Theatre Network Australia

 

I am a life member, and one of the founders of Theatre Network Australia (previously Theatre Network Victoria), the national service organisation working to lead, strengthen and support the professional, non-profit theatre industry. Its work focuses on building capacity in the independent and small to medium sectors, and increasing connection between all parts of the theatre industry. One of its major projects is the biannial Australian Theatre Forum. I was the Chair of TNV/TNA from 2010-2017. For information about their current work, led by their brilliant Executive Director Nicole Beyer, visit www.tna.net.au.

 

One of the first things we did when creating this organisation was to define a set of principles to guide our work. We still stand by them:

 

Principles

  1. We believe a society that embraces and supports creativity is more robust, more egalitarian, more respectful of the past, and more prepared for the future.

  2. We believe the arts are essential to our collective civic identity, and can simultaneously impact in social, economic and environmental arenas.

  3. We believe artists – including writers, devisors, composers, designers, performers, dramaturges – play a pivotal role in the theatre industry.

  4. We believe small to medium theatre companies are a career destination (not simply pathways to commercial or major sectors) and are integral to invention and innovation in theatre in Australia.

  5. We believe life-long learning is essential and exists both inside and outside educational institutions. We believe that participation in the arts is a dynamic form of learning.

  6. We believe a diverse theatre sector provides a richness of skills, perspectives and identities that is vital. We believe theatre will benefit from increased participation at all levels by women, people with disabilities, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, indigenous Australians, children and young people, and older people.

  7. We believe there are multiple ways for a society to support a thriving arts sector. We believe different artistic, business, funding, financial, and governance models can be effective, and that flexibility and exploration are paramount.

  8. We believe theatre professionals have a right to fair pay, and conditions in line with other sectors, including annual and sick leave, superannuation,family and maternity leave,long service leave, and paid professional development.

  9. We believe that theatre, like any creative enterprise, needs to be supported to take risks, and needs to be allowed to fail. Research and development are essential.

  10. We believe in ongoing conversations and dialogue: open to all, overlapping, critical, challenging, morphing over time, iterative, exploratory, and always respectful.

 

 

Read my statement at the senate enquiry into funding of the arts, 2015.