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Scholarship helping Naarah to master her theatrical arts in London

University of Tasmania Indigenous alumna Naarah Barnes will study her Master of Arts at London’s Royal Academy of Music.


Bachelor of Music graduate Naarah Barnes is heading to London to study her Master of Arts (Musical Theatre), thanks to a scholarship specifically for First Nations scholars.

Gija woman Naarah graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Voice, and has already forged a very successful entertainment career in the few years since then, including a supporting role in the Amazon Prime series Deadloch, shot in Tasmania.

Now, through the Aurora Education Foundation, Naarah has received a Roberta Sykes Chevening Indigenous Education Scholarship to study her Master of Arts at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London, furthering her specialisation in Musical Theatre.

Naarah performing onstage
Naarah Barnes performing onstage in The Sunshine Club (Photo: Brett Boardman)

In 2020, soon after finishing her undergraduate degree, Naarah toured Australia in the award-winning musical The Sapphires, playing Cynthia in the story of four Yorta Yorta women who sing soul music during the Vietnam War.

She also spent time in Brisbane, where she performed a leading role in Queensland Theatre’s production of The Sunshine Club, playing eight shows a week at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

And, most recently, she landed the supporting role of Sharelle Muir in Deadloch, an eight-part feminist noir comedy set and filmed in Tasmania, written by comedy duo Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney, and also starring Kate Box, Kris McQuade, Tom Ballard and Pamela Rabe.

Aurora Education Foundation CEO Leila Smith said scholarships like Naarah’s were affirming achievement, excellence and leadership for First Nations students.

“Twelve years ago, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person had never graduated from Oxford or Cambridge,” she said.

“Today, we’ve seen almost 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars studying and teaching at these and other top universities.”

If music is your passion, our Bachelor of Music course could be your stepping stone to a dream career.