WAAPA: 40 Years of Performing Arts Excellence

The WA Governor Kim Beazley attended the launch of the WAAPA 2020 program

The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts celebrates its 40th year with a fabulous selection of live theatre, musicals, dance, opera and concerts for everyone!

In early December in the Richard Gill Auditorium at Edith Cowan University’s Mount Lawley campus WAAPA’s new Executive Dean, David Shirley, unveiled the beloved institution’s 2020 performance program as well as setting out his vision for the future of the Academy alongside some inspiring performances from WAAPA’s staff and students.

Surrounded by guests including The Honourable Kim Beazley AC Governor of Western Australia and encompassing representatives from the West Australian arts, entertainment and cultural sector, Professor Shirley outlined his vision for WAAPA and selected some highlights from next year’s program.

The hugely popular mid-year musical will move to His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth, marking the beginning of a three-year partnership between WAAPA and The Perth Theatre Trust. The partnership will ensure WAAPA students have the ability to train and perform in WA’s premier arts venues including the Albany Entertainment Centre which will host students from the Contemporary Music program and high school musicians from Albany SHS and Great Southern Grammar in Radio Active (21 August)Meanwhile WAAPA’s pre-professional dance company, LINK, will get to utilise the Studio Underground at The State Theatre Centre for their season, Well (1-3 April).

In an international first, the Minderoo Foundation continues its support of WAAPA through the facilitation of Pina Bausch’s Tannhäuser Bacchanal. This is the first time Tannhäuser Bacchanalhas been performed outside of Germany and the first time ever WA audiences will have an opportunity to experience Pina Bausch’s work.This performance is global recognition of the calibre of dance training offered here in WA by the amazing dance faculty at WAAPA. The season this work will appear in is called Icon: An Extraordinary Event and will run from 13-19 November. As well as the Bausch piece, former company members of Tanztheatre Wuppertal, Meryl Tankard and Michael Whaites, will remount works inspired by Pina Bausch with the dance students.

From 12-18 June WAAPA will – for the first time – take its annual musical extravaganza to the Perth Theatre Trust’s His Majesty’s Theatre for a limited run. The crowd pleasing, feel-good Broadway and West End smash, Mamma Mia! will no doubt provide audiences with a family-friendly evening of unforgettable ABBA songs and pure showbiz spectacle. Other musicals for 2020 include A Chorus Line, Parade and the rock-musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’sSpring Awakening.

Theatre highlights include Brendan Pomerance’s multi-award-winning play, The Elephant Man, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet andThe Comedy of Errorsand Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind.

Concert highlights include one of America’s most celebrated jazz pianists, Benny Green in collaboration with the Jazz students (7-9 May), Jacques Offenbach’s irreverent and parodic opera, Orpheus In The Underworld (11-17 September) and a celebration of the life and works of Ludwig van Beethoven in his 250th anniversary year with concerts performed by various Classical Music ensembles between 16-22 October.


You can get your hands on the WAAPA 2020 Performance Program in-person from the WAAPA Foyer, Building 1, ECU, 2 Bradford St, Mount Lawley, from various Fringe World, Perth Festival venues, metro libraries and the Cultural Centre.

Download a copy here.

Bookings and ticketing.