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Australia Council withdraws support from youth theatre

Arts Hub, Richard Watts
14 Dec 2015

Arts Hub reports on the Australia Council’s recent cuts to youth theatre companies.

“Ten of 13 youth performing arts companies have lost their Australia Council funding, sending shockwaves through the sector.

Outback Theatre for Young People, Cirkidz and Riverland Youth Theatre are among many youth arts companies facing an uncertain future beyond 2016, as the realities of the Australia Council’s reduced budget begin to hit home.

Of the 13 youth performing arts organisations that applied for 2016 project funding in the September grant round, only three – Corrugated Iron Youth Arts Projects (NT), St Martins Youth Arts Centre (VIC) and Powerhouse Youth Theatre (NSW) – were successful.

Given the cancellation of funding rounds earlier in the year, due to the chaos caused by the now-cancelled National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA), the September round was highly competitive: of almost 1700 applications submitted, only 290 were successful.

Consequently, ten youth theatre/circus companies now have no Australia Council funding in 2016:  Backbone Youth Arts (QLD), Canberra Youth Theatre (ACT), Cirkidz (SA), Courthouse Youth Arts (Geelong), Outback Theatre for Young People (NSW), Platform Youth Theatre (VIC), Riverland Youth Theatre (SA), Shopfront (NSW), Southern Edge Arts (WA) and Western Edge Arts (VIC).

These companies were previously supported through the Australia Council Theatre Board’s Youth Program Fund., but following the Australia Council’s 2015 restructure, the Youth Program Fund was merged with the wider pool of theatre funding, requiring youth arts companies to compete with the entire theatre sector for funding.

The loss of more than $70 million of Australia Council funding to support the Ministry for the Arts’ new Catalyst fund has reduced the overall amount of funding available, further exacerbating the plight of the youth theatre sector.”

Click here to read the full article.

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