Theatre- June 2009 closing date

This report provides context for the assessment of applications submitted to the Theatre Board on 3 June 2009.  It gives some statistical analysis of grant round results, and general comments made by the Board during assessment.

The assessment meeting was held on 25-28 August 2009, and applications were assessed in the emerging key organisations, new work, skills and arts development, and presenter program categories.


The Theatre Board membership at the time of the meeting was as follows:
  • Rosalba Clemente Chair (SA), freelance theatre director, writer and performer, and lecturer at Flinders University Drama Centre and at the Adelaide Institute of TAFE Arts
  • Sue Broadway (Vic), artistic director of Strange Fruit
  • Matt Lutton (WA) freelance theatre director and artistic director of Thin Ice
  • Chris Puplick AM (NSW), professor, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Science, University of Wollongong
  • Fraser Corfield (Qld, and from Feb09 NSW) former artistic director of Backbone Youth Theatre, recently appointed artistic director of ATYP.
  • Fiona Winning (NSW) Independent producer/ facilitator.

Theatre staff attending the assessment meeting were:
  • Lyn Wallis, director theatre
  • Atul Joshi, director arts organisations
  • Antonietta Morgillo, program manager theatre
  • Michelle Hall, client manager key organisations
  • Andy Rantzen, program officer music
  • Hannah Durack, program officer theatre
  • Ann Petrou, section coordinator theatre
  • Tanya Gallagher, administration officer theatre

Participating advisors were Rose Myers, artistic director Windmill Performing Arts (SA) for the EKO category and Jon Halpin, Associate Director QTC (Qld) for the other categories.

Chair’s comments

This June grant round was particularly competitive, equally defined by an excitement at the calibre of artists and their proposed projects, and the constrained funds to support as many companies and individuals as the Theatre Board would have liked.

I would like to acknowledge the invaluable support given by the state funding bodies, without whom the theatre sector could not survive. Particular note must also be made of the exceptional work being achieved by Council’s Artsupport Australia team.  Headed by Louise Walsh, its manifesto is to secure philanthropic support for the arts sector. Their hard work has seen them facilitate $7.78 million for the entire arts sector in the last financial year. The theatre companies who have been mentored by them in this period have had some excellent results.

Even in these challenging times we can find ways to move ahead, if we remain collectively inspired by what it is possible to achieve. We saw great evidence of this at the 2009 Australian Theatre Forum. Many real outcomes are emerging, driven by the energy of the sector itself. The Theatre Board is embarking on a collaboration with the Major Performing Arts Board that will recognise and research opportunities for the enrichment of our artform through culturally diverse artists and methods of theatre making. Given the overwhelming support at the Forum for a second event, the Board has also given a kick-start fund to Theatre Network Victoria, to pursue the preliminary planning and scoping for a forum in 2011 and to help maintain the forum website.  

Our Indigenous Theatre initiatives in WA and Qld are gaining traction through strong partnerships with PlayWriting Australia and Arts Queensland. The outcomes of our collaboration with the Music Board to assist in the development of music theatre nationally, implies a strong commitment to not only a diverse range of practices, but to providing Australian audiences with fresh opportunities to experience original, contemporary music theatre. In 2010 we will continue to support the Music Board in developing strategic long term partnerships for this initiative. In 2010 our new Director of Theatre Lyn Wallis, will drive a critical initiative to leverage more opportunities for artists to make and present innovative work through the vast Australian Performing Arts Centre network. Over the next three years we will continue to fund the touring of Australia’s best contemporary performance work between our major cities through the National Touring Initiative - Mobile States. The Dance and Inter-Arts Boards join us in this collaboration, as we aim to increase presenting opportunities for artists and build a national audience for their work. The Roadwork initiative kicks off in 2010. Its aim is to see more adventurous theatre and dance work tour regionally. It is jointly funded by the Theatre and Dance Boards and is served by a curatorial committee who have selected Force Majeure’s The Age I’m In and Red Stitch’s production of Tom Holloway’s Red Sky Morning to undertake extensive regional touring in 2010.  

We were delighted to welcome Lyn Wallis to her first assessment meeting as Director of Theatre. Lyn comes to us with an extensive background as a creative producer and programmer with broad experience across the sector.  We also welcomed new Board member Fiona Winning, who brings a wealth of contemporary performing arts knowledge to her position. Many of you know of Fiona’s fine work at the Performance Space.  We thank our two peer assessors for their generous participation in the August 2009 rounds - Rose Myers for the category of Emerging Key Organisations and Jon Halpin for all other categories. We also recognise Annette Downs and Elizabeth Butcher for the invaluable work they contributed over their term on the Board.

Our work on behalf of the sector continues unabated, and there are many cross council initiatives that seek to increase employment opportunities for both newly emerging and mid career artists. Above all else, this must always remain our priority.

Rosalba Clemente
Chair- Theatre Board


Grants Program

Applications received

Applications approved




Emerging Key Organisations






$1,800,000 **

National Service Organisation












A full list of approved grants from this meeting and all approved grants since the March 2009 meeting is below.

Grants Program

Applications received

Applications approved




New work - production






New work - creative development






New work - young artists initiative






Skills development






Artform development






Program Presenter





$600,000 **








Theatre Board initiatives

Applications received

Applications approved




Managing and Producing Services (MAPS) NSW*






Theatre Forum  – scoping for  2011






Performing Arts Centres (PACS) initiative






Cultural diversity research






**please note that these are 3 year amounts.
*please note that there are dance board and Arts NSW funds here as well.

Emerging Key Organisations category

Due to the high calibre of the applications, the Board decided to fund more organisations at a lesser amount.  

Six organisations were funded at $100,000 per annum. These organisations are:

  • Deckchair Theatre   (WA)
  • Flying Fruit Fly Foundation (NSW/Vic.)
  • Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-op (Vic.)
  • Legs on the Wall (NSW)
  • Slingsby (SA)
  • The Border Project (SA)

National Service Organisations

The Theatre Board also considered the following two organisations, who re-applied for continuation of their multi-year funding.  The Board noted that the organisations were applying in the Key Organisations – National Service Organisation category for the first time since the Make It New changes of 2008.  The new process included a series of productive discussions between a subcommittee of the Theatre Board with the executive of the organisations, on the service outcomes expected of them for the new funding period.  The Board acknowledged the organisations’ engagement in these discussions, and their significant achievements.  Both Performing Lines and Playwriting Australia were successful in their applications.  Performing Lines was also granted an additional $21,000 for 2010 to trial a new Emerging Producer Mentorship initiative.

Performing Lines – operations (NSW/National)   $352,927
Performing Lines - emerging producer mentorship (NSW/National) $21,000
Playwriting Australia    (NSW/National)    $295,670

New work production

Asphyxia, x (Vic.) $30,000
The Grimstones – Mortimer Revealed is a new work for all ages using marionettes, giant books and sign language.  The Geelong Performing Arts Centre is the project’s presenting partner.

Dislocate (Vic.) $42,498
Unit 4 is a new physical theatre work combining circus feats with dramaturgy and text to explore issues of sadness, loss and death.  Arts House is the presenting partner for this project.

The Hayloft Project Inc. (Vic.) $40,000
BC is a new work by Rita Kalnejais inspired by the story of the Immaculate Conception.  It will be presented by FULL TILT at the Arts Centre, Melbourne.

IRAA Theatre (Vic.) $20,000
Night Vision is a new work exploring notions of estrangement and privacy, domesticity and the unfamiliar.  It will be performed in private homes in Melbourne and Turin, Italy.  The presenting partner for this project is the Festival delle Colline Torinesi Creazione Contemporanea (Turin, Italy).

Sandra Fiona Long (Vic.) $40,000
Duets for Lovers and Dreamers is a cycle of six multi-disciplinary duets by Sandra Fiona Long to be presented by fortyfivedownstairs.

Julian Meyrick (Vic.) $52,663
Do Not Go Gentle… is a new work by Patricia Cornelius about the infamous ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole.  It will be presented by fortyfivedownstairs.

Jessica Olivieri and Hayley Forward with the Parachutes for Ladies (Vic.) $17,000
Kitty Genovese the Musical is an outdoor performance in Melbourne’s CBD including 38 untrained dancers. The Next Wave Festival is the presenting partner for this work.

Real Time Collaborators (SA) $9,367
Saskia Falls, a new work by Emma Beech and the Real Time Collaborators, is an interactive theatre work incorporating mobile phone technology. Vitalstatistix Theatre Company is the presenting partner.

Tamara Whyte (Qld) $7,500
Red Sanctuary is a new work created by Tamara Whyte and Christine Peacock.  Set in Australia and Japan, this interdisciplinary work tells the story of two urban Indigenous women reflecting on Australia while living overseas.  Metro Arts is the presenting partner for this project.

Matthew Wilson (Vic.) $20,000
Human Cannonball, memoirs of the singing stuntman, is a new autobiographical work using circus, music, singing and comedy to explore our relationship with risk.  FULL TILT at the Arts Centre Melbourne is the presenting partner for this project.

New work creative development

Business Unusual (NT) $8,590
The Memory of Water is a new work using masks, puppetry and original music to explore the story of the Northern Territory’s Channel Island leprosarium and the life of one of its nurses, Ruth Heathcock.

Focus Theatre (NSW) $35,528
Passing is a verbatim theatre inspired new work based on stories of queer criminals and gender deception in Sydney from the mid-early twentieth century to the present day.

David Frazer (Vic.) $30,000
This Highway Home is a new work by Geelong artists incorporating three local stories. Set in a regional industrial town the work will investigate notions of home, distance, masculinity and life long connections to place.

Knock-em-Down Theatre (NT/Qld) $13,000
1975 is a new work by playwright Stephen Carleton and dramaturg Peter Matheson which explores Australia’s shifting political relationship with South-East Asia during the 1970s.

Stephen Noonan (SA) $33,500
Three Men in a Tub is a new street theatre work based on the nursery rhyme ‘Rub a Dub Dub – Three Men in a Tub’.  The characters use physical and comedic outdoor theatre to explore individual and global responsibilities for water resources.

Strings Attached (NSW) $34,031
A Return to the Trees is a physical theatre piece using aerial dance, video projections, sound scapes and a transforming set of steel scaffolding to investigate a futuristic landscape.

Binh Duy Ta (NSW) $21,700
Yellow is not Yellow explores a Vietnamese Australian’s story of personal and cultural identity through a blend of music, physical performance, video and poetic text.

Anna Tregloan (Vic.) $11,194
Presented in the Gertrude Street Contemporary Arts Space, this new work will have a visual arts context and be made by theatre artists using the public as the theatre in both viewing and being viewed.

Jessica Wilson (Vic.) $20,000
Container is a new theatre work using 84 shipping containers and projected and object based imagery, physical performance, industrial machinery, music and song to explore the sociological relationship between fear and faith.

Zen Zen Zo Physical theatre Limited (Qld.) $15,000
In the Company of Shadows investigates the Jungian archetype of “the shadow” through cabaret, butoh and burlesque.

New Work Young Artists Initiative

Bareboards Productions (NSW) $15,000
This grant supports the premiere season of the Quebecois play Bliss. Translated by Caryl Churchill, Bliss is a wild and visceral fantasy about the cult of celebrity.  B Sharp is the presenting partner for the project.

The Duck House (WA) $14,993
This grant supports the development of I Don’t Know You, a new contemporary theatre piece based on the aftermath of trauma and what happens to people when they lose someone close to them.

Edward Sharp (Vic.) $15,000
Some Film Museums I Have Known is a new theatre installation that incorporates performance, found footage, live video, open source programming and scale models with an ever-expanding set. The Next Wave Festival is the presenting partner for this work.

Skills Development

Eden Falk (NSW) $7,000
The grant supports a professional development opportunity with emerging Belgian performance collective, Ontroerend Goed.

Spenser Inwood (Vic.) $6,450
This grant supports four months of private training in swinging trapeze with Anna Shelper, trapeze coach for Cirque du Soleil and teacher at the National Institute of Circus Arts.

Rosemary Johns (Vic.) $2,364
This grant supports a professional development opportunity by attendance at the 8th Women Playwrights Conference in Mumbai.

Julie Lynch (NSW) $7,000
This grant supports a professional development opportunity by participation in the 2010 Maiwa Textile and Artisan Symposium in Vancouver, BC Canada for theatrical application in costume design.

Melanie Wild (Qld) $7,000
This grant supports a professional development opportunity of a twelve month residency at Playlab with Saffron Benner as dramaturgy mentor.

Artform Development

Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association Inc. (Vic.) $20,000
This grant will support the development and implementation of ACAPTA’s 2010 national program of activities.

Magdalena Perth (WA) $15,000
This grant supports a five day women’s theatre workshop festival in contemporary theatre.

Presenter Program

Bathurst Regional Council (NSW) $150,000
This grant supports Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) as a regional cultural performing arts hub. Building on the Local Stages program and the Catapult Festival, BMEC will commission and develop a diversity of theatre work by locally based artists in collaboration with key performing arts organisations.

Maribyrnong Festival Ltd (Vic.) $150,000
This grant supports the Big West Festival, which is an artistically curated, community based contemporary arts festival, to commission and produce new works that engage the community as participants.

Next Wave Inc (Vic.) $150,000
This grant will support the Next Wave festival to commission and produce new theatre works by young emerging performance makers.

Salamanca Arts Centre Inc. (Tas.) $150,000
This grant supports the HyPe program which develops and produces new hybrid performance works in Tasmania.


Managing and Producing Services (MAPS) (NSW) $300,000
A partnership between Arts NSW and the Australia Council's Theatre and Dance Boards, this 2009 - 2012 grant supports Performing Lines to deliver subsidised production management, touring and marketing support to independent theatre and dance artists with in New South Wales.

2011 Theatre Forum scoping $10,000
Theatre Network Victoria will conduct scoping for the next Australian Theatre Forum (ATF), and will maintain the ATF website.

Performing Arts Centres (PACS) initiative $20,000
This is the first stage of a project designed to research and develop national guidelines for innovative theatre-making within the PACS network.

Cultural diversity research $5000
Theatre Board contribution to a partnership with Australia Council’s MPAB and Research and Strategic Analysis division, to investigate culturally diverse casting and theatre-making practice in theatre organisations

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