Donor generosity supports Tyallah to blaze a trail

Receiving the Paul and Donna Dainty VCA Award has supported Tyallah Bullock in making the leap from third-year student in the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) to professional actor, enabling her to sign with one of Australia’s top talent agencies after navigating the uncertainty of the past few years.

“Receiving this award gave me joy and comfort in a time when I felt quite lost and anxious,” said Tyallah, a proud Yorta Yorta and Chinese woman.

It’s incredibly motivating and encouraging to receive recognition such as this, and it makes the effort even more worthwhile.Tyallah Bullock

A showbusiness stalwart gives back

The Paul and Donna Dainty VCA Awards are made possible by the generosity of entertainment veteran Paul Dainty AO and his wife Donna. Paul's first job out of school was as a runner at Shepperton Studios in the UK, where he worked for directors including Stanley Kubrick.

Tyallah on stage
Tyallah Bullock performing the lead role in Tales from the Vienna Woods in June 2022 as part of her Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Over 40 years later, Paul is now the President and CEO of TEG Dainty, one of the world’s largest live entertainment companies.

The Dainty Awards provide support for high-achieving students completing their third year of study. One award is given to a member of each cohort in the Bachelor of Fine Arts specialising in Theatre, Music Theatre, Dance, and Film and Television. The four recipients each receive a single payment of up to $2500.

Paul and Donna also generously give back to the University’s creative community through support for the First Step Theatre Grant, a creative development grant for recent Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) alumni.

Growing up with severe anxiety, Tyallah found comfort in drama class. After donning a wig and making her peers laugh in an improvisation class in grade six, she fell in love with acting.

“Everyone’s love and support and unity for me to just keep making them laugh really comforted me,” she said. “As I went to leave, the teacher, Miss Daisy, came up to me and said, ‘you should do this as a career’. And that’s where it sparked.”

A passion for the power of storytelling

Tyallah’s experiences acting in musicals and film inspired her to apply to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting). After two years disrupted by COVID-19, she has been thankful to be able to embrace all that the course offers in her third year.

“The third year was incredible. A highlight has been my company, which is full of people of grit and grace. They’re just strong performers dedicated to their craft.”

Tyallah is passionate about the role storytelling plays in the lives of Indigenous people. “It’s important to keep remembering that this is their land, and they must fight to even participate in things such as acting and the arts. Many aren’t even aware they can make a career out of it.

“Acting and telling stories – it’s literally in our blood. That’s why it’s so important to support Indigenous students.”

The award has supported her as she transitions from student to professional actor. She has been able to purchase vital recording equipment to film auditions, and travel to Sydney to meet with industry insiders. By the end of last year, she had signed with Shanahan Management, one of Australia’s top talent agencies.

I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity and blessing. It feels so special, especially after all that we’ve worked and fought for, and why we tell stories. Tyallah Bullock