Callan Colley’s not letting a baked beans diet stop him from achieving his acting dream.
The former Carey Baptist College student is in his first year of a whirlwind three-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (majoring in Acting) at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), after beating more than 2000 people who auditioned for the world-class acting and musical theatre school.
Callan is one of 24 students who was accepted into the course, a commendable accomplishment for the West Australian born and raised performer, who has since featured in a film funded by Tourism WA, as well as an advertisement for the West Australian newspaper.
He first became involved with acting when his mother enrolled him in a Drama elective at Carey; that was when his love for acting was ignited. However, it wasn’t until a failed WAAPA audition and a year of studying an unfulfilling Finance and Geology university degree that his passion for drama was revived.
It was over a dish of cinnamon pineapples at a local Brazilian restaurant with friend and fellow musician Jordan Azor, when Callan decided to audition for NIDA. “I decided to go for it, both feet in and fully committed,” Callan said. He said that Jordan was an inspiration because he saw the commitment, the passion and the joy in doing something that he loved.
Callan immediately left university, began acting in as many plays as he could handle, found an agent, and enrolled in workshops and received private tuition. He said that he would audition and perform in front of anyone who would listen to him – including family friends and his friends’ parents.
Callan’s hard work paid rich dividends finally, when he became one of four West Australians to secure a position with NIDA. It’s “one massive family” according to the actor, who said “you don’t see anyone else outside NIDA.”
The schedule is strict, with the students starting at 8:30a.m. through to 6:30p.m. everyday, and that’s when they aren’t preparing for a production or theatre show! Despite Callan’s hectic schedule, he’s taking it all in his stride. “Every day I wake up and I never know what’s going to happen next, so I’m always ready for what the day has in store for me”, he said.
“In our second week, Cate Blanchett came to watch us in our acting class before she went off to the Oscars and she just casually strolled through and sat in on one of the classes”. That night, Blanchett went on to win an Academy Award.
Being able to rub shoulders with Hollywood’s best actors is one consolation prize for endless meals out of tin cans – a prize that Callan wouldn’t trade for the world.