Major Performing Arts Overview

Australia’s MPA sector comprises 30 leading performing arts companies in the fields of dance, theatre, circus, opera, and orchestral and chamber music. The companies play a vital role in supporting the careers of Australian performing artists and creatives, bring works of scale to Australian and international audiences, and are critical to some of Australia’s most iconic venues, festivals and other arts infrastructures. 

Under the National Framework for Governments’ Support of the Major Performing Arts Sector (the MPA Framework), the Australia Council administers funding to the 30 MPA companies on behalf of the Australian Government and state governments, at levels they set and agree to. The MPA companies receive funding to develop and present excellent artistic works and foster a vibrant and sustainable performing arts sector.

The MPA Framework is Australian Government policy and the Australia Council has responsibility for supporting and managing the Framework on the Government’s behalf. The Australia Council’s appropriation includes the Australian Government’s directed funding through the MPA Framework.

The Australia Council plays an important leadership role in the management of the Framework, providing specialist services, strategic advice and support, and working closely with the state arts agencies. The Council closely monitors each MPA company against its agreed outcomes and performance indicators, which are reviewed annually with all government partners and input from the MPA Panel. The Board of the Australia Council established the MPA Panel to assist with overseeing the MPA framework and to provide advice on specific company and sector issues. The Australia Council considers the MPA results in a broader context of support to other areas of the arts sector nationally. This overview and strategic understanding is critical to the health of each area of arts practice in Australia.

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