The Australia Council’s announcement of four-year funding for the performing arts sector is welcome but won’t be enough to prevent the decimation of our live performance companies and industry.
Live Performance Australia (LPA) has stepped up calls for urgent Federal Government intervention as more performing arts companies are closed, probably forever.
Live Performance Australia’s Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson, said:
The Australia Council has done what it can with the funds available to increase the number of companies it can support in the absence of any additional funding from Government.
Live Performance Australia congratulates those companies that were successful in their application for four-year funding. More than ever, we need them now and into the future.
However, we are deeply concerned that so many companies have been negatively impacted by the announcement, particularly those who have only been offered a 12 month reprieve as well as those that have not been successful in securing any funding at all.
The casualties are numerous. We are losing longstanding industry and community icons such as: La Mama in Victoria, Australian Theatre for Young People in Sydney, Australasian Dance Collective (formerly Expressions Dance Company) in Qld, Barking Gecko in WA, Country Arts SA and Tasdance.
Unless the Federal Government provides targeted support now and during the recovery phase, most of our companies won’t survive. The repurposing of existing grants programs can only do so much, and is nowhere near enough in the current crisis.
The impact of COVID-19 on our industry is massive. The Australia Council needs urgent additional support. Our venues and companies need urgent support. Without it, our venues won’t open, our companies won’t be here in six months’ time.
After the crisis has passed, the wipe-out of our arts and entertainment sector will reverberate through other parts of the economy, such as the hospitality, tourism and transport sectors.
Without a targeted, immediate and substantial support package, there will be no hibernation for our performing arts and entertainment companies. Rather, they are looking at termination.
These significant employers and providers of cultural and community entertainment will be long gone before they are called upon to support the important rebuilding phase for our economy, our regional and metropolitan communities, and our nation.