Robert Hails has been teaching drama, live production and related skills here for nearly 25 years. He is the Program Co-ordinator for Music Business and Live Production – Theatre and Events.
Robert’s education and early years were all about theatre.
After completing an Arts Degree and a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University and a few drama related subjects at Melbourne University he freelanced in the theatre industry in a variety of areas including performance, design, lighting, production management and stage management. ‘To make ends meet’ he supplemented the meagre existence he made from the exciting performing arts industry by part time teaching.
It wasn’t long before he realised that he actually enjoyed and was possibly quiet good at the ‘teaching game’. Hence in the late 80’s Robert began a career with Melbourne Polytechnic that was to date, to last on and off for nearly 25 years or more. The majority of this time with Melbourne Polytechnic has been spent co-ordinating and teaching in drama and related programs. Due to his early contact and direct involvement in the Performing Arts Industry Robert was easily able to compliment his teaching with industry and introduce to his students the ‘real world’.
-“It is at this point where we as educators become ‘the managers of learning’ (a very important step!). We actually pass the teaching on to others who probably know best. We are there just to oversee that all is going well for our students and trust that they will eventually make their own mark in the Industry”.
It has only been in recent years that Robert has been co-ordinating Music Business. “It may seem as an odd step sideways to manage the Music Business programs as well and still have a part in the Theatre side of teaching. However, it was pointed out by a very wise now departed Head of Department – you are good at managing groups of students and staff Rob and this will be no different.” And that’s how it’s turned out to be.
Robert Hails is also the Production Manager and Artistic Director of the annual Yarra Edge Music Festival. This event is held in late term three of the VET program calendar. The project entails a massive department effort where all programs unite to produce a series of original music shows across a very busy week in September each year.
Robert also does some lecturing in the Music Degree Program. He has been given the luxury of passing on his skills and knowledge in the ‘Creativity in Performance’ subject to second year music degree students.
Robert still finds time to work in the Industry. “Amongst other roles, I have been stage manager for Impro Melbourne for 30 years. Although I don’t do as many shows as I used to I still keep my hand in by doing a few major events each year – the Melbourne Comedy Festival in particular”.
—- and there is another life! Robert is also a visual artist who shares a unique bluestone studio in St Andrews – about 50 kms from Melbourne. Robert specialises in traditional printmaking and monotype. “My art and teaching visual art is a pleasant relief from the busy life of a co-ordinator at NMIT and I have an abundance of talented and creative people to draw my ideas from and to put them to paper”.
Program Co-ordinator, Music Business and Live Production - Theatre and Events