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Affordable theatre

Page history last edited by Alison Croggon 13 years, 3 months ago

Dear Friends,

 

the following is a submission to the 2020 Summit the Government has called to look at Australia's future direction. The 'Arts and culture' are included as

topics for discussion. I would love to get your support for this submission and ask that you read it, and if you support it please, send an email to me at billyzap2@yahoo.com.au Just write   2020   in the subject line of the email and in the body of the email simply write "I support the 'Make Theatre Affordable Submission'" and your name and email address. I will then cut and paste these into the online submission form at the 2020 website.

 

The CLOSING date for this to be handed in is APRIL 9th. So please don't delay. And finally, send this to as many people as you can.

 

Thanks for your support again.

William (Zappa)

 

Make Theatre Affordable: A submission to the Australia 2020 Summit

 

Of great concern to many in the performing arts is the

high cost of going to the theatre, specifically,

subsidized and independent theatre.  Theatre has often

been labeled ‘elitist’ and will continue to be so

until we have a system of funding that makes it more

accessible through affordability. It is not unusual

now for a ticket to the major state companies to cost

in excess of $70. It is also quite normal to pay in

excess of $30 in most of our smaller independent

venues.

 

High ticket prices make theatre going simply

unaffordable for far too many people. The development

of new audiences especially that can be assisted by

making theatre more accessible through affordability.

The figures for the level of government funding to

theatre over the last 30 years show a continual

downward direction. The Melbourne Theatre Company for

example, has seen funding plummet from a reasonable

40+% in 1978 to aprox. 15% now.

 

In order to fill the gap between government funding

and the cost of putting on plays/performances, the

major companies have had to increase income through

private and corporate sponsorship. However, the gap

remains. One result has been to reduce costs by

increasing the number of small cast plays. Between

1992 and 2007 the Melbourne Theatre Company, went from

employing 117 actors to 86, falling below 100 in 1998

and not recovering. The figures are even worse for the

QTC and STCSA. In the last 17 years the Sydney Theatre

Company employed a hundred or more actors in only 6 of

those years.

 

In addition to lower employment numbers, our

playwrights are forced to 'think small' if they are to

have any chance of being produced, and young actors

have fewer opportunities to develop their craft: the

chances of regular employment, working beside more

experienced actors and 'learning through doing and

watching' has diminished considerably.

 

For many young actors the only option is to create

their own work. This has resulted in some very

adventurous and imaginative companies being formed.

While some 'go to the wall', others have survived and

done so against the odds. But these companies too,

suffer through the current state of funding. Any money

made at the box office, must first and foremost pay

for the venue and the 'rights'. The actors and

creative team get a share of what's left over, often

no more than a few hundred dollars. Some way of giving

more financial support to the venues or the companies,

would be most welcome.

 

It is to be hoped that we have moved beyond the need

to explain why the arts are important in our society.

Any society. The recently released 'Securing the

Future' report shows that the arts are generally doing

well in generating income, but as this submission

suggests, the increased cost of tickets and the

reduction in funding has come at a cost. Generated

income is only about keeping heads above water.

We ask that the real effects of reduced funding be

taken into consideration and urge that the government

does what ever it can to redress the decline in 'real

terms' of the funding base. 

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