Extract from: The West Australian , July 29th, 2005.
Written by Ron Banks


  There was a desire in the initial stages of 1980 to attract big-name performers to run the various courses in theatre, dance andmusic - and there is no doubt that if Sir John Gielgud had been attracted, the academy would have jumped at the chance to snare such a prestigious figure - even if there was no evidence of his administrative skills.  

Rideout recalls that his first public production for WAAPA was Pleasure and Repentance performed by the new first-year students mid-year in 1982.

“We were keen to show the government, educational authorities and the public what we could do in terms of training."

The piece was a sequel to the John Barton compilation called The Hollow Crown and provided ideal opportunities for adaptation into music, dance, verse, prose and song, this time about guilty pleasures and their repercussions.

Later that first year Rideout directed Ted Hughes’ stunning version of Oedipus again testing the training aspects of voice and movement for actors, who still had two more years to hone those skills.

The West Australian review of the production said:
‘The performers - the first intake in the new fully professional course - cannot be critically reviewed at this early stage but the new Head of Theatre , Mr Nigel Rideout, can be assessed. If the presentation of the programme is an indication of his future contribution to the arts in this State, then the theatre world in Perth has struck gold!’

No famous name seemed interested in coming to this remote corner of the world, but experienced English staff with backgrounds in similar drama schools in London and elsewhere were intrigued by the prospect of getting a new institution off the ground.

Nigel Rideout, Deputy Principal of the famous London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, was offered to take over the theatre course at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne but turned the appointment down in favour of starting a new enterprise and so became the founding Head of Theatre, bringing with him over later years several of his well-credentialed colleagues; Lisle Jones, Chris Edmund, Jenny and the late Brian Warren, Reg Bolton and Annie Stainer as well as many distinguished visiting artistes throughout the first three years to enable the course to get off to a flying start.

Since then Rideout has served several terms on the staff at WAAPA in between work commitments in the UK, and is currently contracted as official archivist as part of the 25th Anniversary programme.