The Arts Organisations division of the Australia Council encompasses nearly 170 organisations.
28 companies comprise the Major Performing Arts Board, while the Key Organisations unit encompasses a further 140 or more small to medium organisations.
Please read the information about both entities below.
Major Performing Arts Board
The Major Performing Arts Board aims to ensure that Australia has an artistically vibrant, financially viable and broadly accessible major performing arts sector.
The MPAB has responsibility for oversight of the operations of 28 performing arts companies throughout Australia, as joint and equal partners with state government funding agencies, as agreed by the Cultural Ministers Council (CMC).
To be included in the board, a company must meet all of the following criteria:
- be a dance, music, opera or theatre company or a hybrid thereof
- demonstrate the highest artistic standards in performances
- show an ongoing commitment to the development of the artform
- demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the development of artists within the artform
- show evidence of a sizeable and increasing audience base
- have a minimum average annual total income of $1.54 million over the previous three-year period
- demonstrate an ongoing ability to be financially viable, including increasing levels of financial support from the broader community.
To be included in the board, a company must also be categorised according to the role it is expected to play in its core activities. The categories are:
- international company
- Australian flagship company--resident or touring
- specialist company
- state flagship company.
To be designated to one of these four categories, a company must meet the criteria for that category as agreed by the CMC. The category criteria are available from the board's executive director. Inclusion in the major performing arts board is by invitation. Companies wishing to be considered for inclusion should submit an expression of interest to the executive director of the board.
The board recognises the complex challenges facing identified major performing arts companies and aims to work in partnership with them to address these challenges. It supports a culture of artistic innovation in the companies and a commitment to performance excellence. It encourages and assists the companies to deliver broad artform, geographic and demographic access. The board also works with the companies to help them improve their costrevenue dynamics through increasing earned income, building reserves and strengthening management skills and governance processes.
The board, with the relevant state funding agency, negotiates tripartite performance agreements with identified major performing arts companies to assist in achieving mutually agreed operational and artistic objectives.
Key Organisations encompasses 140 plus small to medium sized arts organisations across Australia, funded on a multi-year basis by the various art form boards and committees of the Council.
The Council’s funding relationships with these organizations are managed by the Key Organisations unit of the Arts Organisations Division, a team of five staff comprising four Client Managers supervised by a Director.
The unit works with all of the artform boards and committees to assess applications and reports and manage the funding contracts we have with these organizations. While the criteria to be a Key Organisation differs for each art form, a Key Organisation is usually a significant part of that artform’s infrastructure in providing services or developing, producing, presenting or touring artistic work.
The unit’s Client Managers assist applicants for this category once they can demonstrate they meet, or can meet, the eligibility criteria, and support them through the application process. They then present the applications to the relevant Board or Committee and any associated operational and financial analysis. The Board or Committee makes the final decision on each application based on this advice as well as their assessment of the artistic outcomes and plans of the applicant.
Once an organization is offered Key Organisations funding, the Client Manager issues and manages the funding contract, receives and presents all reporting and brings any achievements, issues or variances to the attention of the Board or committee.
The unit also collates statistical and financial data to develop an ongoing picture of the health, achievements and challenges of the sector. It also works closely works with the Major Performing Arts Board and other areas of Council to develop initiatives as well as business capacity building programs that benefit the sector.
Examples of these include regular Business Planning workshops and the Philanthropy Mentorship program delivered in association with Artsupport Australia.
- MAJOR PERFORMING ARTS BOARD MEMBERS
- Major performing arts companies
- Snapshot of MPA eleven year trends September 2012 (PDF file - 482.4 KB)
- It's a given: 2011 private giving and sponsorship (PDF file - 623.2 KB)
- Arts Organisations Annual Report 2010 (PDF file - 1.7 MB)
- Appendix 1 Major Performing Arts sector 2010 annual report (PDF file - 1.3 MB)
- Appendix 2 Key Organisations (PDF file - 713.7 KB)
- A National Framework for Governments Support of the Major Performing Arts (PDF file - 249.4 KB)
- Arts Orgs Annual Report 2009 (PDF file - 3.8 MB)