Moulding the next generation of Aussie talent

18 Business ACOPA
18 Business ACOPA
Jack Hayes

For Lindsay Saddington, teaching young Australian actors has been a life’s work.

As owner, founder and artistic director of Raglan St’s Australian Centre of Performing Arts (ACOPA), his teaching philosophy has never just gravitated around readying Australian talent for screen or stage, but to use the “creative process to assist people in understanding who they are and helping them on their journey through life.”

“When it comes to teaching, it is not about us parting all our knowledge on to a student, it’s about finding where the student is at, not just their creative ability, but their personality too, and working with them in developing characters,” Mr Saddington said. “What may work for one student may not work for another.”

“My aim with ACOPA has always been to create a space where people can study, work on their own projects and assist them into developing a career.”

“It’s not just about training students and at the end saying goodbye, it’s about us being there for them for whether it’s going for an audition, whether it’s developing a theatrical project or creating a film.”

ACOPA offers a range of classes including stage acting, singing, dance, cabaret, musical theatre and screen acting, where students are given the opportunity to participate in shows, short films, theatrical production, cabaret and music videos.

Mr Saddington has had a long career working and teaching in the arts as an actor in film, television, and theatre, as a director of theatre and music video productions, and as a producer of theatre, music video, and film.

With his formative acting years spent between the William Bates Academy of Performing Arts to teaching at Deakin’s Victoria College Toorak campus, his decision to open ACOPA was based on a need to offer a more holistic journey for young creatives.

“It is important for us all to have creative outlet, we were born with a natural desire to explore, invent and challenge ourselves. As children it is educated out of us as they are caught up in the ‘system,’” he said.


“If after the course acting isn’t for you, that’s fine, because the creative process is about leaning about yourself and understanding who you are what you want to be doing in life.”


“If you decide you’d prefer to be a doctor or scientist that’s great, because working from a creative process it assists people in understanding who they really are and what they want to do.”

Aspiring performers are invited to attend ACOPA’s 2022 open day Sunday, September 25 from 1pm to 4pm to learn about courses, meet their teachers and be entertained with impromptu performance by teach and guest artists. •

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Caption: ACOPA founder and artistic director, Lindsay Saddington.

PhotoL Murray Enders.

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