7th Australian Performing Arts Market Media Conference speech by Jennifer Bott

Colleagues, delegates, members of the press, good morning and welcome to the 7th Australian Performing Arts Market.

And a specially warm welcome to the many international delegates here today. Whether it's your first time to APAM, or whether you've been many times before, it's great to have you here, and to see so many friends of Australian arts from all around the world.

We encourage you all to soak up the context of Australian art--the colours and textures, the people, food and wine.

It's not possible to have a market of this calibre, and attract more than 165 leading international presenters without the outstanding professionalism, talent and creativity of Australia's artists. We value these qualities at home and acknowledge them abroad.

Just last month, at New York's Arts Presenters Association conference--the world's largest performing arts market--Australian dance was the hottest act in town. 

  • Adelaide's Leigh Warren and Dancers secured its first-ever North American tour;
  • Melbourne's Balletlab performed sold-out shows on debut in New York and was commissioned to perform new work at the San Francisco Festival in 2008; and
  • Melbourne's Helen Herbertson won extensive critical acclaim.

The momentum is set to continue with Chunky Move and Sydney Dance Company touring the US in 2006-07 as part of a new deal between the Australia Council for the Arts and the New England Foundation for the Arts, under its 'National Dance Project'. This has meant funding for the production and touring of Australian work in the US for the next three years.

Reflecting this growing demand for Australian work in North America, we have some of the countries leading programmers at APAM this week, coming from a wide variety of venues and organisations, including New York's Joyce Theatre, the New Victory Theater, and Arizona State University, which is the largest arts and events presenter in the American Southwest.

We also have our largest-ever delegation from the United Kingdom. Stella Hall, who is with us today, is among 30 prominent arts professionals joining us this week.

It's important to note, that many of these highly respected presenters are making repeat visits to APAM, which says a lot about our artists' ability to them interest in new creative endeavours.

It also builds on the Australia Council's two-year promotion of Australian arts in the UK called Undergrowth--Australian Arts UK, which has seen companies such as The Australian Ballet, Australian Dance Theatre, Circus Oz and Lucy Guerin Inc tour with success across the UK.

Following their UK tour, The Australian Ballet recently received one of the UK's highest honours when it was awarded the 'Best Foreign Dance Company' prize at the UK Critics' Circle National Dance Awards.

During the week ahead, delegates will see 37 artists and companies from around Australia and New Zealand showcasing their latest work.

Many are presenting new work at the market.

For example, fresh from a sell-out season of HELD in Paris at Theater de la Ville, Australian Dance Theatre will present their new work Devolution, which is a highlight of the Adelaide Festival program, and is also a part of the market program (and funded through New Australian Stories and the Major Festivals Initiative).

In another Adelaide Festival production, The State Theatre Company of SA will present its latest work, Honk if You Are Jesus.

Lucy Guerin Inc, is presenting a new work called Aether, from which we are fortunate to see a small excerpt this morning.

For many artists and companies APAM 2006 will be their launch pad into the international marketplace.

For example, Victorian-based Chambermade's involvement in APAM 2004 was crucial in its efforts to re-enter the international touring market, after an absence of more than eight years.

As a result of APAM they locked in tours nationally and across Europe in 2005, with more to come in 2006. The company also secured US agent, Itzik Becher, head of Aviv Productions.

APAM is a crucial platform to promote Australian performing arts in the highly competitive international market.

It's about providing the most cost-effective way for international presenters to shop for export-ready Australian work. It would take many artistic companies years to procure the contacts and international touring they can negotiate in one week at the market. Not to mention the chance to perform in front of the quality and quantity of presenters attending the market.

APAM is also about ensuring the long-term artistic engagement for Australian artists and companies overseas. And most importantly, it stimulates and continues to build strong, enduring relationships with arts professionals from around the world.

In closing, I'd like to acknowledge the important role played by a number of people who are integral to making APAM happen.

Firstly, we greatly value the support and partnership of Arts SA. We warmly thank you Greg, and your team at Arts SA for your dedication to the market and its success.

We also thank the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their support.

We also value the strong relationship that exists with the state and territory arts agencies, the Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts and Adelaide Fringe.

We are once again delighted to include performing arts companies from New Zealand in the market, and we thank Creative NZ for their continued support of APAM.

Finally, APAM simply could not happen without the outstanding and committed team of people from Arts Projects Australia, led by Ian Scobie. Thank you all for your tireless efforts--mostly behind the scenes--to make it run so smoothly.

It's going to a fantastic week of performance and business, discussion and consideration. Enjoy!

This speech was delivered on Monday 27 February 2006 at the Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre.

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