….was the text I received from her owner, Kit Fortune, this week.  To the rest of the world this is no real heart-breaking news especially as there has been a large amount of animals dying in floods and fire in Australia recently – those animals who were so much a part of people’s lives and experiences never to be replicated.

Bindi and Kit Fortune

Last pic of "Bindi" with Coral

And so, with “Bindi” a little “red” kelpie of fourteen years old who had been Kit’s shadow-biter  for all that time  – died quietly at the vet’s.  She was already a well- educated  dog when I first met her 2001 in Gawler, South Australia, when Kit came to the “McLeod’s Daughters” production office to personally hand over his CV and photo so he could be cast in the first series -and on which both Kit , and his mother Coral, were to work on as various members of the local “Gungellan” community right through to the last series in 2008.

As the Casting Associate I was initially wary, like all Casting people,  of the wonderful talents told of “Bindi” (let alone any human actor’s self-praise) to become an Extra,  until I saw how she was one of the most natural performers – she took direction, did not pee just anywhere, didn’t complain about the long waits, the catering, the heat, the cold – and kept her mouth shut. ((in fact it was Kit who always did all the talking and he soon learned to tell his stories  far away from the set)


Kit with "Bindi" and "Jasmin"

“Bindi” worked only on public land because the McLeod’s property at Kingsford was quarantined to “outside” animals.  If you don’t blink you can see her  running about the town in manyl episodes …

“McLeod’s Daughters” is still playing on screens throughout the world and of course you can buy your very own videos of the whole eight series to watch all the animals and their stories interacting with the humans!







The Acting Business aka Show Business: What does fifteen minutes of fame cost? Do you really need to be a celebrity? What about a solid-based drama training that sets you up for a creative life without false promises of constant work, and not to be in thousands of dollars of debt when you graduate?

All these questions have been in my mind for some years now and I thought I would use them as an introduction to my Testimonial. It’s that time of year again in Australia when the traditional 2/3/4/year drama schools graduate their students and hold auditions for the next year’s intake. I’ve often wondered how most of those students have managed to pay their debts to the taxpayers who have supported them (even though they are charged interest)

Of course the institutional backing of recognised nationally and internationally  drama schools is indeed of some comfort but what about those other creative people who find the whole idea of a large  concrete Campus – University or Tafe- overwhelming? Perhaps they still do not know what their inherent skills are and therefore get lost in the mix? There are indeed classes run by Agents who of course need to earn a living and to know what their clients are capable of:  the schools headed and run by former actors and directors and producers who also bring in current casting directors from home and abroad to fast-track the creative (and employment) process. I know!  I’ve worked with just about all of those over the years – teaching my own brand of Audition techniques for the Screen- but I’ve always believed that success is not sustainable if there is no in-depth training  -such as how to self- devise theatre work, stage manage,  audition and gain parts in student films, role-plays and host-presenting , alongside the traditional speech and drama techniques. Of course there are producers and directors who like to use “real people”  a Casting Director I was talking to recently had been asked to cast a real person who only had to say five words and was totally incapable once on set – an expensive exercise!   Would the Australian Ballet or Opera Australia use “real people” to dance and sing? But there are those people who just want their fifteen seconds (yes- seconds on the screen!)  of  fame and of course they’ll work for nothing or for little money without realising they’ll be on the scrapheap all too soon – especially as the competition is so great.

THE ACTORS WORKSHOP   was formed 19 years ago in Brisbane by Lyn Kidd. It is a privately-run and owned drama school with no Government financial assistance or grants from private enterprise. Lyn provides a tight schedule, individual attention, specialist teachers and on-going support to former students. Each October for fourteen years  I have taught a minimum of thirty-two hours in a week, and with each year between six and fourteen students who would be graduating that December. No matter what career they would eventually pursue they will all have received a sound knowledge of the casting process. Over the years there have been many full-time and private students who have found success in all forms of creativity. THE ACTORS WORKSHOP owns the curriculum, and I am paid to deliver it. I work as a freelance teacher and casting person if and when I wish. I am not aligned or paid any other time by THE ACTORS WORKSHOP or by any other person or business organisation.

THE ACTORS WORKSHOP does not give fee help – students need to work to pay fees – so no debt when they leave.





ROWENA BALOS Master Teacher
It’s been my pleasure to have been invited to teach the students at TAW every year, almost since its inception. There are several distinguishing factors that set this school apart, and they are what make my yearly Standard American Accent/Voice workshop so exciting and inspiring for me.The teaching faculty is world class; the students are well trained, extremely disciplined and a delight to teach.  The small class size — never more than 14 – makes room for the individual attention so necessary for real growth and a deeper learning experience.  I highly recommend this unique school, spearheaded by its principal, the amazing Lyn Kidd.

Lyn Kidd had been listening to me on the radio and mentioned to Sue Manger that my lisp distracted her from the content. When Sue told me this, I was surprised. What lisp? I knew Lyn was a voice teacher, so I was excited to take a private one-on-one session with her to explore this. We made so much progress in that one session that I continued my private sessions with Lyn for nine months, during which time she taught me breathing techniques, physical exercises, and voice techniques to improve my delivery on radio and on television (where I am a frequent guest). I had been told during my many years on public media that I was a natural, so I was initially concerned that the lisp-correction and other exercises would make me focus on technique and lose natural flow, but I have found this not to be the case. I still do the exercises regularly, and warm up before a show, but once I’m on air I put it all out of my mind. Another key aspect for me is that much of my work (media and clients) is international, so clear diction is vital when my audience or client is listening to my particular English/Australian accent and my sometimes quite different vocabulary and expressions. Lyn was fun to work with, very patient, a clear communicator, and always made me feel that I was making progress. She gave me regular homework exercises which were always fun – tongue twisters, breathing. I can thoroughly recommend Lyn as a private voice coach for anyone interested in improving their vocal communication and presentation skills within any arena.

RITA ARTMANN Actor/ Producer
I graduated from The Actors Workshop in 2007. The training I received whilst at the school has given me the confidence and ability to survive in this industry. The Actors Workshop encourages students to build their resumes from the moment they walk through their doors and makes every effort to ensure they do so and help them along the way. Lyn Kidd offered me support from my first day of training to my last and unlike most institutions the support and mentoring has continued to this very day. Lyn stands behind her students and ensures that not only do they have the training needed to become a fantastic actor but also gives them the tools to keep themselves employed. Lyn made me the proactive, dedicated and professional person I am today and has supported every one of my endevours in every way she could since the day I met her. As an actor, I have learnt and grown immensely. My technique and ability has been the foundation of all of my success in this industry and I owe that to The Actors Workshop. As a producer I can confidently say that the students graduating from The Actors Workshop are at the top of their game. The training they receive is unparralled by any other Brisbane institution. It is always obvious when you are sitting in an audition room and a TAW graduate walks in the door. As a person, The Actors Workshop has provided me with the best years and most treasured memories of my life. Attending this school was the best decision I have EVER made.
TAW NEWSLETTERS # 11/12/13/ “Performers”

I returned to Australia from filming in Croatian, after being 7 years in Europe , to be with family; the third season of a TV series and a film that I should have been working on in Croatia had fell through at the very last moment due to financing and subsequently due to a contractual conflict was unable to take a role on a New Zealand production. I therefore decided to use Australia as my base and from here work anywhere in the world.

Lyn Kidd has played a vitally instrumental role in my career. She has been both my mentor and teacher for my craft, and role model as a person. My time studying at her school The Actors Workshop equipped me to sustain a gruelling successful career overseas. It also put me in a position to cope through the years after training, forming myself as an actor. The thing is, I’ve never stopped learning from Lyn. Even now I’m learning new insights into my craft through our discussions. I have received nothing but continual encouragement and utter support in my career from her. Her dedication towards her students, them working in the industry and in the wider community is nothing but inspiring. I’m blessed to have met her, to have studied under her at The Actors Workshop and to know her. I’ve lived such an amazing life thus far, and for me as an actor, my best is yet to come.

After settling down at home I’m keenly looking forward to filming my next major role. I’m currently in between the casting process (being contacted both overseas and at home in Australia), flying interstate, meeting industry contacts, photoshoots, media interviews, and working out as an actor (just fresh from filming with Australian great Peter James ACS, ASC). Additionally I’ve been concentrating on completing writing projects for theatre, film and TV that I intend one day to be put into action with the numerous industry professionals I’ve worked with.
TAW NEWSLETTER #4  “Performers”

In my year at the Actors Workshop, 1998-1999, Lyn equipped me with brilliant method and much practice, and I grew in confidence, but more than this, I grew as a person.  I was able to search my mind, my motives, my fears, my strengths and my passions, and it is this self-awareness that I continue to draw on every time I am discovering a line or creating a character.  I  was always an actor, but my ‘Acting Career’ is time-lined from exactly this year.

For her students, Lyn has been an actor’s lifeline, which extends far beyond a teacher role.  Personally she has given me opportunity to countless auditions, which has led to much rewarding work and the acclaim and recognition of a Queensland New Filmakers Award for best female actor. This was the crucial starting point which has perpetuated a futher decade of exciting and fulfilling work, including TVC’s, and roles in Short Films, Television Series(K9) and Feature Films such as Daybreakers, The Horseman, Bad Karma and Mabo to name a few. The Actor’s Workshop allows everyone to make those crucial contacts within the industry and allows industry people to find them.   It is no surprise that it has become renown for disciplined actors and is continuing to be a great source of talent for many Brisbane directors and producers.  I continue to be inspired by her efforts for all around her and will forever be grateful for the creative hub she has built, the doorway to my dreams.
TAW NEWSLETTERS #1/13 “Performers”

BARBARA BAUGH Actor/Executive Training Support Officer-ACPA
I moved to Brisbane in 1998 and began studying at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts. In my 2nd year, ACPA employed Lyn Kidd and Rob Doran from The Actors Workshop. I became extremely close with Lyn and she offered me a scholarship to attend The Actors Workshop.  I jumped at this opportunity, not only was I continuing my training as an actor but I also was given the opportunity to train as an Improvisation teacher.

Whilst studying at TAW I was also completing a traineeship in office administration. Once I completed my Cert III, Lyn offered me a position as Administrator.  I completed my Advanced Diploma in Film, TV and Theatre Acting. I trained Improvisation and Develop Industry Awareness and also did a three month stint in the role of acting principal.

The skills I have gained from Lyn and TAW has set me up for who I am today. The training was of high standard and very professional.  I still work as an actor performing in TVCs, short films, theatre, corporate videos etc and am currently working at ACPA as the Executive Training Support Officer. I highly recommend The Actors Workshop to anyone wanting a career in the field of acting.
Agent: Ego Management (07) 3256 1822

The below statement is heartfelt and true. I really am so thankful for my time at TAW it gave me direction, inspiration, and most importantly,  belief in myself.
My work ethic is based on an ideal Lyn Kidd taught me THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS “LUCK” IN THIS BUSINESS, IT IS PREPARATION MEETING OPPORTUNITY. If you really want to achieve long term goals this is true.

As a producer at the Seven Network for the past 8 years I rely on a foundation I developed at TAW – an understanding of story, character, and performance. No matter the format or genre of the program, these are the fundamental basics that all decisions ultimately come back to.
Contact David through www.theactorsworkshop.com.au

SHARNY KIESER Writer/TV Producer
The intense training that I went through at the Workshop has been incredible not only to learn the technical side of things but when I was a student Lyn said one  thing  to us in class one day and that is “You cannot just sit back and wait to be discovered, you have to go out there and create your own work and build your profile as an artist’ WOW!! Thank you so much Lyn. I still hear those words in my head now!

Creating “YUMMY MUMMY TV” – an Internet TV Show – has been an incredible journey for me. It made me realise that I can create my own work.  People will follow you and watch you anywhere if you have a great product and are authentic (be yourself). “Yummy Mummy TV” was started as a hobby for me (my husband’s idea) because I had just had a baby and was struggling to get to auditions and I didn’t want to stop my acting (I loved it to much). So we just started filming and I thought “Even if it’s just me and a couple of friends that watch it, at least I will still be practising my craft and everything I have learned at  “The Actors Workshop”. Anyway it went viral with mums from all over the world watching and even dads emailing me to ask if they can watch too. We started a Facebook page and within two weeks had 5500 likers. I couldn’t believe it!! I have written two books. One called ‘Never Diet Again’ that has just hit book stores across Australia -we own a gym and my husband and I are both fitness coaches.The second, a children’s book “Where Have All the Pixies Gone”  is about to be released. Plus we are writing our third book at the moment. Also in the pipeline right now and days away from launch another internet TV show on health and fitness … Stay Tuned!  We want to make loads of money in our businesses so we can fund our own feature films.

Another ‘golden nugget’ I got from Lyn (she’s not just a pretty face) is when you have enough money to make your own movie….. Choose a brilliant movie that you love and find out who wrote the script. Contact them because chances are they probably have hundreds of scripts just sitting there. Choose a script you love and then BOOM.. cast yourself in as the lead! Lyn says “Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Will Smith do it all the time, how to do you think they keep themselves in work and keep themselves famous!” Thanks Lyn.

LAURA GNIBUS World Traveller
Synchronicity led me to The Actors Workshop. After all, isn’t being at the right place at the right time (and with the right stuff) that leads to success in the industry in particular, and more importantly, life in general?

Let me explain the synchronicity: It so happened that I went to the Botanical Gardens in Sydney to see a performance of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” back in 1995 and that Rowena Balos, master teacher extraordinaire, was in attendance as well. It so happened on what appeared to be a clear-sky evening, it began to rain. It so happened that Rowena and I escaped to the cover of the same palm tree, meeting for the first time. It so happened that Rowena and I are both from America and that she was an acting coach, and I wanted to be an actress. It so happened Rowena was dear friends with an acting teacher, Lyn Kidd, in southeast Queensland (where I was living) who had just happened to start The Actors Workshop (TAW) the year before. And, the rest, as they say, is history.

“But, Laura, I’ve never heard of you” I assume you’re saying. Yes, this is true. My experience in film/television is limited to acting in a variety of short films (including Bronwyn Schmerl’s “First Love” with Robert Jozinovic, TAW graduate), appearing 5 seconds as an extra in a Bollywood film, and voice coaching on the set of “Flipper”. However, I did write, produce and perform in a pilot called “Luci Lips” because I realized in Queensland, opportunities are sparse, and sometimes, the best opportunities are the ones you create for yourself. The marketing for this project led to radio appearances with David Dutton, a fellow TAW student and now a producer for Channel 7, and traveling to Cannes (Mipcom) and New Orleans (NATPE) to seek funding.

Although in the end this project did not come to fruition due to a shift in my focus for personal reasons, I have been successful in life. How? My definition of success is the amount of happiness I feel, and the amount of happiness anyone feels is based on how often one practices what you learn at The Actors Workshop as the basic premise of acting: BE IN THE MOMENT.

SARAH McKINLAY Writer/NZ Business Development and Marketing Manager
I was part of the first class to graduate with an Advanced Diploma of Film, TV & Theatre Acting from The Actors Workshop (TAW) in 2003. I have always been involved in dancing and theatre, then in high school I turned to speech & drama and debating – so it was logical I’d follow a tertiary education in the arts.
However, it wasn’t until I relinquished pursuing acting as a career that I understood my desire to outlay a fortune in tuition fees for very little financial return wasn’t wasted or ‘stupid’. I never went to acting school to be ‘famous’, I wanted the ability to explore and extend my personal abilities … and IF I could make a living wage from acting – I’d be happy and in hindsight it turns out I have.

The lessons I learned studying at TAW are valuable and I’ve continuously used teachings from Lyn Kidd and my other coaches in my career in the business world outside acting.

After The Actors Workshop I went to university to study a bachelor of business in marketing and communication. One of my most influential lecturers at university had also gained her foundation in Theatre acting from a university in the USA . We had a wonderful discussion about how our acting background enabled us to do well in our careers – not because we are “smart” but because we know how to communicate – relate and connect with people.  Even when they’re outside our “normal social group” we have learnt how to analyse a situation, person and adjust our communication delivery to adapt to the situation/circumstance. This has enabled me to be ‘very lucky’ in my career – “In my choices lies my talent”.

Technology and globalisation mean the world in which we live is shrinking, geographic and cultural boundaries are blurring and marketing is saturated in our daily lives – people are brands – we are brands and it’s important to understand that our choices of how we conduct ourselves, i.e manners, behavior, to our choice of clothing ,says volumes about who we are as people. It’s an exciting time for people studying in the arts sector. While we keep hearing about ongoing arts funding cuts for those purist actors – businesses are awakening to the importance of effective communication in the workplace and are throwing dollars to develop communication strategies to foster better internal culture and the company’s brand through marketing and PR.

If I could turn the clock back ten years would I have done anything differently? Not a chance – the people I met, relationships I’ve formed and opportunities I’ve taken have come from a solid foundation at TAW.
To read Sarah’s article for the “New Zealand Horse and Pony” October 2012 contact her at skmckinlay@gmail.com





Passing On

I guess this is the best way to describe a death: this time it is for two people who had an incredible influence in my life and career – DAVID CUMMINGS and DIANE CILENTO.

DAVID was brought over from England by Reg Grundy to set up a Comedy Department for the Grundy Organization in Sydney in the early 1980’s.  David was a caring Director to the many comedy actors whom  we were auditioning for a pilot series for Channel Ten for “Pretty Petrol” which did get to pilot stage.  However, Debbie Newsome, our “discovery” was to find her niche and fame and fortune on “Perfect Match” so the pilot did not go ahead.

David’s style of comedy has always been  ” British”. He also  wanted to continue his stand -up comedy routines and did so for many years  His insight might have been too revealing for a lot of us!   I have been using David’s comedy scripts for over twenty years – and just recently with my Workshops with the Graduates from QUT  and The Actors Workshop in Brisbane.

DIANE  – who taught me so much. I first met her when I was seconded to Windsor Repertory Theatre by the Wardrobe Mistress from the Royal Court Theatre…I was in need of work…I was Diane’s dresser.  Diane had three weeks’  previously given birth to  Jason Connery. I eventually worked for Sean Connery and Diane over a period of five years as Sean’s secretary.

Some years later, for a brief time, myself and Brad Keeling represented, as Agents,  Diane in Australia.. we also asssited her to screen her documentaries to help set up Karnak in FNQ.

I last saw Diane give an impressive insight into her incredible acting ability at QUT Brisbane only just a year ago when she presented  her work- in -progress version of  the  “Peggy Guggenheim” one woman show.

One always remembers one’s teachers…