We believe everyone has vast natural talents and untapped potential. To us, inspiration is the key to transformation, and we encourage everyone to go beyond their expectations and excel. 



  • We deliberately limit our class sizes to create a personalised, dynamic and productive environment.
  • Our world-class tutors are as passionate about the art of teaching as they are about the art of acting. Students are encouraged, supported and challenged to move beyond their perceived limits.
  • We aim to inspire a continual sense of wonder about the power of the performing arts. Anyone looking to develop their acting, self-expression or performance skills will find ACA's vibrate environment exciting and stimulating.


On June 27, 1987, the doors opened at our original Surry Hills facility. Without any government or private sponsorship, ACA remains to this day completely self-sustaining and self-supporting. The orginisation is a hub of connection, a generator of ideas and initiatives, a place to come to study, to grow, to learn and to extend oneself in every way possible. Artistic education and development requires a highly specialised and specific environment in which to flourish. Our commitment to this has never faltered.



founding director

From the first day Dean Carey opened the doors, he was teaching, running workshops and scheduling classes and tutors whilst also being a permanent/part-time staff member at NIDA. Ross McGregor and Aarne Neeme ran ACA whilst Dean moved from the position of Head of Acting at NIDA to the same position at WAAPA from 1989 - 1994. Dean then returned to take up the role of Creative Director of ACA and has remained in that position since that time. His commitment and passion to education never waivers, nor does his belief in the power and magic of the performing arts.




A number of deeply passionate and committed industry members contributed enormously to the development and evolution of ACA. These people include: Paul Weingott, Ross McGregor, Richard Hayes-Marshall, Ira Seidenstein, Liz Burton, Aarne Neeme, Tanya Gerstle, Chrissie Koltai and Deborah Paul. We wish to express our deep and sincere thanks to them all. For some, their careers led them in new directions. For others, they stayed on the teaching staff, some more than 20 years, helping to influence and steer ACA into the Company it is today. We are grateful to have attracted and continue to attract genuine, caring and nurturing artists to maintain the creative culture that is ACA.


In January 2014, ACA took up residency in a purpose-built, state of the art performance facility in Leichhardt. All the spirit and magic of ACA moved to an entirely new level at this exceptional performance precinct. ACA’s new home comprises a 323 seat versatile theatre/auditorium with cinema capability and surround sound, a fully equipped TV studio/voice room, 3 large rehearsal rooms, gallery space, bar, staff room, commercial kitchen, dressing rooms and greenroom plus an outdoor amphitheatre in The Forum piazza - all of this right in the heart of Leichhardt and amongst Norton Street’s bustling café and restaurant strip 10 min from Sydney’s CBD.

Since 1987, ACA has pursued its vision and continues to expand and integrate all that’s necessary to maintain a performing arts centre offering excellence in creative education.