TNA is the leading industry development and advocacy organisation for small to medium and independent performing arts, working nationally, with a dedicated Victorian program. TNA services a wide range of performing arts including dance, circus and live art.

TNA strengthens artists and arts organisations, influences cultural policy at three levels of government, facilitates critical debate, and advocates for a more robust, interconnected, and innovative sector.

Summary of TNA Goals

TNA is committed to strengthening, supporting and connecting independent performing artists and producers, small to medium organisations and larger performing arts organisations.

TNA is guided by the following key objectives:

  • First Nations First
  • Justice and Diversity
  • Safe Theatres/Workplaces
  • Access and Inclusion
  • Gender Equity
  • Growing Arts Funding
  • Strong Ecology
  • Artists Central
  • Effective Networks

A Safe, Healthy and Relevant Performing Arts Sector

Theatre Network Australia believes in the central role that creativity plays in a society. We want a more diverse and fair performing arts sector, which puts First Nations people first. We value independent artists, small to medium companies and large organisations and we want greater interconnections between them. We believe in life-long learning. We support different models of working, and we value flexibility. We want fair pay and conditions for our sector. We know that risk and experimentation are important. And we want ongoing, respectful but challenging conversations that connect us, open new ideas, and lead to a stronger sector.

Our Story

Theatre Network Australia (TNA) is based in Melbourne and was founded as Theatre Network Victoria (TNV) in 2009 by nine Victorian companies, led by Nicole Beyer as Executive Director. Nicole began with an Advisory Committee, a laptop, a notebook and a pen. In 2016, we started trading as Theatre Network Australia (TNA), in recognition of the national scope of our work.

The organisation was established in response to an urgent need for sector development, as evidenced by a 2007 Deloitte report showing the fragile nature of the small to medium sector. The success of this 18-month project resulted in annual funding from (then) Arts Victoria.

Early on, we recognised that the theatre sector across Australia was also in need of an organisation to represent them and support their work. After the 2009 Australian Theatre Forum (ATF), we successfully proposed to the Australia Council to take stewardship of the ATF, producing the subsequent biennial forums.

We have since increased our representation of the performing arts sector nationally to include hybrid and interdisciplinary work, dance, physical theatre and circus, as well as presenters and festivals.

In 2016 when TNA became a national organisation, we also took on the representation of Young People and the Arts Australia’s (YPAA) constituency, which is now supported with TNA as the ASSITEJ Australia ‘office’.

In 2017, following two Sector Reviews commissioned by Creative Victoria and undertaken by Andrew Bleby and Associates, TNA took on some of the services that ACAPTA used to provide to the Circus and Physical Theatre sector.

TNA now operates with a ‘T’ model which is reflected in our tiered membership prices, delivering an overarching high level Federal strategy of advocacy, research, communications and gatherings, and a deep program of activity in our home state.

The Arts' Value To Society

  • A society that embraces and supports creativity is more robust, more egalitarian, more respectful of the past, and more prepared for the future.
  • The arts are essential to our collective civic identity, and can simultaneously impact social, economic and environmental arenas.

Sector Diversity

  • A diverse performing arts sector provides a richness of skills, perspectives and identities that are vital if we are to be relevant.
  • The performing arts will benefit from increased participation by First Nations people, women, people with disabilities, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, children and young people, and older people.


  • Lifelong learning is essential and exists both inside and outside educational institutions.
  • Participation in the arts is a dynamic form of learning.
  • Performance, like any creative enterprise, needs to be supported to take risks, and needs to be allowed to fail.
  • Research and development are essential.

Sector Ecology

  • There are multiple ways for a society to support a thriving arts sector.
  • Different artistic, business, funding, financial, and governance models can be effective, and flexibility is paramount.
  • Small to medium performing arts companies and independent practices are career destinations (not simply pathways) and are integral to invention and innovation in contemporary performance in Australia.


  • Performing arts professionals have a right to fair pay and conditions, including annual and sick leave, superannuation, family and maternity leave, long service leave, and paid professional development.
  • Conversations and dialogue: that are open to all, overlapping, ongoing, critical, challenging, morphing over time, iterative, exploratory, and always respectful.