Robert Hails is the Program Leader for Theatre at Melbourne Polytechnic. Robert freelanced in the theatre industry in a variety of areas including performance, set design and construction, lighting, production management and stage management. Over many years at Melbourne Polytechnic, Robert has directed annual student productions at Preston, Collingwood, Fairfield and Prahran campuses. He was also artistic director and production manager for the Yarra Edge Music Festival at the Fairfield campus for nearly ten years, which highlighted an annual student songwriting competition. He has taught a variety of theatre-related subjects for over 30 years.
Robert first joined Melbourne Polytechnic in 1986, as a drama teacher at the Preston campus. Although currently in a non-teaching role as Program Leader, Robert encourages his staff and students to produce a body of theatrical work throughout the year that represents a broad cross-section of the theatre industry. Theoretically, Melbourne Polytechnic’s four Theatre diplomas form a large theatre company twice a year to produce high quality theatre productions to share with family and friends, the general public and the related creative industry. Depending on which course the student chooses to study, they will gain extensive skills in such disciplines such as costume for performance, specialist make-up services, theatre lighting, theatre sound, audio visual, props and sets, stage management and production management.
After completing an Arts Degree and Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University and further study at Melbourne University, Robert moved into the theatre industry for many years. He is also a visual artist and shares a bluestone studio in St Andrews - about 50 kms northeast of Melbourne. Robert specialises in traditional printmaking and monotype. His artistic works on paper mostly respond to the characters, design, text and mystery of the theatre stage.