible to people of all social standings, whether that be through free performances, classes or simply singing in a public area.

Reaching out not only to people struggling financially, but socially too, is a cause very important to me. Theatre has, and forever will, be a uniting force for those who are ‘different’ or feel they don’t fit in, and as someone who has spent a lot of their life on the outside of social circles, theatre has given me and so many others a larger community to be part of; the performing arts provides a platform for people to express the parts of themselves that are perceived as ‘different’. If I can do one thing through my career, let it be that I continue to foster this environment and be a mentor for young people struggling to be their true selves.

“The candidate identifies a unique program of activity, is highly motivated to develop their own professional skills and knowledge, and to share these with others.” – BBM Industry Panel


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