Australia Council's triple bill of results: developing market demand for our Indigenous arts
The Australia Council for the Arts is pleased to announce the delivery of three exciting new projects in the Indigenous performing arts sector: the National Indigenous Touring Consortium (NITC), the Emerging Indigenous Producer Mentorships (EIPM), and a National Indigenous Playwrights’ Conference.
The NITC and EIPM are key outcomes of the Australia Council’s Indigenous Market Development Strategy, designed to strengthen the Indigenous arts sector.
Work on the NITC will kick start during the National Indigenous Theatre Forum (20 – 21 August), to be held during the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) (19-21 September). Leading touring organisation Performing Lines has been selected to establish and manage the three- year NITC project as well as mentor a full time Indigenous Producer during this period. The NITC project will incorporate a yearly national tour of Indigenous theatre and dance productions for the next three years.
“The NITC was a key recommendation from the 2010 National Indigenous Theatre Forum,” said Merindah Donnelly, Indigenous Program Officer for the Australia Council. “Seeing this initiative transform into a reality is a moment of deep fulfillment. For more than 50 years the sector has been aiming to develop a national Indigenous touring consortium and finally, in 2011, this dream has been realised.”
Developing the skills of Indigenous performing arts producers is also the focus for the EIPM, which will see four emerging Indigenous producers teamed with leading arts organisations, for an 18-month period of full-time employment and mentoring.
Joshua Bond, a National Institute Circus Arts (NICA) graduate with extensive experience as a director and producer for The Chooky Dancers, will work with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Lara Croydon, a director and stage manager, will work with the Queensland Theatre Company. Rosealee Pearson, a trained dancer who was the recipient of the Arts NSW 2011 Indigenous Technical Theatre Production Initiative, will work with Belvoir in partnership with Urban Theatre Projects. Alison Murphy-Oates, a production assistant who has worked on Message Sticks and as the Project Manager of Indigelab 2009, will work with Performance Space, in conjunction with Producer Marguerite Pepper.
As a precursor to the 2011 National Indigenous Theatre Forum, the four producers, along with representatives from the host organisations, will attend the EIPM Induction in Cairns, 17-18 August. The Induction, supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and the Queensland Government, through the Backing Indigenous Arts (BIA) Program and Arts Queensland, will feature speakers such as Rhoda Roberts (Producer and Festival Director) and Rachael Mazza-Long (Artistic Director, Ilbijerri Theatre Company).
“In developing the Indigenous Marketing Development Strategy, I felt a huge weight of responsibility for my Indigenous brothers and sisters – and fellow Australians – to get this right,” said Donnelly. “The challenge now is the delivery of the action. This strategy will change the cultural landscape for Indigenous artists, and ultimately Australia. As an Indigenous person, I am humbled to be given the opportunity to be a part of such incredible change.”
The Australia Council is also delivering on another key recommendation from the 2010 National Indigenous Theatre Forum – an Indigenous Playwrights’ Conference. The Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts (ATSIA) Board has committed approximately $50,000 for a National Indigenous Playwrights’ Conference in 2012, and a scoping proposal is currently being developed in partnership with the Indigenous theatre sector.
Visit http://www.arts.qld.gov.au/projects/indigenous-theatre.html for information on the 2011 National Indigenous Theatre Forum. Visit http://www.ciaf.com.au for information on the 2011 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF).