Theatre Assessment Meeting Report - February 2011

New Work, Cultural Leadership Skills and Program, Fellowships - closing date 10 Nov 2010


This report provides context for the assessment of applications submitted to the Theatre Board on 10 November 2010.  It gives some statistical analysis of grant round results.

The assessment meeting was held on 7-10 Feb 2011, and applications were assessed in the new work, cultural leadership skills and program, and fellowship categories.

Chair’s Report

The Theatre Board welcomed Melissa Cantwell and Jo Duffy to our February 2011 Assessment meeting as peer assessors from WA and NT respectively. We are so grateful for the input of our peer assessors to the assessment process, through pre- meeting preparation, and their considered and generous contributions when we finally come together.  Needless to say, this grant round was one of our most competitive, with 97 applications alone in the New Work - Creative Development category.

At this meeting we assessed the very first round of the Theatre Board’s new Cultural Leadership Skills and Program categories. The standard of applications was incredibly high, and we thank all our applicants and congratulate the talented recipients. We look forward to resourcing a growing diversity of cultural leaders in theatre through these new categories. The sector itself recognises the need to strengthen its leadership capacity to ensure, amongst other things, a sustainable future. The Theatre Board, Director and staff are committed to strengthening this critical area.

Other cultural leadership activities include initiatives engaging with cultural diversity and women in creative leadership. These activities encourage greater connectivity between all parts of the sector, and a deepening dialogue and partnership between the Theatre and MPA Boards within Council.  The Theatre Board has also recently funded a networking mechanism for the small-to medium theatre sector – the Australian Theatre Network (ATN). The ATN aims to strengthen leadership within the sector by increasing the connections between state-based advocacy groups.

Artistic innovation is one of Council’s five strategic priorities. I think it is true to say that the small-to-medium theatre sector often leads innovation in national theatre practice. We are committed to supporting artists that stretch the boundaries of practice, and we endeavour to support the growth of innovation in our sector.

Our continuing partnership with the Music Board is helping develop new works and promote innovation in music theatre.  In 2010 we offered three fellowships to experienced circus and physical theatre directors, enabling them to engage with a broader range of dramaturgical approaches to creating new work. This work will be extended in 2011 with the development of a laboratory focussed on the same concerns.  

Theatre Board funded initiatives such as Mobile States, Managing and Producing Services (MAPS), WA Theatre Development Initiatives, Qld Indigenous Theatre Initiative, Critical Stages, Roadwork and the Australian Theatre Forum are all contributing to the richness of our sector. Some of our initiatives are very new and just beginning to sow seeds for the future. Some have moved beyond solid growth to exceeding expectations. Some are quietly serving a need. Others will re -invent themselves, or complete their cycles as sector needs and funding cycles demand. I suppose this in some way reflects the life of an artist. For me the most important thing is to keep creating, participating and serving what I believe in.  When one truly believes in something, one always seeks to help it grow.  

Rosalba Clemente

Successful applicants


Paschal Daantos Berry NSW $43,525
Production of ‘Within and Without’presented by Blacktown Arts Centre and
Performance Space

Gregory Pritchard VIC $6000
Production of ‘Oliver's Tale’ presented by Wesley Performing Arts and Cultural

Gabrielle Griffin SA $45,000
Production of ‘Pie’ presented by Vitalstatistix

Mudlark Theatre Inc. TAS $15,565
Production of ‘Beautiful’ presented by Theatre North

My Darling Patricia NSW $47,644
Production of ‘Posts in the Paddock’ presented by Performance Space

Strings Attached NSW $55,699
Production of ‘A Return to the Trees’ presented by Carriageworks

Theatre Kantanka Inc. NSW $48,500
Production of ‘Bargain Garden’ presented by Performance Space

Tin Shed NSW $25,294

Production of ‘Boxing Day’ presented by Tamarama Rock Surfers


Clare Bartholomew VIC $15,000
Development of 'The Secret Business', a new physical comedy work

Mark Bromilow QLD $23,920
Development of 'The Sushi Train', a new theatre music work with live audio/video

Rinske Ginsberg VIC $12,000
Development of 'Article of Faith', a new theatre work based on suburban domestic crimes

Holding Zone VIC $18,200

Development of a collaborative site-specific work by three writers and three directors

Men of Steel VIC $22,488
Development of 'The Furniture', a new object puppetry work

NORPA NSW $41,322
Development of ‘Railway Wonderland’, an immersive work set on a disused railway station

Not My Cup of Tea VIC $18,500
Development of '...wrestling ladies is tiring', an all female post circus work

Sue Rider QLD $31,724
Development of ' Learning How To Breathe’, a new music theatre work based on the book by Linda Neil

Stephen Sheehan SA $11,795
Development of 'Here Horsey!', a new comedy work incorporating clowning and music

Fiona Stewart TAS $8,281
Development of 'Legacy', a new work exploring migration told by three generations of women

Chi Vu VIC $24,300
Development of ‘Banh Chung’, a new durational installation performance work

Well Productions Inc.VIC $50,000
Development of a new visual spectacle performance work for the Great Wall of Books

William Yang NSW $28,836
Development of 'I am a Camera', a new work exploring the photographic blog


Claudia O'Doherty NSW $15,000
Development of a solo show 'Claudia O'Doherty's The Ultimate Theatre Experience'

Team MESS NSW $15,000
Production of a performed press conference 'This Is It', presented by PICA

Ahilan Ratnamohan NSW $13,839
Development of 'Browner than Black', a site-specific work exploring post-colonisalism


John Bolton VIC $90,000
Professional development program that includes: writing, researching, and developing new work.

Brian Lipson VIC $90,000
Professional development program that includes: research and creating new works.  


John Harvey VIC $20,000
Development of cultural leadership skills through the development of Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocols and by creating new Torres Strait Islander theatre.

Rand Hazou VIC $19,976
Development of cultural leadership skills by creating a series of theatre initiatives between Palestine and Australia.

Karen Therese Smith NSW $20,000

Development of cultural leadership skills by working with artists in Western Sydney and undertaking professional development at PS 122 in New York.

Leisa Shelton VIC $19,800
Development of cultural leadership skills by working as a cultural producer of new works for emergent art.

Deborah Leiser-Moore VIC $20,000
Development of cultural leadership skills through a diverse international and national program of residencies and exchange.

Rachael Swain NSW $19,860
Development of cultural leadership skills through research into intercultural arts practice and dramaturgy in a situation of global change.


ACAPTA VIC $40,000
Program in partnership with Indigenous organisations Moogahlin Performing Arts and Redfern Community Centre to develop cultural leadership skills for 5 young women.

JUTE QLD $40,000
Program in partnership with Mudlark Theatre, Street Theatre, Crossroad Arts, Creative Regions, Full Throttle Theatre, and Darwin Theatre Company to develop a regional network of 14 to 18 dramaturgically rigorous cultural leaders to drive the development of new work in regional areas.

Performance Space NSW $39,954
Program that develops cultural leadership skills and enables the artists of Field Theory to extend their capacity as Live Art strategic leaders.

St Martins Youth Arts Centre VIC $40,000
Program called CATAPULT, which over 30 weeks will develop 8 to 10 emerging artists into cultural leaders.

Funding statistics

New Work Creative Development

Applications received: 97
Applications funded:13
13.4% success rate
Amount approved: $306,366

New Work Production

Applications received: 48
Applications funded: 8
16.7% success rate
Amount approved: $287,227

New Work Young Artist Initiative

Applications received: 17
Applications funded: 3
17.6% success rate
Amount approved:  $43,839


Applications received: 12
Applications funded: 3
16.7% success rate
Amount approved:  $180,000 (2 year amounts)

Cultural Leadership Skills

Applications received: 20
Applications funded: 6
30% success rate
Amount approved:  $119,636

Cultural Leadership Program

Applications received: 5
Applications funded:  4
80% success rate
Amount approved:  $159,954

Total for 10 Nov 2010 closing date

Applications received: 199
Applications funded:  36
18.1% success rate
Amount approved:  $1,007,022

Panel members

Board members

Rosalba Clemente Chair (SA), freelance theatre director, writer and performer, and lecturer at Flinders University Drama Centre and at Adelaide Institute of TAFE Arts
Sue Broadway (Vic), freelance director
Fraser Corfield (NSW) artistic director of ATYP.
Fiona Winning (NSW) Independent producer/ facilitator.
Suellen Maunder (QLD) artistic director of Just Us Theatre Ensemble in Cairns

Participating advisors

Melissa Cantwell (WA) artistic director Perth Theatre Company
Jo Duffy (NT) artistic director Darwin Festival.
Matt Lutton (WA) freelance theatre director and artistic director of Thin Ice

Australia Council staff

Lyn Wallis, director theatre
Atul Joshi, director arts organisations
Rose Hiscock, executive director market development
Fenn Gorden, director market development
Antonietta Morgillo, program manager theatre
Michelle Hall, client manager key organisations
Bel Evans, program officer theatre
Tija Lodins, program officer theatre
Katie L’Estrange, section coordinator theatre
Lucy Shepherd, administration officer theatre
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