Andrew Hallsworth chats about Patrick School of the Arts’ Music Theatre Course

Patrick School of the Arts is one of Australia’s premier theatre training institutions.

Providing education from secondary school through to VET-accredited courses, the programs at PSA are sure to appeal to up and coming artists.

Andrew Hallsworth

Directed by Andrew Hallsworth for over 10 years, the musical theatre course sees students mentored and taught by some of Australia’s leading working artists, where they develop not only their performance skills, but all facets of life when working in the industry. The 3-year course combines focused training, up to the minute industry advice, and a large focus on and performance development, allowing guiding students to truly experience a well-rounded taste of what it takes to have a career in the professional Music Theatre industry.

Andrew has worked as a performer, teacher, choreographer and director, has won three Helpmann awards, two Sydney Theatre Critics awards, and two Green Room awards for Best Choreography in Musical. As a performer, Andrew started his career in 1989 cast of the original production of 42nd Street, then touring on many main stage productions before starting his choreographic and teaching careers.

Credits include Fun Home, As You Like It, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Twelfth Night, Rupert, Private Lives, Egg, Hamlet, Next to Normal, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Other musical theatre credits include Merrily We Roll Along, Muriel’s Wedding the Musical, Assassins, Dream Lover, Two Weddings One Bride, and many more. Andrew co-choreographed Priscilla Queen of the Desert for Broadway, its worldwide seasons and the 10th anniversary Australian celebration tour.

You’ve had a really impressive career – how did you first get into the industry?

Andrew: Well, I started performing a long time ago but I did what most people did, I trained in performing arts full time before starting to audition for musicals… I was 17 when I did my first show but I was always interested in the creative side of things. I was learning and developing my skills on the job. After performing in a few shows, I became a dance captain, then resident choreographer, then assistant choreographer, and then I started being a choreographer myself. Now I’ve been choreographing mainstage musicals and plays for the last… 20 years. Also, for the last 10 years or so I’ve been the director of this three year program for musical theatre at patrick school of the arts. I love teaching so running a musical theatre course is such a gift for me. Everything I learn in my musical theatre career is what I hand over to the students that are training at PSA. This offers them an accurate insight into what is needed to be the next generation of professional performers.

What can prospective students expect from the music theatre course at PSA?

Andrew: So it’s a three year program, equally acting, singing and dance, performance, and everything in between that you need to be educated on to have a career in the arts. The first two years focus entirely on skill-based development .That foundation training is implemented in two original showcases each year with the performing arts and dance students. PSA offers performing arts and dance courses as well as musical theatre. In the third year you they do their professional development work which we call ‘performance year’. They work on a new work lab where they assist in the development of a new work. The next part of training is being cast in what we call a ‘black box musical’ working with current directors and choreographers. Then finally, at the end of the year they do their graduation musical, which is what I direct and choreograph.

Andrew with students of PSA

What sets PSA apart from other performing arts institutions?

Andrew: I think what’s unique about this course is that you are learning from teachers who are industry experienced. Our teachers know what it’s like to pursue a career in the arts so we make sure our students know the reality of what they’re training for. It’s not all about talent, students need to understand strong work ethic, respect and trusting their individuality as an asset. We speak to our students with constructive honesty so they become the best version of themselves. We stream most of our dance classes with the performing arts and dance courses so our musical theatre dance training is unmatchable. We guide students through the highs and lows of training and continue to mentor our alumni beyond the years they spent with us at PSA. We care and I think that’s a really powerful thing. Our campus is in Prahran – there’s an arts hub happening on High St and Chapel St, so it’s just great to be in that environment, it’s just a really exciting place to be. Also, I’m heavily involved with the industry, I offer realistic training with up to the minute advice.

Do you have any tips for auditionees hoping to join PSA?

Andrew: Definitely be prepared. I want to see your unique qualities. So come in being your true self, be brave, be bold and show PSA what you have to offer the industry.

Auditions for the 2023 PSA Musical Theatre course are now open.

For details and more information, please visit the Patrick School of the Arts website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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