Director of ASTA

I am so incredibly proud to have initiated and led the development of the Australian School of the Arts (ASTA) since 2006. This program supports a thriving curriculum by value-adding to the students’ artistic opportunities and experiences at Sheldon College. My days are filled with working with the most amazing group of industry professionals and educators I could find and a calibre of student that I am yet to come across anywhere else in the world.

In my early days in Education, I was fortunate enough to travel to the United States on a sabbatical and see some of the most incredible Arts schools in the world in action. Whilst I had always been incredibly passionate about Arts Education I had always had an uneasy feeling that schools were failing to adequately prepare the Arts children who wanted to grow into the next generation of the Arts industry experts.

During this sabbatical, my eyes were opened to what is possible with high school age children and how important a solid foundation is for establishing a career in the Arts. The Arts industry is such a broad and eclectic industry which covers a gamut of different job descriptions. In developing ASTA I was passionate that what needed to lie at the heart of the program was an understanding that it was not only our responsibility to produce graduates with outstanding training in their chosen Art field but most importantly students with the ability to turn that training into a contribution back to the Arts. Consequently, we are very proud to see that year after year we help develop the next generation of Arts Lawyers, Arts Journalists, Producers, Artistic Directors, Filmmakers, Singers etc. Beyond this, we are incredibly passionate to see the emotional and social well-being of each child has culminated in producing the next generation of society’s Creative Thinkers, Artists and Leaders.

As you discover more about ASTA we hope you too, begin to appreciate the importance of Arts in an ever changing society. I am sure as you learn more about us what will become obvious is that ASTA continues to grow and develop into the best school-based Arts program in Australia.

Mr Darren Harvey
Director – Australian School of the Arts
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(07) 3206 5594


Film and Television (FTV)

Since the first time Murray saw Star Wars, he has always had a very keen interest in how movies are made, especially the application of technology and the construction of special effects and digital film making technologies.

Murray graduated from Queensland University of Technology in 1998 with a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Communications, specialising in Film and Television and Information Technology. Murray assisted the Queensland Curriculum Council with the writing and testing of the Media Strand of P-10 Arts Syllabus and also the Film, Television and New Media Syllabus.

Murray has extensive experience in video production & event broadcast technologies having worked on television productions, tvcs, corporate videos, live events and corporate awards events for the past 8 years. Working as an Audio Visual TD at Brisbane Convention & Entertainment Centre for the past 2 years, Murray has been able to bring these event production skills back to the SCTV Students at Sheldon College.

Murray James
B.Ed.(Secondary) Communications
Senior College Film, TV & New Media / ASTA SCTV
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Visual Art

Mr Graham Nash retired from teaching at the end of 2010 after seventeen years as Head of Faculty, Visual and Performing Arts at the Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) in Brisbane. This followed eight years as Head of Faculty; Visual Arts at Wesley College in Melbourne. Graham also had fifteen years with Education Queensland. This year he has taught three classes at Griffith University, Mt Gravatt in pre service and post graduate Visual Art Education programs. After initial training in architecture for four years, Graham studied under William Robinson and Betty Churcher and as a result is passionate about painting and art history. He is currently the Treasurer of the Qld Art Teachers Association; Vice President of Art Education Australia; Secretary to the World Council of the International Society for Education through Art; Life Member and a former President of Flying Art Inc.

Graham Nash
Visual Art Teacher
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Katie knew what her dream job was going to be at the age of 5 after attending her first ballet class at her local dance school in Hervey Bay. At the age of 9 her family relocated to Brisbane where she began to further her dance training with Ashfield Ballet School.

In 1998, Katie’s well-trained and passionate dance styles caught the eyes of Artistic Director for the Queensland Ballet Company, Francois Klaus, and the head of student training for the Australian Ballet School, Leigh Rowles. After accepting both invitations she went on to train in Queensland and interstate with both schools until 2003.

In 2005, she was recommended to start her full time training with Ransley Ballet and Dance Centre on the Gold Coast. There she trained under strict disciplines with Royal Ballet starts and received exceptional ballet training. Katie was always searching for new skills and was always eager to learn from the best industry professionals. In 2006 she decided to pursue her training even further with highly renowned teachers Barbara Eversen and Sir Harold Collins at the ‘Australian Dance Performance Institute’ in Brisbane. There she broadened her range of dance skills, which she now uses extensively in most of her current work.

In 2007, she attended her first professional audition and was offered a contract with Tokyo Disney Sea as an aerialist/dancer/diver. She performed breathtaking roles in which she learned special skills in stunt work including underwater and high level flying acts. She has since completed 4 contracts with the company and held the acrobat/dancer captain role in her last 3. Between her contracts in Japan she also worked in Hong Kong and Macau as a Lady Gaga impersonator and a casino dancer, as well as working professionally in many clubs, corporate and fashion events around Australia. She now works as a special events performer at Warner Bros Movie World on the Gold Coast.

During her time in Japan, Katie trained in harness work with leading stunt trainers of Japan’s ‘Karata Company’. It was through her training for the Disney show that she found her passion for aerial arts. During one of Katie’s returns to Australia she started training with Trix Circus. She has since been gaining high skills in acts such as silks, lira, static and flying trapeze, bungee, straps and many other circus disciplines. Her strong ballet and performance background has given her acts a more artistic and vibrant side that your average circus performer, giving her audiences a taste of both worlds in one with her dazzling stage presence.

Katie Whitchurch
Dance Teacher
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