Aspring Drama Teacher becomes award-winning Playwright.

David Burton entered the University of Southern Queensland Creative Arts Degree in Toowoomba with an eye to becoming a Drama Teacher.  

While undertaking the course he discovered he had a flare for writing.

“I have been in the industry for three years now and I have had ten plays produced and won two state and two national awards,” Mr Burton said.

“I have worked as a playwright and in youth theatre, and USQ really prepared me for that.”

His most recent play, April’s Fool, toured regional Queensland in August.

It’s based on the tragic death last year of Toowoomba teenager Kristjan Terauds. The 18 year old had spent a weekend at a Gold Coast music festival, where he’d indulged in large amounts of alcohol and several tabs of ecstasy.
On the morning of Monday, April 6, 2009, he breathed his last breath.

The play is based on a journal written by Kristjan’s father during his son’s dying days in hospital.

David Burton has become the poster boy for USQ’s Creative Arts Degree, that links creative media, music, theatre and visual arts into one degree.

Dr Janet McDonald, Head of School of Creative Arts, said that USQ can offer a unique experience for emerging artists.

“Our creative arts degrees have limited enrolments so we can offer support that others cannot,” Dr McDonald said.

“We really support our students, both while they are at university and after they have graduated.”

David Burton graduated from USQ in 2008 and has since become a national award-winning playwright.

“It gave me practical hands on experience in every imaginable area and prepared me for the industry in a way that you don’t see from grads from other universities.”

David Burton is a good example of what a USQ graduate can achieve. He arrived at USQ aiming to be a drama teacher and discovered a talent for playwriting.

“We have stayed in touch and work together to help him in the industry and he helps some of our current students – we look after each other,” Dr McDonald said.

Students can enrol in a cross-disciplinary combination such as Theatre and Music or Creative Media and Visual Arts or combine any of the four disciplines. Majors such as Acting and Stage Management can still be completed.

Prospective students should also embrace what they want to do if it involves creative arts.

“If you want to study and work in creative arts – do it,” Mr Burton said.

“It can lead to a great career, and, like any degree, you will get out of it what you put in.”