Australian arts board starts 3-year funding

The Sydney Theater Company, Melbourne Theater Company and the Australian Ballet are just some of the names in line to receive triennial grants from the Australia Council for the Arts, which has created a new board to fund large-scale drama, dance and music bodies.

Although the list of organizations eligible for grants from the Major Organizations Board will be released in June, some bodies are already receiving annual coin from the council’s Performing Arts Board.

Triennial twist

But the new board will review funding every three years only, allowing for better forward planning by the companies and for the Performing Arts Board to concentrate on smaller companies and individual artists.

The restructuring emanates from federal communications and arts minister Michael Lee’s “Creative Nation” cultural statement late last year, which moved the Australia Council to triennial funding. Council funding was A$64.3 million ($47.6 million) for the 1994-95 financial year.

The council, which provided seed coin for dance scenes in hit movie “Strictly Ballroom,” has five other funding boards: Performing Arts; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts; Community and Cultural Development; Visual Arts; and Literature.

Orchestral addition

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra will also be funded by MOB after it severs links with pubcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corp. later this year.

The new board includes publishing personality and council chair Hilary McPhee, former Film Finance Corp. director and ex-Australian Film Commission chair Bill Gurry, and former AFC deputy chair and ex-Sydney Dance Company director Joseph Skrzynski.

Meanwhile, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, which recently named Lydia Miller as its executive officer, has approved 38 Indigenous drama and dance projects with grants totaling $268,193, including HIV awareness piece “No Prejudice.”

30 grants approved

The Performing Arts Board approved grants for 30 bodies totaling $600,545 for hybrid arts – using new technologies such as multimedia – in drama, music and dance, including a dance project with pubcaster the Special Broadcasting Service.

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