Questions are being asked about the future of original Australian work after it was revealed the play Codgersnearly had to cancel its Australian tour because of funding issues.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Federal Government body that funds national touring programs – Playing Australia – knocked funding for Codgers back three times.
The comedy by Don Reid, about six elderly men who meet weekly at a gym, won the Rodney Seaborn Playwright’s Award in 2006.
The play opens in Penrith today, part of a national tour covering several states.
Director Wayne Harrison has been left wondering why an original Australian work hasn’t received more support.
“This business is based on 90 per cent rejections so that doesn’t worry us, we get over that really quickly. But by the time you get to the third rejection, you think, ‘What is it we’re doing wrong?’” Harrison told theHerald.
Harrison has also brought into question why Steel Magnolias received funding over Codgers, despite the former not being an Australian work.
“‘I’m sure the production was very enjoyable but I always say that if it is the ‘Sophie’s choice’, as Playing Australia say to us, and you have to choose one over the other, then why wouldn’t you choose the Australian work?’” Harrison said.
The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, which oversees the program, said that with a high number of high-quality applications, and a limited amount of funds, it was inevitable that ”not all good applications could be funded”.
Codgers only went ahead because venues involved chipped in to ensure it could be staged.