The country wakes up this morning to the realisation that state funding has been removed from 20 music organisations and 40 more groups in other arts. Jonathan Holloway, artistic director of the Melbourne Festival, explains how deep this will cut into the national creativity.
Here’s his post:
All of us at Melbourne Festival are stunned and saddened by the funding announcements of the last week.
Many acclaimed and well-loved Melbourne Festival productions in recent years have been realised by organisations who lost their funding this week including Arena Theatre, Black Arm Band, KAGE Physical Theatre, Legs on the Wall, Phillip Adams BalletLab, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Force Majeure and Theatre Works.
The creative industry in Australia – which gives back so much more than it receives, which makes a $50bn economic impact annually against investment of $7bn, which attracts more people than sport and employs more people than mining – have lived with the unbearable expectation of this week’s announcements for months, but nothing could have prepared us for the unbelievable ferocity of the cuts.
The Andrews Government recently announced a significant increase in support for the creative industries, which gives some hope for this creative State, but even Minister Martin Foley acknowledged that the State level vision and resources cannot totally mitigate against the Federal Government decisions, which the Australia Council have had to enact.
The damage to some of our most brilliant artists and organisations is shocking, but the greatest damage will come when the shockwaves spread into the whole of Australian society and around the world.