Carriageworks enters voluntary administration

Performance Space is deeply concerned to learn that Carriageworks has entered
voluntary administration.

Established over 35 years ago, Performance Space is a key resident company at
Carriageworks alongside seven other organisations, collectively representing some
of Sydney’s most exciting contemporary arts producers.

Performance Space Chair Jonathan Casson says, “Our relationship with
Carriageworks has been strong and fruitful over the years. As a board we champion
the need for a vibrant, well-managed and well-resourced arts sector. This step
highlights the fragility of the sector and the need for sustainable funding.”

Performance Space’s Artistic Director & CEO Jeff Khan says, “We are deeply
saddened that Carriageworks has been forced to take this step in the face of an
uncertain financial future.

“Our hearts go out to Blair and the Carriageworks team, who have been working hard
under impossible circumstances to navigate the current crisis. We will work positively
and productively with Carriageworks and the administrators to plan and secure a
sustainable future for this iconic and essential cultural facility.

“Performance Space’s remit is to support independent artists across artforms in the
creation and presentation of captivating new work. Performance Space has been an
anchor tenant at Carriageworks since its opening in 2007. Over this time, we have
presented countless contemporary arts projects there. It is a pleasure and an honour
to make a contribution to the artistic and community life of this vibrant and dynamic
cultural centre. Artists love working in this building—as do we: it’s the newest and
most fit-for-purpose venue for the presentation of cutting-edge work that we have in
Sydney.”

Performance Space is Australia’s home of experimental art. Throughout our history,
Performance Space has championed artists who explore new horizons for
contemporary practice and create transformative experiences for broad and engaged
audiences. Since 2015, our annual Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art—held
across the Carriageworks precinct for two weeks each October—has garnered
national and international acclaim. Last year, over 50,000 patrons attended 60
Liveworks events in Carriageworks’ theatres, studios and public spaces.

Khan notes, “As an independent organisation receiving multi-year funding from the
State and Federal governments and with a strong base of philanthropic supporters
and industry partners, Performance Space will continue to make a critical
contribution to NSW and Australia’s cultural life.”

“I am deeply concerned that the arts in NSW is in a critically vulnerable state, with no
new investment from the state or federal government to support organisations whose
earned income streams have collapsed due to the pandemic. Arts and culture is a
$17bn industry in NSW. And yet the NSW government has thus far contributed only
$2m to COVID-19 response initiatives—and this comes directly from the existing
budget of Create NSW. This means that this $2m is granted at the expense of
existing Create NSW funding programs that would have been accessed by independent artists and small-to-medium organisations. By contrast, the Victorian,
Queensland and South Australian State Governments have all announced
substantial support packages for the sector, in addition to current levels of arts
funding. The Victorian Government, for example, has contributed $16.8m in new
money directly from government to support Victorian arts sector to weather the
impact of the pandemic – that’s in addition to Creative Victoria’s ongoing annual
budget. That’s the leadership we need to see here.

“If NSW’s independent arts sector is to survive, urgent state and federal government
investment is needed. There’s no time to lose when there’s this much at stake.”

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies, and is currently completing her Masters of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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