Heath Ledger oral history project

Recording the careers of aspiring artists
 Ken Berryman
Photo: Howie Berlin. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence.

Sixteen interviews have been recorded and videotaped with graduating students from eight partner institutions for the Heath Ledger Young Artists Oral History Project. Inspired by Heath Ledger, whose untimely death left us with little of his oral history, the project records the thoughts and aspirations of audiovisual artists at the start of their careers.

Associated interviews were also filmed with actors Samara Weaving, Eamon Farren, opera singer Karen Fitz-Gibbon and Heath Ledger Scholarship Winners Ryan Corr (2011 winner) and Anna McGahan (2012).

A selection of clips from these interviews can be viewed on the NFSA Youtube channel and in the playlist below. Completed interviews demonstrate the graduating students’ articulate and thoughtful perspective on their chosen professions.

Selections from the first round of interviews recorded for Heath Ledger Young Artists Oral History Project 2011/2012.

Students interviewed
Actor Ryan Corr & interviewer Dr Margaret Leask.


Watch interview excerpts on YouTube:
Joseph Chapman, ABS
Victoria Goodyear, VCA
Caroline Karlsson, NAS
Stephen McCallum, AFTRS
Rose Maher, UOW
Simon Thelning, CASS
Tony Walsh, QUT
Josie Wardrope, NICA




Other students interviewed:
Rocky Amaranto, AFTRS
Jack Brandtman, CASS
Jackson Davis, UOW
Rebecca Kingma, VCA
Alison McGirr, QUT
James Nguyen, NAS
Hannah O’Neill, ABS
Simon Reynolds, NICA

To view any of these interviews, subject to permission, please contact your nearest NFSA Access centre.


Working with Heath

Actor Bryan Brown talks about working with Heath Ledger on Two Hands (1999).



The Australian Ballet School

The Australian Ballet School, the school of The Australian Ballet, is the national centre for excellence in classical dance training in Australia. Our environment is conducive to producing artistic, educated and outstanding dancers of the highest international standard.

We aim to nurture young talent so that every provision is made for the best to be the best – to guide students to develop into well-balanced human beings, with a strong ethical sense – well fed in body, mind and spirit.

ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Since its inception in 1946, ANU has led the intellectual and creative development of the nation. At ANU we teach what we research and our researchers and teachers are world class. The university is consistently ranked among the best in the world, and top rated in Australia. ANU is an intimate, welcoming campus, which is walking distance from the city centre.


The university has fewer students and more academics than many others. Our links with leading universities in Asia, Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States provide opportunities for collaboration and exchange.

NAISDA Dance College

NAISDA has a proud tradition over the past 35 years in producing the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders performers and artists. NAISDA is truly a unique institution which allows young people to follow their artistic and cultural aspirations with confidence because they will graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed.


NAISDA graduates make a significant contribution to the culture of dance in Australia as performers, choreographers, teachers, directors and arts workers.

NAISDA provides groundbreaking delivery of four Careers in Dance training courses, culminating in a diploma in Careers in Dance. A member of the Commonwealth Roundtable for Excellence in Arts Training, NAISDA’s major funding comes from the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, with funding support also provided by Department Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the NSW Department of Education and Training.

The National Art School


The National Art School is Australia’s oldest and most renowned visual arts institution, acknowledged nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence in fine art education. The School engages with the community and enhances its degree courses, public programs and short-courses through a vibrant program of educational events and exhibitions including the NAS Gallery Exhibition Program, Art Forum, Artist-in-Residency Scheme and the NAS Study Centre for Drawing programs.


National Institute of Circus Arts


The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is Australia’s Centre of Excellence in contemporary circus.

NICA is a national not-for-profit arts training institution auspiced by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne who accredit NICA’s academic and training programs. As the only training institution of its kind in Australia, NICA provides professional training through a three-year Bachelor of Circus Arts.

Other courses include the Certificate III & IV in Circus Arts and a range of recreational short courses. NICA graduates are employed in major circuses across Australia and internationally.


University of Wollongong – Faculty of Creative Arts

Theatre programs within the Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong are respected nationally as a challenging training designed to produce broadly educated and versatile theatre artists.

The new Bachelor of Performance and the BCA Theatre offer practical skills development, rich creative opportunities and a deep theoretical understanding of the fundamentals of theatre and performance.

Whether students are looking to act, direct, devise or animate, or to work on-stage or backstage, the combination of skills development, production opportunities, lectures, and workshops will help them explore a variety of theatrical and performance genres. Intensive, hands-on experience with leading teachers, directors, and performance-makers working professionally, brings this to life in a collaborative environment of practical and rigorous learning. Students in the Bachelor of Creative Arts and the Bachelor of Performance benefit from being part of an outstanding Australian university, recognised nationally and internationally for its sense of exploration, its spirit of innovation, and its bold educational initiatives.


Queensland University of Technology Creative Industries

Through forward-looking courses, cutting-edge research and a proven track record in growing the creative economy, QUT Creative Industries is leading the way nationally and internationally.


Located in the Creative Industries Precinct alongside research centres and creative enterprises at Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, QUT Creative Industries is not only training the creative workforce, but working with industry and government to grow the sector.

Our connections to industry and the leading-edge research we conduct tell us that creativity has never been more valued by employers. As the benefits of creativity are recognised by multinational businesses, creative talents are increasingly in demand in a range of industries – not just traditional cultural institutions.


West Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University


The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) is recognised as one of Australia’s most prestigious and comprehensive performing arts institutions.



WAAPA, part of Edith Cowan University, provides the most comprehensive range of performing arts training in Australia offering a range of courses including: Aboriginal theatre, acting, arts management, broadcasting, costume, dance, design, lighting, music, music theatre, props and scenery, sound and stage management.

Every year students, staff, and critically acclaimed guest artists collaborate to present over 300 public performances – more productions and more diversity than any other arts training institution in Australia, giving our students the most rigorous, simulated industry training available in the performing arts industry today.


Australian Film Television and Radio School







Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music