Our History

In 1987, Dean Carey’s belief in establishing a fully functioning arts community and education facility was realised.

The Beginning

After returning from teaching across America Dean saw a gap in Australia in supporting artists, established and emerging. He gathered a team of Australia’s finest artists, teachers and directors, and ACA was born.

In an 1880 abandoned church in Surry Hills and for the next twenty eight years, extraordinary things evolved in that beloved facility. The passion, commitment and craft of all of those teaching and also those administrating ACA was exemplary and inspirational.

Across that time, the one year course known as, The Journey, was born, and in 2000, the course was developed into a 2.5 year Accredited Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts and ACA became a Registered Training Organisation.

Thousands of people can look back over those near three decades of sustained creative drive and achievement with pride and with gratitude. Stand-out shows and events lit up the venue month after month, year after year, establishing the venue and company as an icon in the Sydney theatrical landscape.

In 2015, ACA in partnership with MindChamps moved the organisation into a 12 million dollar performing arts facility in Leichhardt, and shortly after, the team evolved the Diploma and established a Degree Program, in partnership with Torrens University Australia.

ACA was established to fill the gap in Australia in supporting artists established and emerging. A team of Australia’s finest artists, teachers and directors were brought together and ACA was born.

ACA has a proud and long history in supporting and developing
unique voices and artists finding their creative paths in all areas on the business. ACA in its beating heart and foundation has a commitment to community, culture, contribution and to service.

ACA is driven by a belief in the power of the arts, diversity, inclusivity a commitment to honour and serve every individuals artistic journey, with a view of helping to create a powerful, strong and sustainable industry.

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ACA Patron

Hugh Jackman

“In 2024, ACA proudly celebrates its 37th anniversary! The outstanding achievements of our graduates have made significant contributions in all areas of entertainment.

The strength of ACA’s reputation within the Australian industry has never been more evident, affirming its unwavering commitment to nurturing talent.”