Bowing out

17. 791ARTS2After 30 years WAAPA’s head of acting Chris Edmund will take a final bow.

In his time at the Mount Lawley school he’s trained Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), William McInnes (Look Both Ways), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) and Jai Courtney (Die Hard V).

He says it’s great to drive through Los Angeles and see WAAPA graduates on every billboard.

“It’s great! It’s such a pleasure to see Les Miserables and see [Jackman] in an extreme close up being so present and brilliant, it’s exciting of course,” Mr Edmund says.

“I’m incredibly proud that we’ve cracked an international reputation.
“Everywhere in the industry there are WAAPA graduates from this particular course, so it’s very gratifying to see that.”

Mr Edmund came over from London in 1983 to teach part-time and took up the full-time headmaster gig 25 years ago.

He says he loves directing students and quickly came to prefer it over professional troupes.“They’re incredibly open… incredibly motivated,” he says. With a typical turnout of 900 auditioning for just 18 places at WAAPA’s world-renowned acting course, he says fierce competition keeps students motivated and he doesn’t need to crack the whip.

“They come to WAAPA for the rigour that will take them through the cold, hard reality of a very competitive industry.”

He says his retirement won’t be entirely quiet.

“I’ve been doing a lot of painting recently, I’ve got an exhibition on at the moment, and my writing… and I thought after 25 years I’ve paid my dues,” he chuckles.

“I’ll just focus on a freelance career, on projects that interest me, and see how I go.

“I’m not going to retire in the sense of putting my slippers on: Hopefully it’ll be a new adventure.”

by DAVID BELL

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