Honours for high-flyers in their fields

Leading Australian football coach and sport scientist Neil Craig and Flinders Drama Centre star alumnus, acclaimed director Benedict Andrews, have received honorary doctorate awards.

The honorary degree from Flinders recognises Neil Craig’s significant contribution to sport science and to coaching athletes at an elite level.

Fellow Flinders graduate, international theatre and film director Benedict Andrews, was presented with a Doctor of Letters citation from Flinders at the University’s 2016 graduation ceremony today (14 December).

During his return visit to SA, Neil Craig also gave a special Flinders SHAPE (Sport, Health and Physical Education) Research Centre lecture to some of Adelaide’s leading sports people at Flinders at Victoria Square, Adelaide .

He received a citation for the award of Degree of Doctor of the University at the Flinders graduation ceremony at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Mr Craig completed high school education degrees at Flinders University in the late 1970s and returned to complete further studies in sport science in the mid-1980s.

“After focusing on exercise physiology, I was fortunate to go straight into a job (from uni) to become a full-time sport scientist with the (then) SA Institute of Sport,” he says. “It led me into a fast-growing field of sport science and coaching where there are now many more employment opportunities, including analytics, physiology, nutrition, biomechanics and psychology.

“It’s very interesting to consider how the best sportspeople think, their habits, disciplines, skills and passion. They know where they’re going and know what winning looks like when you take the scoreboard away.”

Now Director of Coaching, Development and Performance at Carlton, Mr Craig cites his years at the Australian Cycling Academy with Charlie Walsh as a career highlight. In coaching, he singles out his years at the Adelaide Football Club and earlier involvement with Norwood Football Club and the SANFL.

“I would not have been able to do what I’ve done without the education I received at Flinders,” he says, adding he feels privileged to be chosen to receive the honorary degree.

As well as playing 319 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) games,  for Norwood, Sturt and North Adelaide from 1973 to 1990, he became Norwood’s Senior Coachfrom 1991 to 1995 before being named Fitness Adviser of the Adelaide Crows in 1997 and Senior Coach in 2004.

Benedict Andrews, third left, with his former Flinders Drama Centre teachers and mentors Murray Bramwell, Michael Morley and Dr Jules Holledge, who especially encouraged him on his directing journey.

Benedict Andrews has been described as “the most consistently interesting and challenging theatre director in Australia”, and is arguably one of the most sought-after Australian theatre directors of his generation.

The multi award-winning writer, theatre and opera director was born in Adelaide in 1972 and currently resides in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Since graduating from the leading South Australian Drama Centre at Flinders with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in 1995,  he has branched into many artistic endeavours, including poetry and play writing, and now movie-making.

His first feature film Una, based on David Harrower’s play Blackbird and starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn, is due to open in Australia next year. Its world premiere was at the 43rd Telluride Film Festival  and was screened at the Toronto Film Festival , London Film Festival   (Official Competition), Busan Film Festival, the Hampton’s Film Festival, Rome Film Festival.

Benedict’s poetry collection Lens Flare won the 2016 Mary Gilmore Award and a collection of Benedict’s plays — including Like A Sun, Every Breath, The Stars, Geronimo, and Gloria — is now available from Oberon Books.

He cites directing and co-adapting the marathon Shakespeare cycle The War of the Roses for Sydney Theatre Company (starring Cate Blanchett) as a career highlight. The production won six Helpmann Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play, and five Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Direction and Best Mainstage Production.

Find details of other productions on his website here.






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