Lusi Austin (nee Vuki) is one busy woman. She’s a musician, a scriptwriter, magazine article writer, vintage and retro shop owner, all whilst homeschooling her five children for the past 15 years and sharing about the journey on her website That Homeschool Life. Before all these pursuits, Lusi studied a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Drama at Excelsia College from 1999 to 2001. She was valedictorian and graduated in April 2002. Lusi remembers having a very real faith journey whilst at Excelsia College as she explains, ‘I had met Jesus in a real way only a year or two before I heard about Wesley Institute (now Excelsia College). At that time, I felt that studying in my chosen field whilst still learning about my new faith would be a great thing to combine.’
Amongst Lusi’s highlights during her time studying were the moments spent at the weekly Gathering service. ‘It was an amazing time for collective worship and encouragement. There were so many people in the one room from different faith backgrounds and faith expressions. There was something very sacred about that,’ says Lusi. She also relished her Old Testament and New Testament classes which she says have been formative as she’s continued on with her life and faith post College. ‘We were also blessed to have incredibly gifted lecturers who had lived experiences in our industry. They shared their knowledge with us and I am incredibly grateful to them for the instruction they gave me in the dramatic arts,’ says Lusi.
Lusi also found she developed her holistic wellbeing at the College. ‘Spiritually, I had a solid foundation to stand on. Emotionally, I made some of the most incredible connections with friends, especially in the drama department. At that time, I had also moved out of home for the very first time so it gave me the confidence and opportunity to begin a new chapter of independence for me. I was equipped with knowledge and experiences that were invaluable to me as a young actor.’
College can be a time where students’ eyes are opened to confronting themes and new ideas and this was something Lusi explored in a play performed with her fellow classmates called Back From Nowhere which dealt with teen suicide. This play was toured to schools and the Opera House Studio. She also forged significant friendships with her drama peers, students in other subjects and her lecturers. She also met both her best friend and future husband Brett during those days of College nearly 23 years ago! Lusi was also living in Sydney whilst studying in 2000 at the time of the Sydney Olympics which she says was pretty special.
Fast forward 21 years since graduating and Lusi has written and published a children’s picture book called Jack’s Visit to Cowra, a story designed to inform children about the Cowra prisoner of war (POW) breakout in an accessible and easy to understand way. She is currently working on a novella. Lusi has also released a solo studio-recorded EP called Walking Contradiction. On top of that, she is currently producing a play called Intertwined which she wrote and will direct.
On reflection of the College’s anniversary celebrations, Lusi says, ‘Happy birthday Excelsia College! You keep a lovely little space in my mind and I am grateful for the chance to have attended. I appreciate learning about performance in a small College-style setting. I will always be grateful for those years.’