Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published December 31st 2012
Performing arts school delivers professional tools
A new performing arts school has opened its doors, delivering high-level tuition to prepare students for university. The institute has been set up by former WA Academy of Performing Arts lecturer Ian Westrip OAM at the Perth Modern School campus.
Ian Westrip, second from right, with auditionees Caitlin Rowe, Callum Vinsen and Samantha Lane
The Westrip Institute of Vocal and Performing Arts provides full-time and part-time courses in classical vocal work, stage to screen acting, musical theatre and dance with an emphasis on practical experience in staged productions and concert work.
Also a lecturer in singing at the University of WA, he recognised a need for a higher standard of tutoring beyond that provided in schools and also saw a need to further assist those who wish to prepare for further vocal stage work and performance.
All class work features individual coaching and tuition from well-established professionals with years of experience in the profession, as well as respected tutors in their subjects.
We strive to give a personal approach to each individual, something that is sometimes absent in tertiary level education" Westrip said.
Educated in Perth, London and Glasgow, Westrip conducted and sang with the Australian, Scottish, Canberra and West Australian Operas in the 1970s, later extending his work into further chorus training and conducting.
In the 80s, he formed the Music Theatre Company of WA to create more opportunities for young people to work professionally and was also musical director of the UWA Choral Society, at the same time continuing to sing and conduct for the WA Opera Company and Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
In 1993, after completing 10 years as director of music at John XXIII College, Westrip was made chorus master of the English National Opera and conducted a recording of Intermezzi and Preludes with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his services to music as a performer and teacher in 1998.
Having lectured at WAAPA, UWA, Edith Cowan University and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, I'm well aware of the requirements of these institutions," Westrip said.
"In some cases, there is a need to ensure students are well-prepared for this level of study. It's my experience many go on successfully to schools in other states or overseas with some even going directly into the profession.
"The new institute shall continue to bridge the gap and, in some cases, provide an alternative to those wishing to stay and live in WA."
The Westrip Institute offers a variety of courses, held in the afternoon, evenings and weekends to cater for university and mature-age students, starting with WA Certificate of Education courses at Year 10 level.
There is also a "create-your-own" facility for mature-age students wanting to study only a few subject units, in addition to their own full-time courses.
"The emphasis is on performance work and, from 2013, students will also have the opportunity to perform in the musicals Company and Cats at the Regal Theatre and Subiaco Arts Centre, as well as plays, choral and solo work as part of their course," Westrip said.
Affiliated with the ICW Performing Arts Association and Stage Door School, the Westrip Institute of Vocal and Performing Arts is located at the Perth Modern School campus, Hamilton Street, Subiaco.